Gambling spend per capita: where does Malta rank?

Australians are the biggest spenders per capita on gambling in the world, but where do the locals rank?

By every possible metric, Australians are the biggest spenders per capita on gambling in the world. But, to know why Australians spend so much on gambling we would need to look deeper. This way we can also find out why the Maltese are not as far behind as one would hope. A lot of the increase that occurred in the last decade can be attributed to technology.

Also, there was a shift in how gambling is marketed, as it is no longer a ‘’get rich quick scheme’’, but rather a mode of entertainment. Still, there are some overarching points that can be connected to see the influence of culture, society, economics, as well as current politics on why people are spending their money on such an activity. In the broadest terms, gambling in general and online gambling, in particular, have three major draw-in points:

● It is easy and cheap
● It spurs competitive spirit
● There is a chance to win something back

All three points are fairly alluring to the human mind. And with online casino bonuses and promotions being added to the scale it is understandable why gamblers are being formed at a faster pace than ever before. Thankfully, this is not correlating with gambling addiction which has stayed the same even with the increase, across the board.

Something about Island Living While one might think that there isn’t a lot connecting Malta and Iceland, both countries are in the top 15 of the world’s biggest per-capita gamblers. As a matter of fact, all European island nations, including Ireland and Britain, as well as Australia and New Zealand, are all on this list.

While correlation doesn’t equal causation, this fact is too much of a coincidence to disregard it as simply that. Rather it is necessary to investigate what makes an island a suitable place to start gambling. Most hypotheses focus on the fact that islands usually don’t have diversified investment opportunities as there is no land to retreat to. But, that can’t be said for Australia, which is an island the size of the continental USA.

Rather, it might be the fact that places like Malta, New Zealand, and Ireland were founded by sea-farers and travelers, and that we might get the competitive spirit and drive to take our chances from that part of the culture.

All about location

There is no better place to open a business than a busy port, even if it is run by a militant religious order, which is the case for Malta. This also goes for a casino, as it is a place where a lot of money is changing hands, and you want it to change some more hands. This is probably the reason why Sydney, Perth, Brisbane, and Melbourne have a lot of casinos with a very long tradition.

And it could be the reason for such high ranking from island nations in general. Additionally, Aussies don’t spend the majority of their money at high-stakes casinos. Rather, around 60% of the roughly 800 euros per person per year is spent on non-casino gambling machines known as pokies. These machines can be found everywhere and are usually a simple bar distraction or auxiliary entertainment option for people who came for a different reason.

Such a casual approach to gambling is significantly contributing to Australia’s first place in the ranking. A similar reason might be for Ireland, ranking 3 rd globally per capita, where most people are going online to fulfill this need.

Cultural Impact of per Capita Gambling

In a 2020 article on Maltese culture, Angele Deguara pointed out that general culture influences individuals even if they don’t personally feel as if they are a part of that particular subcultural or social group.

This can be translated to gambling as well and can be the reason why Malta, which is much more urban and has per capita much more casinos than Australia, spends half as much on this form of entertainment. All other factors included, it is possible that our social circle’s relationship towards gambling makes the definitive difference whether we will gamble or not, and with how much money. This will explain the allure of online options, as the pressure there is not as big. It is completely possible to gamble anonymously and only wager a couple of euros a day for games like slots. And who knows, maybe you even win something sometimes.

Technology makes it easier

Technology doesn’t only make everything more accessible and cheaper, but it is also generally easier to gamble online than it ever was in a brick and mortar establishment. Primarily, there is no time spent in transit. Then, there is no need for a dress code. Online gambling doesn’t require you to be dressed at all. Such freedom made even those on the fence opt to try out online games, increasing the number of gamblers around the world significantly.

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