Guide to the Legal Status of Online Casinos in the World (on the picture: Europe’s biggest casino, Cyprus City of Dreams Mediterranean)
On this page I have collected all the casino guides I have written over the years, which is quite lot, 196 to be precise (one for each of the 196 countries of the world).
Click on your country on the interactive casino map below to access the guide specific to that country.
These casino guides deal with both the brick & mortar venues, and online casino sites in any given country. In addition, each one contains info about taxation, licensing, gambling age, dress code, entrance fee, and a lot more.
UPDATE 2022: Videos are also included, each casino has a video showcasing it, if one is available, and a “meta review analysis” (a summary of all the reviews found online about a specific casino).
Interactive Casino Map
Interactive Online Casino Map
Online casinos in Afghanistan: illegal, but this is not enforced when it comes to foreign online gambling platforms, players who play on foreign gambling sites are not prosecuted, regardless, it's technically illegal
Online casinos in Azerbaijan: illegal, but this is not enforced when it comes to foreign online gambling platforms, players who play on foreign gambling sites are not prosecuted, regardless, it's technically illegal
Online casinos in Bahrain: illegal, but it is not enforced when it comes to foreign online gambling platforms, players who play on foreign gambling sites are not prosecuted, but it is technically illegal
Online gambling in Bolivia: technically illegal, but it's not really enforced, players who visit foreign online gambling websites are not targeted, only domestic companies and large scale operations are targeted
Land-based gambling in mainland China: in general some forms are legal in most provinces, depends on the province or special economic/administrative zone
Online gambling in mainland China: illegal, there is a strong internet censorship in China, players are sometimes prosecuted, do not play online from mainland China, online gambling is only legal in some of the special economic/administrative zones and provinces of China:
Online gambling in Cuba: illegal, it is not known whether players are prosecuted or not, but due to the centralized, and strictly controlled nature of the internet in the country it's best to avoid it (tourists can play online freely)
no permanent population, see Asutralia, Australian gamblign laws apply
Games of chance are interestingly fully unregulated in the theocratic microstate, their legal status is unknown, visitors and tourists can play online freely while visiting the Vatican, there are no land-based gambling establishments whatsoever
Land-based gambling in Honduras: legal
Online gambling in Honduras: not regulated, you can play freely online
Online casinos in Iran: illegal, but this is not enforced when it comes to foreign online gambling platforms, players who play on foreign gambling sites are not prosecuted, regardless, it's technically illegal
Online casinos in Iraq: illegal, but this is not enforced when it comes to foreign online gambling platforms, players who play on foreign gambling sites are not prosecuted, regardless, it's technically illegal
Online casinos in Israel: illegal, but this is not enforced when it comes to foreign online gambling platforms, players who play on foreign gambling sites are not prosecuted, regardless, it's technically illegal
Online casinos in Jordan: illegal, but this is not enforced when it comes to foreign online gambling platforms, players who play on foreign gambling sites are not prosecuted, regardless, it's technically illegal
Online casinos in Kazakhstan: illegal, but this is not enforced when it comes to foreign online gambling platforms, players who play on foreign gambling sites are not prosecuted, regardless, it's technically illegal
Online gambling in Kuwait: illegal, but this is not enforced when it comes to foreign online gambling platforms, players who play on foreign gambling sites are not prosecuted, regardless, it's technically illegal
Online casinos in Kyrgyzstan: illegal, but this is not enforced when it comes to foreign online gambling platforms, players who play on foreign gambling sites are not prosecuted, regardless, it's technically illegal
Land-based gambling in Laos: legal within the special economic zones
Online gambling in Laos: illegal, it is not known whether ordinary players placing bets online are prosecuted or not, it's best avoided (tourists can play online freely), domestic operators and companies are targeted
Online gambling in Maldives: illegal, the island nation doesn't monitor the online gambling activity of its citizens and therefore people who play online in foreign online casinos are not targeted (only companies and large scale domestic operations are prosecuted)
BLUE – Online casino are legal in that country and you can freely play online.
/Comment: Whether these are state owned, private online casinos, or a mixture, it doesn’t matter. If any sort of digital casino platform is available to the players, then it is marked blue on the map.
Additionally, in a few countries online casino are not yet officially regulated, but it is de facto* legal, these are also marked blue.
It’s also possible (quite common actually) that the government’s of these countries officially say that online casinos are not actually legal, but this only extends to local companies. And playing in foreign online casinos, outside of the jurisdiction* of the country is either not regulated ,legal or de facto legal, and it is not prosecuted, fined, restricted at all. These are also marked blue./
YELLOW – Online casino are either severely restricted and/or officially illegal, and it is not know whether this is enforced online or not. In this case, the country is coloured yellow. Play at your own risk.
RED – The colour red means that all forms of online casino gambling are illegal, and players do get punished, fined, prosecuted for playing online. Do not play in any of these countries at all. Luckily, there are only a few.
*De facto definition: De facto means in reality, as is. In many countries online gambling is not regulated (you can check the other interactive map for the details) or it is illegal, but players can play freely online, and the state doesn’t restrict this. In that case online gambling is de facto legal. These are marked blue.
**Jurisdiction definition: Jurisdiction means that the laws, legislation of a country only extends up to the border of that country (and its territories, unless special agreements were signed, e.:g NAFTA, EU), and they only apply to the citizens of said country (unless otherwise specified).
Therefore, online casinos always have to abide by the laws of the country they are registered, licensed in, and by the extremely complex and complicated international laws (which are rarely enforced tbh.).
UPDATE: For technical reasons, I could only insert one interactive map on the site. Therefore, the land-based casinos do not have a similar map (but they do have info about their legal status, situation in the list below, or if you click on any of the countries on the map).
