In the gambling business, a few demographic stereotypes are generally held up as the Gospel truth.

Specifically, there’s long been a belief that Australians are the biggest gamblers in the world and that at least one Asian-Pacific country, usually China, is in a not-too-distant second place.

As it turns out, those stereotypes aren’t necessarily supported by actual facts. According to a new report from The Economist, the biggest gamblers (at least in terms of losses) are the Americans. Americans rack up around $142 billion worth of losses in all forms of gambling every year.

It’s worth noting that the report included all forms of gambling, including state lotteries. Currently, 47 US States have lotteries and some form of gambling is legal in every state but Hawaii and Utah.

So what about the stereotype that Asians like to gamble?

Well, that one seems to at least partially based in fact. China and Japan occupy the number two and three spots on the list with losses pegged at $95 billion and $30 billion respectively.

The magazine does note that recent corruption crackdowns in Mainland China and Macau have had a huge impact on the gambling industry which, of course, makes its money on gambling losses.

If you were surprised to find Australia ranked number six on the list, you just need to parse out the numbers a little bit. Aussies have the highest losses per person. That means every Australian adult loses about $1,130 a year on pokies, sports wagering and other forms of gambling.

The report is a must-read for anyone in the gambling business who is trying to figure out exactly who is supporting the $488 billion worldwide industry and where exactly all those losers (on the tables!) live.


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