Why are online casinos so popular in the world’s richest countries?

By William Davis


Apr 26, 2022

Reading time: 3 min

If recent industry reports are anything to go by, the online casino industry is booming. While industry growth has been rising steadily over the last decade, particularly given the rise of online mobile casinos, it has accelerated significantly within the last couple of years.

Perhaps most interestingly, this growth has not necessarily been felt evenly across the world. Despite the fact that industry growth has certainly been noticed across all territories, certain regions have experienced higher rates than others.

In this context, sites such as casinotopplisten have experienced considerable growth over the last couple of years. This is broadly reflective of how well the online casino industry has grown across Scandinavia.

This has contributed to an annual compounding growth rate of around 9% for Europe as a whole, with the online sector expected to make up 41% of total gambling revenue in Europe before long.

These figures are particularly interesting given that just a few years ago there was a feeling in the industry that the market was beginning to get oversaturated, with little growth left for the European market. This raises an interesting question as to why online casinos have continued to experience such strong growth in historically wealthy regions and countries. Let’s take a look at some of the factors that might be at play.

Leisure time

One socio-economic factor that might explain the growth of online casinos in the world’s wealthiest countries relates to the amount of free time individuals have available outside work.

According to research by intergovernmental economic organization the OECD, countries scoring high on various economic rankings such as GDP and GNP tend to score higher when it comes to the number of hours per week their citizens devote to leisure and personal care.

These countries also tend to be places where a higher percentage of citizens have long-term, stable employment with high wages and strong employee rights.

Based on this, it is clear that a strong indicator of relative economic prosperity appears to be the amount of free time citizens have to dedicate to rest and recreation each week. This also appears to be reflected at the higher end of the scale in individual countries, with wealthier individuals not only having more free time available, but also tending to spend this time differently in comparison to those less well off.

This might help to explain why countries where the population has higher levels of free time outside work have also experienced higher rates of growth in entertainment-related industries such as online casinos.

Disposable income

Another important factor that should be considered is the level of disposable income available to individuals in these countries. This is because it’s not just free time, but the availability of income that makes activities possible.

Once again, this is reflected in research undertaken by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, which collects information related to levels of disposable income per capita.

“Disposable income” is defined by the OECD as essentially the income that’s left over after essential living expenses such as housing, taxes and insurance, are subtracted. Importantly, disposable income would cover all non-essential spending.

It seems relatively intuitive that in places where individuals have more disposable income to spend they are more likely to spend this on leisure time activities such as online casinos. This is because they simply have more income available after all the basic necessities of life are accounted for.

Availability of mobile devices

Another factor that is closely related to disposable income levels which might help to explain the rise of online casinos in wealthier countries is the availability of mobile devices.

As previously mentioned, one of the reasons why online casinos have undergone such rapid growth is due to the availability of high-speed mobile internet and powerful mobile devices. This has helped to make online casinos more accessible than ever and has also been a boon to mobile casinos, esports, and online gaming.

This will naturally be higher in wealthier countries where the financial barriers to mobile device ownership are lower and where high-speed mobile internet is easier to find.