Global Gambling Statistics & Facts 2020

Numbers can be identified as a constant presence in the world of gambling. However, it is not only to calculate the odds of a sports event or the chances of a roulette game that they are useful. One year after the other, relevant information on revenue, evolution, and expenses is published.

We believe that everyone, from casinos to players, should get hold of that precious knowledge. That way, it is possible to identify if people are gambling responsibly and whether the industry is improving or not. Read full research created by GNG team of specialists and see how they endeavors their best efforts to make everything detailed.

Gambling Statistics for 2020 – Quick Overview

  • Asia is the leading region in terms of revenue in gambling (31.3%)
  • Total gambling revenue in 2019 reached.
  • In 2020, predictions tell revenues should suffer greatly (minus US$ 80 billion) due to the pandemic.
  • In percentage terms, Africa had the greatest growth in the past years.
  • Sports betting represents the largest online gambling sector.
  • The five top gambling markets are China, the USA, Japan, South Korea, and Germany.
  • 2019 revenue levels may not be reached again before 2023.
  • Great Britain achieved a total gross gambling yield of £14.3 billion in 2019.
  • The online gambling market revenue currently totalizes US$53.7 billion, most of which is represented by sports betting.

General Gambling Stats & Facts

In order to better explain and show how the entire gambling industry is evolving, we created charts and graphics for your visualization. We are sure you are curious to understand how the data above looks like when illustrated.

Gambling Around the World

It is clear that there is a lot of people gambling from the three-digit billion figure. However, let us get familiarized with how the revenue is divided for both general and online gambling.

All the years with an “E” added to them represent that there is still not enough data to state the total gambling revenue. Keep in mind the losses from 2019 onwards represent the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. Those with an (*) indicate that such values may never occur, as the 2019 levels may not recover before 2023.

It is also noteworthy that all information regarding estimation was not correct, even before the crisis. Mostly, institutions and consultancy companies would estimate 4-6% growth on a yearly basis. The fact is, they would mostly overestimate the increase in revenue, usually 3-4x lower than expected.

Even so, disregarding the pandemic impact, it is a fact that gambling is growing all around the world. If it were not for Covid-19, we could expect levels at least near US$500 billion by 2023.

Talking about estimates, 2019 was expected to generate US$ 43.2 billion for the online gambling sector. Our sources state that it managed to reach over US$ 53 billion. In other words, it seems that online gambling has the capacity to surpass estimates, and general gambling, the opposite.

How Many People Are Gambling?

All that money comes from gamblers all around the world: North America, Latin America, Asia, Africa, and every country that allows online gambling or land-based casinos and lotteries. Therefore, it would be great to know how many people are gambling.

On the other hand, although some websites create estimates out of nowhere, we prefer to be honest. We count on studies and reports to bring you the following facts related to the biggest gambling markets:

  • 80% of the S. population gambled at some point in their lives if we count bingo and lottery.
  • Around 46% of UK residents (16+ years old) gambled in the past four weeks of the Gambling Commission’s study on gambling behavior.
  • Except for lotteries, the majority of those in the UK are within the 25-34 age group.
  • Around 1.6 billion people gamble throughout the year.
  • 2 billion of the entire world population gambled at some point in their lives.

Even though it may look as if that information is simply for curiosity purposes, there is more to it than meets the eye. It is a known fact to online gamblers that responsibility has to be part of their lives, as it may become an addiction. Knowing how many people gamble and their behavior is how authorities can identify if there are issues that need regulation or help.

What Are People Gambling on the Most?

Around 20% of the world population gamble at some point in their lives and that number seems to be increasing – especially thanks to online gambling. But what are they gambling on the most?

Those who have bet on sports may just as well purchase a lottery ticket, for they are guessing well. In fact, sports betting has been the main choice of gamblers for almost 15 years now, according to the most recent data:

In terms of casinos, slots are the most famous casino game in all three English-speaking countries U.S., UK, and Australia. The most recent estimate is that it is the preference of 53% of all social casino players. However, that is an aggregate comparative that does not survive an individual check:

  • In the UK, bingo is still the preferred choice when it comes to casinos.
  • Poker is much more popular in Australia when compared to the other two countries.
  • Blackjack comes right after slots and poker for U.S. casino players.

Gambling Industry Trends: Predicting the Future of World Gambling

In terms of growth, it is expected that the Asia-Pacific and Africa regions will be responsible for pushing forward gambling growth. Forecasts estimate annual growth with rates of around 8%.

As for the gambling categories, sports betting continues to grow at an annual rate of 7%. Online gambling, on the other hand, is not the favorite in terms of percentage growth. It seems that VR betting should take that position from now to 2022, at an average rate of 21.5% every year.

As a matter of fact, virtual (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technologies have everything to change the way we see casinos. The best part is that the whole new experience can be applied to both land-based and online casinos, with their own specific setups.

Until it becomes really popular, we still continue to be able to bet on live events online and check new slots/pokies release on a weekly basis.

