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Top 5 Countries for Online Poker Popularity

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Online Poker

Online poker is a truly global game as the possibility to play poker for real money becomes more accessible over time. 100 million users worldwide are regularly logging on to try their luck at the game and potentially win some money in the process. We look at the top five destinations where online poker is rife.

1. United States of America

Did you really expect number one to be anywhere else than the US? With around 60% of the total amount of global players based in America, the country enjoys a good majority of the overall online poker community. The US while has a fragmented relationship with gambling, the ability to watch live poker on television, and WSOP events regularly taking place in the US, along with the 2000s online poker boom, there’s no wonder that it commands popularity.

This majority could only grow even bigger as the legislation around online gambling and poker becomes more relaxed in the US. Multiple US states like California, Illinois, and New York all enjoy fairly liberal governments and could overturn the draconian ban relatively soon.

2. Indonesia

Indonesia technically doesn’t allow any form of gambling as the status quo is to practice the religion of Islam. This belief system doesn’t usually have a great relationship with gambling and subsequently, Muslim-majority countries tend to outlaw all forms of gambling.

Whether it’s ex-pats or non-religious Indonesian people, the populace still finds a way to play online poker. This is because the operators have found ways to circumvent the legal structure as it doesn’t explicitly outlaw online poker. While exact numbers for Indonesian bettors are never going to be easily obtained, it’s rumored that around 4000 sites operate in Indonesia so there are numerous options to play poker for real money online in Indonesia despite the restrictions.

While global brands like GGPoker, 888Poker, and others operate here – some others benefit from a local stance of their offering and information output. Shen Poker is seen as an Asian-friendly facing option as it is built with the South East Asian market specifically in mind.

3. Brazil

The colossal landmass and population count are more commonly associated with football (sometimes known as soccer) however given the aforementioned enormity of the country even ‘minority sports’ are massive in Brazil. However, Poker is far from a minority interest here. Unlike entries one and two in this list, Brazil’s government enjoys a liberal stance on the pastime as poker is considered to be a game of skill. However other casino games are outlawed as the judicial system does not permit gambling via games of pure luck.

While GGPoker enjoys a healthy position in the market, it’s PokerStars that sits at the apex for popularity. Probably in part because of their close working relationship with Neymar Jr, the soccer heartthrob from Sao Paulo.

4. Canada

Canada has its own gambling traditions dating back well into the annals of history. Seriously, a quick Google search of ‘Canada Gambling Popularity’ will provide you with multiple history lessons. In 2023, it’s estimated that 66% of the adult population have tried gambling of some form in 2022 alone.

Come to the start of the year, the total Canadian gambling market was worth around $12.5 in revenue. Making for a rife market of budding gamblers. While the city-slickers of downtown Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver might enjoy a hand or two while waiting for the bus – one has to remember that Canada also has some very remote areas with decent population numbers. In towns where there is little to do, online poker brings some variety and excitement to their lives even if it’s just a casual game or two.

The Canadian market enjoys a few different sites with Tiger Gaming Poker one of the busiest sites for online traffic. BetOnline, GGPoker, and PokerStars – the usual suspects are not far behind and enjoy a healthy status in the country.

5. Malaysia

As another Muslim-majority country (around 63% of the population), Malaysia and its government have a turbulent relationship with all forms of gambling. However, seeing the potential income from the industry officials applied separate laws to technically allow gambling while preserving the pillars of their primary belief system. In short, if you belong to the Islamic faith you’re not allowed to participate but everyone else in the country, tourist or not Muslim is allowed to gamble freely.

Online poker offers an opportunity to gamble to anyone who wants to within Malaysia, as the operators are seldom going to ask for their faith upon sign-up. It is however still a grey area, as some sources say that online gambling is still prohibited however the local law enforcement typically has more pressing issues than to arrest these people. One caveat of this is that Malaysian-based banks are not allowed to process gambling-based payments, meaning that Malaysian bettors turn to foreign banks or crypto wallets.

Attitudes are changing as a sample size of Malaysian adolescents/young adults showed that 30% of the emerging population either participated in gambling or had the inclination to do so.