International Gambling

Governmental control regarding gambling varies from one country to another. Some countries downright prohibit it entirely – Denmark and Finland fall into this category. However, most European countries allow for gambling – but not without tight government control. The most common restriction imposed on casinos is that they can only operate in designated areas like specific resorts or well populated cities. India has a ban on gaming houses, but surprisingly, tolerates horse race betting.

Japan allows varied kinds of betting within its borders, with an emphasis on bicycle and horse racing and lottery. Mexico also places an emphasis on horse betting and lottery, with a particular interest in jai-alai. Betting pools are extremely popular in Europe – chiefly in Denmark – where 52% of the men bet in soccer pools monthly. 40% of adults in England also bet regularly on soccer pools. Even state run lotteries have made a dynamic comeback in the eastern countries of the Soviet quarter since WWII.

The biggest contributing European country to the worldwide gambling industry, however, is Great Britain, who boasts more than 1,700 bingo clubs and 165,000 slot machines in casinos, pubs, and penny arcades. In 1968, England was considered to be a gambling paradise, with more than 1,000 casinos legally operating nationwide (Due in part to unintentional legislation by Parliament in 1960). However, later that same year, the Betting and Gaming Act was passed. It was designed to rid the country of the majority of casinos, while heavily taxing the ones that continued running. By 1976, there existed only 121 licensed gaming resorts, all under tight control of the Parliament. Nowadays, England is a haven for bookmakers who specialize in the booming dog and horse race betting business.

Today, gambling exists in various nations; And despite the fact that more controversy is associated with gambling in the United States than in any other country, the U.S. gaming industry is the most thriving and profitable. The most important form of commercialized gambling in the U.S. is horse racing. To get an idea of how big it is, each year more people attend horse races than attend professional football, baseball and basketball events combined. A racetrack in New York or Los Angeles attracts more than 20,000 people on a typical weekday, with close to 100,000 in attendance on a weekend. Statistics also show that the average turnover at horseracing events is $140 per person.

Participation in other forms of gambling is more difficult to analyze, let alone, conclude statistical findings. However, according to official documents published by Nevada’s Gambling Commission, at the close of fiscal year 2002, the total winning revenues for land based casino gamblers statewide was approximately 8.7 billion dollars. This is a stark difference to the gambling industry 22 years prior. In 1980, the Nevada’s Gambling Commission reported that the taxable income for all of Nevada’s casinos combined was a mere 2.3 billion (A whopping 264% difference).

The range of people that gamble in America is just as vast as the rise in winning revenue. In a survey conducted by the National Policy Toward Gambling, 61% of Americans said they took part in some form of gambling. Of these, 44% only bet in legal commercial games (to include bingo and lottery), 13% bet only with a close circle of friends or sports pool and 11% bet in some illegal way or another. Geographically speaking, 80% of Northeastern Americans gamble, as opposed to only 40% of Southerners. Males tend to gamble more than females; 68% for the guys, and 55% for the ladies. 68% of Caucasians gamble, whereas 52% of non Caucasians gamble. Catholics do the most gambling – 80% – in comparison to 77% of Jews and 54% of Protestants.

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