Think you know who the world’s biggest gamblers are?
ARE you an American who lost the month’s rent in Las Vegas? A Briton whose sure thing missed at the Grand National? You are not, alas, in particularly good company among your countrymen. Vegas and the high-street bookies take in plenty of cash, but measured proportionally to population—net spending in the country’s legal forms of betting divided by the number of residents over age 16—America and Britain lag not merely Australia and Hong Kong, but also Scandinavia and Finland. Macau and Monaco, which derive nearly all of their gambling revenue from tourists, do not make the list. Seeing Singapore so near the top is surprising, but don’t get used to it. Three years ago the country had no casinos; today the Marina Bay Sands and Resorts World Sentosa alone nearly outgross the entire Las Vegas Strip, but outside of Macau they enjoy first-mover advantage in betting-mad Asia. Western-style hotel-casino complexes are being built in Vietnam and the Philippines. Developers salivate at the prospect of markets opening in India and Japan. Singapore has had a lucky run, but lucky runs don’t last.