The popularity of online casino gambling has exploded in recent years.
But, changes in recreational habits are by no means consistent across the diverse populations on earth.
So, why is it that the demand for online casino products has surged in some countries?
The answer to this question is actually quite complex.
Online casino play has only really been accepted in a small number of the most liberal countries, with legal and cultural barriers being erected by many Governments to the industry on the assumption that online gambling will lead to the deterioration of society.
Of course, online betting in countries where Islam is widely practised is a complete no-no, but even in predominantly Christian states, there are wide-ranging views on the moral aspects of remote gaming.
Licensing is also a major source of division in the global iGaming industry. Only a handful of Governments have grasped the nettle that is online gaming and fully regulated the industry. In doing so, the U.K. and Maltese regimes have claimed billions in taxes and fees and have been able to mould the fledgling industry to their will.
It is much more common for Governments to turn something of a blind eye to the whole sector. Not banning online betting outright, but neither regulating the providers that provide domestic content. It is in this grey area that many of today’s most vibrant online casino markets have taken hold.
Throw in the uneven impacts of a once-in-a-century pandemic and you can quickly see why mobile and PC gambling has become an industry that has taken hold to varying extents in all corners of the globe.
But which populations are more eager than most to sign up for all the slots and Live Casino play that they can access?
By checking out internet search data provided by SEMRush it is easy to spot the per capita trends in the Top 10 Casino Hungry Populations on Earth.
We investigate the ten countries where the online demand for casino play per person is highest and speculate on why this might be the case.
10 – Denmark
The Danes are a liberal bunch, so in an industry that is often viewed as a bit grubby, it is not surprising to see them as keen participants.
But, online gambling in Denmark has only become fully regulated in recent times.
Before 2018, when legislators amended the Danish Gambling Act, it was difficult for Danish players to place an online bet on a wide range of sports events or even bingo games! But legal changes mean that access to internet-based casino and sports betting content has been opened up.
The opportunity to bet is one of the factors that make Denmark a gambling hotbed, but it does not fully explain recent consumer behaviour.
Disposable income levels in Denmark are viewed as being among the highest in the OECD.
So, surplus wealth could well have an impact on the predilection of the Danish to deposit to the dozens of casinos that have flooded the domestic market recently.
Tech use in Denmark is also high. It should not be surprising then that casino betting on mobile has risen markedly and that Danes are in the top 10 for online casino playing countries.
9 – USA
The recent boom in online casino use in the U.S.A. can be laid squarely at the door of recent regulatory changes.
The Supreme Court's 2018 decision to strike out the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act meant that online sports betting law could be decided by each of the nation's fifty state legislatures.
As a result, online betting became legalised in 21 states and saw betting revenues rise across the country, exponentially.
American culture is based around big sporting events from the NBA, NFL, NHL, and MLB and casino play at resorts including Vegas and Biloxi, so it is not surprising that deregulation has seen a surge in demand for all types of online betting.
8 – UK
The United Kingdom is often held-up as a beacon of libertarianism, so it stands to reason that light touch governmental policy on the subject of online gambling has seen demand for services remain high.
Gambling in the U.K. is conducted under the watchful eye of the UK Gambling Commission. Although all forms of gambling are fully legal in the U.K. online casino operators are subject to robust licensing conditions that seek to ensure that the vulnerable are protected from the harms that gambling can create. And that there is no place for criminal activity within the gaming community.
This balanced approach to legislation means that U.K. citizens have easy access to the world's best casino providers and that they can be confident that they are playing on respected platforms.
7 – Netherlands
The Netherlands is renowned globally for its attitudes toward "coffee houses" and "late-night entertainment", so the fact that the inhabitants of this largely Protestant nation enjoy a bet on casino and sports bet sites is largely unsurprising.
Recent legislative changes have also fueled the increased interest in online gambling in the Netherlands.
In 2021, the Dutch gambling regulator, the KSA, set about letting private firms offer online betting products to the country's population. As is the case with many countries on this list, legal access to online gambling sites boosts demand for betting products.
6 – Canada
Canada is a dream for online casino executives.
There are few other places on earth where a liberal society combines high levels of personal wealth and oodles of time to engage in recreational activities.
For those of you that have never visited the land of the Maple Leaf, the winters in Canada can be extremely harsh.