I apologize for this inconvenience, the page loads very slow as it is.
List of land-based and online casinos in the world, in all 196 countries
Professionals active in the gambling industry distinguish between three universally accepted types of casino gambling establishments: slot halls, electronic casinos and casinos. Here are the differences:
Slot hall definition: These types of venues only contain gaming machines, and they are usually smaller than casinos.
Electronic casino definition: They only contain gambling machines + electronic tables without live dealers and croupiers, usually bigger than a slot hall, but smaller than a casino. Thse are not mentioned on this page or on the map, this guide focuses only on casinos.
Casino definition: Bigger than slot halls and electronic casinos, often attached to a hotel or a resort complex. They have gaming machines + electronic tables + live dealer tables, roulette wheels with croupiers and card games (banking and non-banking).
Additionally, there are two vastly different types of land-based casinos:
1., European style casinos – Europe invented casinos. It wasn’t invented in Las Vegas, despite the popular misconception.
The word casino means “a building or room used for social amusements” – according to Merriam Webster*.
And the world’s first casino (a gambling house that was specifically named casino) is the casino of Theatre Saint Moses* from 1638.
/Clarification: The building was called Ca’ Vendramin Calergi** (built in 1481), and back then, the complex was known as Theatre Saint Moses***, and only the gambling section of this place was called a casino, where rich guests of the theatre went to socialize, drink and gamble after the plays, hence the definition “a building or room used for social amusements”.
Nowadays, since 1959, it is home to Casinò di Venezia. But at that time it wasn’t. They call themselves the oldest casino, but it’s not true, it’s just a marketing gimmick, it’s a lie./
These European casinos (the best example is probably the Casino Wiesbaden, a quintessential European casino, still in operation since 1771) were private, invitation only places for the rich, nobility and the famous & powerful, the so called ‘movers and shakers’ of the day.
It was their private club, where they discussed the fates of nations, and entire industries behind closed doors in carpeted rooms, sipping expensive drinks.
/Comment: It was more like Davos or the Bildenberg Hotel, where the 1% regularly meets nowadays, rather than the casinos of today./
And casino games where just a side attraction, not the main focus.
This is why, even to this day, almost all of the bigger European casinos are these posh places with dress codes (often semi-formal, not just smart causal), entrance fees (to make sure the poor doesn’t attend, but you can’t say this out nowadays, because it is not politically correct…).
And that is also why, that even to this day, European style casinos have significantly fewer and worse games than huge American style casino-plexes (see below).
And there are actual private clubs too, invitation only, e,g: Johnny Depp’s private club in Paris, the Paris Elysées Club (video below). Which is only open to the wealthy members (although, acquiring membership is easy).
It is the perfect example of a modern re-interpretation of what it means to be a European casino (it took an American to create the perfect European casino… :D ).
If you are interested, you can take a look at Johnny Depp’s Casino Club in Paris, by watching the video below (it’s for rich people only, and it is priced accordingly, and looks the part):
2., American style casinos – Europe might have invented casinos, but the US consumerism (and the world of organized crime…) created the casinos as we know them today. And Las Vegas did invent this one.
“Everything’s bigger in America” is the perfect way to describe the American casinos. Huge, sprawling, megaplex, outside of cites, only accessible by car, no dress code, no entrance fee, just come and bring your credit card, free parking. The more the merrier.
For a long time, the biggest casinos were in the USA. Huge, towering monstrosities, with fake European landmarks (e,g: ) or entire mock towns with multiple casinos (e.g: ).
Maybe throw in some monster derby*, and rodeo riding contest** as well, two golden arches, US flags everywhere, all wiretapped to please the NSA***, and you got your perfect Yankee casino.
UPDATE 2021: But nowadays, most of the biggest casinos are in China, which copied the US style of casinos 100%, but made them bigger and better (to directly compete with US casino destinations for international travellers, for political reasons, and for rich people, the private jet, private yacht type), and added even more surveillance and corruption…****, if that’s even possible…
The biggest casino in the world is still in the USA, it’s WinStar World Casino. But among the TOP 100 biggest casinos in the world, there are more and more Asian casinos, and all the big development takes place in Asia nowadays. Macau is the New Las Vegas.
Not entirely a third kind, restricted to Japan and nearby countries only, but it’s definitely unique and different from the two above. And it is definitely a sight to see.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but when it comes to pachinko parlours, a video is worth a million.
Therefore, it’s best to show how a pachinko casino looks like, WARNING, LOUD:
A cacophony of sound and light. The tile of the video is not entirely a clickbait.
Pachinko parlours are loud, people smoke inside (UPDATE, not anymore, since 2020 pachinko parlours are non-smoking*), flashing lights are everywhere, it’s gaudy, and these venues have well known ties to Japanese organized crime, the Yakuza.
Personally, not a fan of these pachinko parlours myself, I certainly wouldn’t support the Japanese organized crime networks with my money. And every time you play in one, you do just that.
But the machines themselves do look fun, would love to try them out in a regular casino. Looks more fun than your average boring ol’ slot.
Sadly, the unchallenged dominance of pachinko parlours is over, now that casinos are being legalized in Japan**.
And Chinese investors are lining up already. They represent the American style, with slots and the usual casino megaplexes.
Hopefully they adapt to the local style instead of pushing the American style. But I doubt it, Chinese are known to disrespect and ignore local customs, traditions on purpose, and they “culturally colonize” areas where they are active.
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Simon's Land-based and Online Casino Guide
Info about the legal status of brick & mortar casinos and online casino sites in all the 194 countries in the world with interactive map.