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Who gambles more: the UK, the US, Australia or New Zealand?

In 2023, the total gambling market is expected to hit values of almost 100 billion US dollars, with more than 20% of the total world population estimated to have gambled at least once. 

The industry continues to increase year on year and there is huge growth in gambling stalwarts including Australia, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, and the United States.

But which country holds the crown? Who gambles more? 


Australia is a very competitive country in general, so it’s no surprise that when it comes to gambling, it’s one of the leaders, if not the leader depending on how you measure.

In any case, Australia is the country with the most gamblers, as a staggering 80% of the adult population gambles on a somewhat regular basis. 

According to the National Telephone Surveys, iGaming in Australia is still on an upswing.

Between 2011 and 2019, for example, gambling prevalence more than doubled (from 8.1% to 17.5%).

Considering Australians need to use casinos from abroad to spend their dollars, imagine what will happen if the Government ever decides to loosen regulations. 

Online casinos generate an estimated $2 billion per year, which equates to roughly $1300 per person.

In total, the average gambler loses about $1k yearly on gambling, which is over twice the United States.

If we’re measuring by percentage of the total population or losses per capita, Australia takes the entire cake.

Does this mean Oz is the undisputed leader? Perhaps not. Let’s keep diving into the figures.

New Zealand 

Neighbouring New Zealand doesn’t quite hold a candle against Australia when it comes to overall gambling popularity.

Nevertheless, the Kiwis have made huge strides in the last ten years or so and it’s in those terms that New Zealand really deserves a place on this list, since if we look at totals, the country doesn’t quite have the population to place it amongst the top countries.

However, 2020 was a record year for New Zealand, with Kiwis spending more money than ever before on gambling activities.

The average spend for a Kiwi currently sits at around $600, which is a massive jump from just a few years ago. 

The country is also seeing huge jumps in individual gambling niches.

For instance, Lotto tickets are seeing a keen surge in players, with a massive 13% increase in the last year. 

New Zealand is also continuing to see record numbers, despite long periods when land-based options were entirely closed to gamblers. 

With some of the strictest measures, New Zealand was one of the last to open its physical doors, even though the country has some fantastic land-based options.

Sky City Casino, a New Zealand casino, has both land-based facilities and an online version to fit the needs of all players.

Moreover, this casino forms the traditional largest chunk of gambling revenue.

It looks like 2022 will see another record year, once both online and land-based earnings are combined. 

United Kingdom 

When it comes to gambling, the United Kingdom has a storied history.

The tradition of placing a wager on a football accumulator has almost become a rite of passage and pubs have had a slot machine in the corner as standard since what seems like time immemorial. 

British law is also on the side of gambling, with players enjoying a wide range of choices when it comes to fully licensed casinos.

When they choose sites like William Hill or Ladbrokes, they know they’ve been given the Government’s stamp of approval. 

These lax regulations mean it’s no surprise gambling revenues in the UK exceed £15 billion per year.

Thirty-two percent of the country places a bet at least once a week and almost half have put in at least one wager in the last month.

United States 

If we’re talking pure, raw numbers, you can’t really ignore the United States as almost 70% of all online gamblers live in the US.

It’s not a surprise gambling is huge in America as the likes of Las Vegas and Atlantic City are heavy-hitter names in the gambling world and in the international consciousness.

Of course, this 70% figure needs some nuance.

The United States is the third most populous country on the planet, so it’s not a surprise that the total figure is so high.

However, you can expect the number of gamblers in the country to increase in the coming years, too.

The United States has long had pretty strict regulations for gamblers, with many states still having outright bans.

However, these are increasingly being loosened, no doubt with the Government looking to increase coffers through taxes in an exceptionally tricky time. 

What is meant by ‘most’?

The numbers show that the original question isn’t as clear-cut as one would like.

If we’re asking about who gambles the most, do we mean percentage of the population? Losses/staked per capita? The number of regular gamblers? 

It’s tricky. But it’s clear that in all of these countries we’ve explored, gambling is a pretty big deal.

And if regulations continue to be loosened, as they are in the United States, for example, expect numbers to continue increasing exponentially in the coming years. 

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