Online gambling is experiencing a boom like never before. Since the birth of truly fast global internet and smartphone technology a decade ago, the online sports betting and casino industry has been transformed into one of the biggest on the planet.
These days you can bet on sporting events in America, spin on online slot machines developed in China and face off in poker tournaments against the best players from South Africa.
Experts predict the expansion of online gambling across the globe will see the industry’s market value skyrocket to $93bn by 2023. That’s a 40% increase on the size of the market back in 2019 ($67bn) before the coronavirus pandemic fueled a surge in online betting popularity.
Whether it’s in America, the Far East or central Europe, remote gambling and online sports betting is becoming a much more recognizable activity amongst adults. And some countries are truly leading the way with their technological and social innovations that have created some world-class gambling sectors.
Here, we look at the five biggest online betting jurisdictions in the world.
With a population of 1.4bn people and a huge wealth gap, it’s no surprise China boasts the biggest betting takings in the world. Yet what might surprise you is that online gambling is illegal in mainland China.
So how do the Chinese spend so much money on remote gambling? Through VPNs that connect to illegal betting sites elsewhere in Asia.
The issue is a big one for the Chinese government as they are losing out on potential taxes that a national online gambling industry wonted generate.
What’s more, spotting and addressing harmful gambling practices is much harder when the market is illegal.
It is perhaps unsurprising that the mecca for online gambling remains the European Union. Since the mid-1990s it has been countries in the EU such as Sweden, Italy and Malta that have driven online betting technology.
Relaxed national regulations regarding online betting has meant these countries have developed strong industries over the past three decades – and it’s no wonder that is now reflected in the record-breaking revenues generated across the bloc.
If there was one country that has enjoyed a boost in online gambling revenues over the past decade it is certainly the United Kingdom. The UK is one of the homes of the sports betting industry, while online casinos have continued to grow in popularity.
This is largely down to relatively relaxed gambling advertising laws that mean more than 95% of televised football games and the majority of daytime TV advert breaks feature online gambling products and sign up betting offers.
Narrowly ahead of India in terms of its online gambling industry size, the United States is expected to eventually rival China and the EU in this sector. It has only really been since 2020 that US states have begun to open up their online gambling sectors – and the big brands from Las Vegas have coupled up with established European giants to flood the market.
America’s remote gambling industry may be worth £1.5bn now but in 2025 that is expected to balloon to £10.3bn – a seven-fold increase in four years. To put this into perspective, India’s industry is predicted to go from £1.3bn now to £2.8bn in 2025 – a steady growth rate nonetheless dwarfed by the US.
Like China, there is a large wealth gap in India. But unlike China, where billions of pounds are pumped out of the country each year via illegal betting sites, India has a fully legalised remote gambling sector for offshore firms.
Only in the states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh is gambling totally banned. The statistics show that on average each Indian bets £1 on Indian betting sites online every year. Of course, the vast majority of India’s 1.38bn population won’t bet at all. But those who do make up for the non-players.
India could soon be overtaken by Canada (£1.2bn annual revenues) when it comes to the size of their Canadian online betting industry. The Canadians are following the same trend as America in legalizing mobile sports and casino play – and that means plenty of investment is being pumped into these products.
Likewise, both Japan and Korea could soon alter their legislation to grant greater access for online gambling companies. Both countries have big gambling industries but not in the remote space.
The likes of Netherlands, Italy, Germany and Ireland make up a large chunk of the EU’s gambling revenues, yet many of these maturing gambling jurisdictions and introducing stricter regulations to help prevent issues of problem gambling.
It will therefore be interesting to see how the industry develops in the years to come, especially now the UK has left the trading bloc.