Which Country Has the Highest Rate of Gambling?

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Gambling has long been a game enjoyed by people ever since the founding of early civilizations. We have the natural tendency to be fascinated and enthralled by the prospect of gaining hefty rewards by trying out our luck and betting on a remote chance of winning. Fast forward to centuries later, and we see the gambling industry flourishing and rising to become a multi-billion dollar industry. While different countries have varying regulations regarding gambling, the popularity of gambling is still prevalent and growing rapidly. Countries with an open policy and a clear set of regulations regarding gambling are also the ones with thriving gambling industries and rates of gambling. 

Here, we’ll explore which country has the highest rate of gambling and which countries are promising contenders of such a title.

The United Kingdom

Yes, the UK steals the spotlight as the country with the highest rate of gambling. For those who are well-acquainted with the world of gambling, this comes as no surprise. When it comes to the age restriction policy in gambling, the UK has one of the most lenient restrictions – the legal age for gambling is set at 18. While most countries set theirs at the age of 21, the lower age limit has contributed to the UK’s phenomenal gambling statistics. In 2018 alone, gamblers under the age of 21 accounted for 65% of the country’s gambling population and generated more than £14 billion in revenue for that year.

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Another contributory factor to the UK’s high gambling rate is the prevalence of online casino sites. Many of the popular betting apps that are available in different countries in Europe and other parts of the world originate from UK sites and companies. Internationally-known betting apps like Bet365, Quinnbet, and Betfair, among others, are not only based in the UK, but they are also popular betting apps in the country too. With more young gamblers preferring online casino and betting apps, this contributed to the high gambling rate in the country.

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Australia has one of the most active and enthusiastic gambling scenes in the world. A considerable portion of the country’s population is made up of avid gamblers. If the category were changed into the country with the biggest spending and revenue for gambling, Australia would definitely grab the top spot. Its 2017 revenue figure of $24 billion translates into each gambling adult in the country spend at least $990. This doesn’t happen in one sitting though, but over the course of a year, which is still a significant figure. 

The Netherlands

If the rate of gambling were examined from a population percentage perspective, it is the UK’s European neighbor, The Netherlands, that holds the distinction. A recent report from Nottingham Trent University indicates that the Netherlands has a population of 15 million who are gamblers, which roughly translates to 87% of its 17.28 million population. Although the study conducted is not without flaws, it gives a rough idea of the popularity and love of gambling in the country. With technology getting more advanced and with innovations in online and mobile gambling, the numbers can get higher, and there is also the possibility of contenders emerging in this category. 


India is a sleeping giant when it comes to its potential in generating gambling revenues. The country’s phenomenal progress in digital technologies has made it a perfect environment for online gambling proliferation. With internet access and online technologies being more accessible throughout the country, there is a steady rise in online gamblers and bettors over the years. Sports betting, online poker, and other online casino games are popular games played in India. It will be a matter of time before India awakens its great potential as a revenue-generating giant when it comes to gambling.

There are various lenses through which we can look at the status of gambling around the world. To keep the discussion lively, we considered other factors that can be considered when looking at the rate of gambling. From an active gambling rate perspective, it is the UK that tops the category. If the rate of gambling were to include money spent per person in a country, it is Australia that holds such distinction. When it comes to population percentage and revenue potential, we can’t disregard The Netherlands and India, respectively, for that matter. The world of gambling sure does bring interesting statistics, and it is exciting to see how they change in the future.

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