Regular snowstorms and wind chill factors that touch -30c, provide excellent conditions for the thousands of hockey players that ply their trade across Canada. Still, they also mean that casino fans have plenty of opportunities to indulge in their favourite pastime.
Canadian law has also been updated in recent times to give locals greater access to the world's best betting sites.
The First Nations Gaming Act allows indigenous communities to regulate the gambling industry on their traditional lands, which has seen bodies like the Kahnawake Gambling Commission develop.
5 – Armenia
Online gambling has become a big business in Armenia.
In legal terms, online betting is a grey area in the former Soviet Republic.
Long-held local laws permit online casino play as long as a foreign provider produces this.
This stance is somewhat at odds with many of Armenia's neighbours, with online betting essentially being illegal in Azerbaijan and Turkey. So, it is not a surprise that Armenia has not looked this liberal "gift horse" in the mouth and has played casino games with gay abandon!
Of course, there are very few ways to guarantee a profit at the roulette table or in the slots lounge.
But, when you can participate in an activity that is denied to all those who surround you, you may well feel like a winner just by having the chance to take part.
The behaviour of Armenian gambling fans over the last twelve months certainly points to an appreciation of the freedoms that they receive.
4 – Australia
Australians love nothing more than an adversarial game of Aussie Rules, Rugger, or Cricket, and it is this spirit that goes hand in hand with a thirst for online betting of all types.
The legalities of remote betting in Oz are not entirely straightforward, with legislation being left to individual state capitals. It is generally accepted that the Northern Territory has the most relaxed rules, but even these only allow online sports betting platforms. If you want to play on your favourite slot or table game, you must rely on feed being piped in from foreign jurisdictions.
Given the harshness of lockdown conditions in Australia throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, it is unsurprising that Australians have been doing multiple online searches for online casinos in the past twelve months.
3 – Finland
Finland is a curious entry to our list of nations where online gaming has ballooned in popularity in the last year.
As the situation in Canada though, there are many country-specific factors that ensure that Finns are susceptible to the charms of online casino content.
First, the Finnish Government takes a laissez-faire approach to mobile and PC betting.
If you wish to access the latest games from the Microgaming, Evolution Gaming, or NetEnt catalogues, you can, as the Finnish Government has instigated a fulsome regulatory framework covering the sector.
Suomalaiset Nettikasinot (online casinos) in Finland must follow similar rules to those that the UKGC approves. In essence, this means that Finns enjoy some of the safest online casino sites anywhere on the planet.
Given that Finnish winters are also some of the harshest, with the Sun not making an appearance for three months in Northern climes, there is more than enough time to settle down for a few spins in front of a roaring log fire!
2 – Sweden
Sweden is famous for ABBA, IKEA, and the sauna. But did you know that Sweden is also a hotbed for many of the world's biggest online casino firms?
Leo Vegas, Betsson, and Evolution Gaming, all began life in the Nordic technological powerhouse. And this sectoral success is carried through to the view that Swedish society has of the online betting market.
Swedes are pretty relaxed about spending their Krona on one of the many platforms that the Svenska Spel has approved. Sweden's gambling legislators have opened up the sports betting, casino, and lottery markets to such an extent that wealthy locals now make more online searches per head about remote betting than any race other than Kiwis.
Once again, culture seems to play a part in this pattern of behaviour. The fun-loving Viking nation has never been one to worry about the views of others, so addiction to online debauchery seems a natural fit.
1 – New Zealand
New Zealanders must be one of the luckiest peoples around.
They live in the land of The Hobbit and soak in dramatic panoramas daily.
But you wouldn't necessarily think that New Zealanders also enjoy soaking up a little adulation in the lounges of one of the hundreds of sites that provide online gambling services to the Southern nation.
But recent figures from SEMRush suggest that New Zealand nationals do more online searches for online casinos than any other people. A result that way well explain why so many of the best casinos in the world now look to do business in the Maori nation.
Several factors are likely to influence these findings.
Kiwis have a lot of disposable cash, burning a hole in their pockets and little to spend it on. As one of the most isolated island communities, New Zealand can become a little bit humdrum (even considering the natural wonders on the doorstep). This yearning for excitement and the fact the Gambling Act of 2003 allows Kiwis to play on foreign online casino sites legally means that remote betting is ever more popular.
Combine these conditions with the fact that New Zealand is an ultra-liberal society, and you end up with an international iGaming hotbed!