Gambling preferences of different people were formed and have been evolving on par with traditions and cultural beliefs. In this very review, Slotegrator’s experts made an analysis of players’ current preferences by observing their typical choices by region, as well as their backgrounds that influenced by some of the historical circumstances.

Article summary

  1. African Countries
  2. Asian Countries
  3. European countries
  4. CIS Countries
  5. Current and future preferences in gambling

African Countries

Above all, the main reason for rapid development of gambling in Africa is local economic progress. Gambling along with tourism brings African countries significant incomes. Tunisia, South Africa, Egypt are considered as popular tourist destinations, so that most gambling establishments prefer operating on these territories. Tourists like gambling, and the variety of games of chance present in African casinos fully meets their needs. Betting terminals are officially legalized and available in three countries, as well as slots and poker terminals.

Among the most popular varieties of gambling there can be named betting, virtual sports, and various types of sweepstakes, including quite exotic ones, such as cockroach racing, dog racing, ladybug racing, etc.

Moreover, there is a special type of poker, Texas Hold'em, that has become very popular over the past decade. In 2004, a specialized poker association was established in Africa, sponsored by the South African Poker Association. This organization represents interests of the African poker gaming community, accountable for promotion and setting common poker standards in accordance with global guidelines, as well as poker regulation in the country.

Asian Countries

The most venturous gamblers in the world usually come from Southeast Asia. Local gambling has a thousand-year history dating back to times immemorial. There are many folk tales describing how men bet on their wives, sisters, daughters, or even certain parts of body. For instance, before the First World War, most of Thailand's annual income consisted of revenues from casinos licensed by the government. A couple of years before the communist revolution in some of the provinces of China, Burma, and Thailand an average family of farmers were spending almost one third of their earnings on repayment of gambling debts. This resulted in further bans on gambling. Thai casinos are prohibited till the present day, however, are legalized in special gambling zones of China.

Nevertheless, gambling has not lost its popularity among Asians. And numbers speak for themselves: the turnover of gambling business in Macau and Singapore in 2016 increased up to $38 billion.

Mahjong, Baccarat, Craps, Poker, Pachinko, etc. are the most popular choices in Southeast Asian casinos. Keno lottery is also considered as a very common entertainment there.

Originally, Mahjong is a Chinese game of chance involving rolling the dice. Any entrepreneur who has ever thought of opening his own gambling business in Asia should understand that those games are a must-have and have to be enlisted into the catalogue of offers, otherwise such a business is doomed to failure.

Particularly the game of Mahjong is the number one for all Asian gamblers without exception and its presence is absolutely necessary on the Asian market.

Read also: Gambling industry in China

The first place traditionally belongs to card games: Baccarat and its variety - Punto Banco plus poker and its version - Pai Gow Poker.

Card games are among the most popular gambling entertainments in the majority of Asian countries. Historians believe that prototypes of modern playing cards first appeared in Asia. It is worth mentioning that Pai Gow Poker is entirely based on a classic Chinese game, similar to domino, played by Asians for at least a thousand years.

Another popular type includes traditional versions of dice: Craps and Sic Bo. They also trace their roots from China, where the dice was since ancient times. For example, Sic Bo (literally ‘a couple of cubes’). Bets are made according to combinations appearing on the dice. The same rules are preserved in the game of Craps (translated as ‘game of dice’).

The third place, according to Slotegrator’s specialists, belongs to Pachinko slot analogues, and also to Fan Tan - a game requiring guessing randomly appearing numbers.

Moreover, it is impossible not to mention about Keno lottery. Asians play it eagerly, not for the sake of getting huge winnings, but more to rewind and have some fun.

European countries

Europe is also known for its passion for gambling. Starting from the Middle Ages and until the 18th century, gambling spread throughout the Old World, becoming an integral part of social life of the rich and famous. Gradually, public authorities popularized gambling by imposing huge taxes on it. Many types of gambling originated in Europe and keep being very popular until nowadays.

For example, Single Zero Roulette still remains the most common European casino game. The name of the game ‘Roulette’ originated from the French word ‘roulette’ meaning ‘small wheel’.

Card games have also been common in Europe since ancient times. Traditional Poker and Blackjack have won the hearts of Europeans from the time of their first appearance and since then haven´t given up its positions.

Historically, France was the first to set the fashion for gambling in Europe. For instance, the prototype of contemporary Blackjack is the game called Twenty-One that originated in France around 18th -19th century.

The second place belongs to slots. It is believed, that the first mechanical slot machine or a so-called ‘one-armed bandit’, was invented in San Francisco in 1887 by a native German, Charles Fay. The slot included two spinning reels with five symbols. The gameplay itself was simple, easy and offered a chance of quick and sustainable winnings, that eventually lead to their instant popularity in the US. Another story tells that slots spread all over the Europe just because some of Fay’s slots were stolen by the company called Novelty.

Among the rest of popular European games one might find various lotteries, sweepstakes, Bingo, and sports betting.

Read also: Review of the gambling markets of the leading European countries

CIS Countries

Archaeological excavations and monuments provide evidence of gambling among the Slavic nations, particularly in the times of Ancient Rus. The modern CIS countries still occupy the area of the mentioned state, stretching from contemporary Poland to Kamchatka.

In ancient Russia, there were such games as Zern’ - very similar to the game of dice; Babki - generally known as contemporary Gorodki game; Melnitsa, and chess.

Card games appeared in Russia in the 16th century. They came from Europe and quickly became popular among many nobles.

After October Revolution, gambling was banned in Soviet Union. However, in those years, lottery was very widespread. Often employees of enterprises and plant workers were forced to play by their supervisors.

After the collapse of Soviet Union in the 1990s, when former Soviet republics drew more attention to the Western culture and values, gambling activities were completely unregulated.

Casino and arcade halls were appearing everywhere. Over the years, almost all types of gambling entertainment became popular in the CIS countries: from Roulette to Poker, from slots to baccarat.

A decade later, the CIS governments took control of the gambling business, setting legislative prohibitions and restrictions on it. For example, several special gambling zones were allocated in Russia.

The CIS is perhaps the only region where cultural traditions in gambling preferences, in spite of ancient historical roots, are quite difficult to identify. Since ancient Russia and tsarist times, almost nothing has reached our days, since all the nobility, who set the tone in gambling, emigrated to Europe and the United States during the revolution. And within the Soviet Union several generations grew up in the conditions of strict prohibitions on the gambling.

But, nevertheless, it is possible to single out several European card games beloved by the CIS residents most of all.

Game of Kozel appeared in Germany at the end of the 19th century. In the CIS, this game has become one of the most well-known and has several varieties. Poker acquired a mass distribution after the USSR collapse. And, a Fool game - perhaps, the most famous folk card game, learnt by people in early childhood. Also you cannot fail to mention Preference; the name comes from the French ‘préférence’. This game is a kind of Whist and was popular in tsarist Russia. Game of Point or 21 is a favorite from of the USSR version of Blackjack, which is played with a deck of 36 cards.

Current and future preferences in gambling

Modern gambling came from antiquity, being a part of civilization for millennia. For example, archeologists still find dice made of tusks and bones of animals, as well as of stones, various metals, and alloys, during excavations of prehistoric settlements and burials. This indicates that excitement as a natural human trait since ancient times. Culture and traditions of different nations were reflected in the gambling as well.

Historically, there are certain gambling preferences according to the region. But modern Internet technologies gradually erase these boundaries each year. And, as you can see from this review - today, Poker already takes the leading positions around the world, despite the traditions and cultural features of different peoples.

Read also: US gambling market analysis