Global Gambling Revenues 2020

When the 2020 global gambling results finally come, it is expected that we will see a large drop in terms of revenue. At the same time, the online gambling market is expected to have grown about 13.2% by the time 2020 is past gone. An estimated total of US$ 66.7 billion as revenue can be attributed to the pandemic, which made gamblers stay at home for a long period.

That market comprises all the gambling activities performed in a remote manner, through desktops and mobile devices. It embraces:

  • Live and pre-match sports betting
  • Bingo
  • Casino (including slots/pokies) & live dealer casino games
  • Lotteries
  • Poker
  • Table games

In another optimistic but still reasonable forecast, that same market is expected to reach US$92.9 billion in 2023, still growing at rates above 10% every year. Therefore, from 2020 on, online gambling will acquire an increasing relevance in the global gambling market.

Coronavirus Impact

Current forecasts estimate that gambling revenues should expect something of the order of US$80 billion less in 2020 than in 2019. That impact results from the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic, including shutdowns. Most of those losses would come from the Asian market, around US$29 billion (36%), as it is also the largest gambling market.

Impact on GGR by Regions and Games


The gaming world goes from simple casual apps to actual gambling titles, such as the popular online slots. Between December 2019 and March 2020, the gambling games were almost as popular (36%) than the shooter games (40%), which are increasingly popular. That is causally related to the fact that people were trying to find entertainment options when at home.

Shutdown and quarantine measures were responsible for affecting gambling activities that represent 60% of the total gambling revenue. It began in January, applied to Chinese lotteries, but it was only by March that casinos across Europe and North America were affected.

Fortunately, restrictions are changing, and we barely hear about shutdowns now. In the chart below, we specified in a visual manner how each region would be impacted, as per current expectations, in terms of gross gambling revenue.

Europe and North America will account for losses of similar magnitude, around US$20 billion. In total, the 2020 estimate is of US$380.4 billion as the total revenue. As previously stated in this article, we should expect to see a recovery by 2021/2022.

Losses by Regions

Each region was affected in a certain manner, depending on the gambling public and the main activities responsible for most of the revenue. Therefore, we listed the main impacts at the beginning and during the worst period – in terms of restrictions – of the pandemic:

  • Chinese lotteries saw around US$5 billion worth of lottery games become 0 in less than two months (December-February).
  • Gaming revenues in Macao in January 2020 were already lower than during the same period in 2019 but were reduced to almost none by April.
  • Singapore saw its tourist inflow reduce from almost 2 million (December 2019 and January 2020) to not much above 200 thousand by March 2020.
  • South Korea was recovering its Chinese tourists’ attention, reaching over 500,000 visitors from the foreign country before they were reduced to 0 (January 2020).
  • All retail gambling venues in the UK were closed by March 2020, and they represented 50% of the region’s income – except for lotteries.

3 Most Popular Online Gambling Games


  1. Casino gamesEither on real casinos or online social gambling, slots are the most popular choice among players in many countries worldwide. In fact, it represents most of the revenue in New Zealand, in the UK, and especially in Australia (usually called pokies). Canadians are also known to play slots when visiting a casino, but there is no data available on their online behavior.
  2. Sports bettingThe biggest representative sector in terms of online gambling is sports betting. Together with the casino games, it is also one of the favorites when we take total expenditure into consideration. Even with that participation, it continues to grow at incredible rates every year – 7%. Recently, some US states allowed it, which has already been reflected in gambling behavior there.
  3. Poker and card gamesTogether with blackjack, poker is one of the most famous card games around the world. It counts with special legislation in some countries and several worldwide tournaments. There are even websites specialized in promoting poker rooms with real gambling and nothing else. The United States and the UK are the top gambling countries with the highest participation of poker among its favorite options.

Interesting Facts about Gambling


  1. The first slot machine was invented in 1891, but it was similar to what we know today as video poker. The classic 3-reel slot was invented a little bit later, in 1895.
  2. The largest jackpot in history (US$39,713,982.25) for slot machines was paid back in 2003. It occurred in the Excalibur Hotel-Casino, Las Vegas.
  3. Since 1949, gambling is illegal in China, but it is legal in Macau’s autonomous region.
  4. Nikola Tesla became addicted to gambling and lost his allowance and tuition money playing card games, which is why he never finished college.
  5. In 1992, a gambling syndicate in Australia bought virtually all possible combinations in a Virginia lottery. Their $5 million investment resulted in winning $27 million.
  6. Around 1.6 billion people gamble throughout the year.



  • Online gambling is expanding, and VR technologies may become part of it soon.
  • The entire industry was severely affected by the recent health crisis, but it should recover by 2022.
  • Mobile gambling already represents a considerable portion (over 20%) of actual bets.
  • The European market has the highest contribution when it comes to online gambling (57%).
  • In terms of growth, the Asia-Pacific region beats all other continents – overall gambling.
  • Australian players collect the highest gambling losses in the world.
  • Australian women almost equated their participation in gambling compared to men.


Author: Leo Coleman, Marketing Assistant of Gambling ‘N Go company

Link to our research: