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Aussies Rank First Worldwide in Gaming

The Luckiest Country: Aussies Rank First Worldwide in Per Capita Gaming

Written By Carla Harris

Play Pokies in Australia

Ask someone to name the betting capital of the world and you might hear Las Vegas, Monaco or Macau.

But none of those iconic hotspots can compete with Australia.

Gambling Capital, a consulting firm based in the U.K., issued a report earlier this year naming Australia as the world's betting leader. Aussies spent roughly $1,200 per capita on gaming in 2013.

One can only speculate as to why Aussies have such a deep cultural affinity for gaming. How the country got to the top, though, is much clearer — an abiding love of "pokies," or video poker. H2 reported that video poker represents the largest chunk of gaming activity among Aussies.

National love for pokies is represented in the sheer number of machines in operation. With roughly one machine for every 108 residents, Australia has one of the highest rates in the world.

There's no denying that gaming is part of the country's cultural fabric — an estimated 80 percent of Australian adults participate in some form of wagering annually, according to a study published in Foreign Policy magazine. Whether it's bingo, sports betting or video poker, those numbers mean gaming is clearly a national pastime.

It's also huge business. The total worldwide gaming market was worth about $440 billion in 2013.

Though the Aussie gaming industry continues to grow, the country's reign at the top may be short-lived. China has zoomed from 10th place to second place in per capita wagering in the last decade. H2 predicts the Chinese will own the top spot within five years.

That's hardly bad news for Aussies, though. Australian casinos are extremely popular among Chinese tourists . That means a projected Asian gaming boom should pump billions into the Australian economy.

Several world-class Australian casino projects are underway, giving future tourists — and millions of enthusiastic local bettors — even more opportunity to get lucky.

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