Director, Commonwealth Policy Center

In early September of 2015 The Economist published one of their “Graphic Detail” series.  It was a national comparison of several facts about gambling.  The article was entitled “Betting the House.”  There are four main graphics or lists in this compact report.

The top fifteen countries by total amount lost is led by the United States with $142,8 billion.   China is second with an estimated $95 billion, mostly spent in Macau and Hong Kong.  Asian nations of Japan, South Korea , Singapore, and Australia are included in the top fifteen. Canada and Brazil are included, and the rest are various European nations.  Following the US and China the other nations range from Japan at $29.8 billion to to Sweden at 2.9 billion.

Per capita spending is led by Australia where an average  of $1140 per adult is spent.  Of course, with a smaller population, Australis ranks only 6th in total expenditures at $20.3 billion.  Singapore is second with an average of $1040 per adult, although that is inflated by the large tourist spending.  Singapore ranks 11th with $8.9 billion lost.  The US is third with about $590   lost per Adult but the large population causes US citizens to suffer the greatest losses in total,

Australians lose the most dollars per capita on gambling machines (mostly video poker machines).  Singapore loses the most per capita in casinos, followed by the US.  Again, Singapore is inflated by tourists.  In a category called “Betting” Australia is first followed closely by Ireland.  What is included in “Betting” is not indicated, but probably includes horses.  Singapore leads the way by a substantial margin in losses to lotteries.  Finland, Ireland and Norway are all very close in the amount lost vis computer, mobile phones and interactive TV.

Overall the largest losses take place with casinos and lotteries, over half of all losses.  The amount lost gambling has been steadily increasing from $290 billion in 2004 to $495 billion in 2014.  2015 is expected to see about a 2.6% decrease, the first in eleven years.  The decline is due to China’s limitations placed on Macau.  The shutting down of gambling would be a tremendous boon to the world’s economy, especially that of the US and China.

“Betting the House,”  The Economist, September 2, 2015