Gambling is common in all countries across the world, as each culture includes some form of gambling activity that people traditionally enjoy during gatherings. Yet in later years gambling activities began to take place in more sophisticated venues known as private rooms, salons and later in plush casinos. Although the State of Nevada was the first to establish a legal gambling industry, the U.S. does not have the largest number of gamblers nor the most steadfast gambling businesses. The countries that boast of the largest gambling markets are the United Kingdom, Australia and Canada, in that particular order.
Gambling in the United Kingdom
The UK tops the list for having the highest number of active gamblers, estimated to total 24 million adults that represent 44% of the country’s entire population. Actually, the UK gambling industry is the largest and strongest as its Gambling Act of 2005 permits gambling in any form, including online gambling and offshore betting.
In terms of economic value, the gambling industry has been good for the country as all casinos, whether land or Internet-based, pay licensing fees and taxes on gross gaming revenues. Although there is gambling addiction, it is not prevalent as only 3.1% of the country’s gamblers had experienced gambling addiction.
While there are numerous non-profit organisations that help problem gamblers overcome their addiction, the UK Gaming Commision has made it mandatory for online casinos to integrate the GamStop self-exclusion program.
Reports have it that the GamStop feature didn’t make much difference to regular casual gamblers. Yet it discouraged former, pre-pandemic land-based casino gamblers from playing at UK licensed online casinos. Many had to reference websites to look for casinos that will not consider their gambling behavior as a potential candidate for a self-exclusion program.
Gambling in Australia
Australia has the second highest number of casino gamblers, as more than 6.8 million Australians, representing 39% of the country’s population, gamble on a daily basis. Unlike in other countries, Australian gamblers do not have to pay taxes on their winnings. Moreover, although online gambling is not legal in the country, Australians can still access offshore-based online gambling sites as they are avid slot machine (pokie) abd card game players.
According to the country’s industry reports. gambling addiction is not a serious problem as only between 0.5% and 1% have experienced gambling addiction. Today, as many as 900 Australian punters have been permanently banned from entering any casino in Australia.
Gambling in Canada
Canada is another nation that is big in gambling but whose gambling industry is not federally regulated. Every Canadian province oversees the vetting, licensing and operations of offline and online casinos in their jurisdiction through their respective gambling authority.
Gamblers showing signs of addiction in every province are closely monitored, and entered into exclusion programs when deemed necessay. As a matter of fact, the overall number of gambling addicts in all provinces is said to total only 250,000, representing only 0.6% of the country’s gambling population.
It can be concluded therefore that a strong and robust gambling industry does not necessarily lead to moral turpitude in a society, As long as the gambling authorities are vigilant in protecting and helping vulnerable individuals overcome their gambling addiction.