Simon’s Guide to Gambling and Casinos in El Salvador

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Siesta Hotel & Casino, El Salvador

 

The legal status of gambling and casinos in El Salvador is quite controversial, and has been for many years. The first law regulating gambling in this Central American country was created back in 1882. This law imposed a ban on all forms of gambling.*

This law was reinforced in 2002, and all gambling houses were ordered to shut down. That there was even need for such a law makes it obvious that the ban on gambling was blatantly disregarded. Gambling is a popular pastime in El Salvador, and locals aren’t wont to give up their entertainment because of some pesky laws.

As a result of the Salvadorans’ display of public disobedience, casinos are currently tolerated. In accordance with the 2002 gambling regulation, they are only allowed to offer lottery products. However, table games and slot machines are also freely available.

Another source of confusion regarding gambling laws in El Salvador is the 1983 Municipal Code. This law gave municipalities to decide on such matters on their own authority. Many still claim that there are no laws explicitly directing them to order the closure of casinos. The Salvadoran government seems to have practically given up on trying to enforce a ban on gambling.**

Online gambling on the other hand has never been regulated in the country. While the government does not issue licences to online gambling operators, there are also no laws against this form of entertainment. As a result, locals are free to play on international online gambling sites.

 

*Source: Gambling in America: An Encyclopedia of History, Issues, and Society

**Source (Spanish): Las salas de juegos de azar de El Salvador continúan sin definir su situación (yogonet)

 

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Summary:

 

 

Casino gambling in El Salvador

 

Online casino gambling in El Salvador: unregulated

 

The legal status of casino gambling in El Salvador is controversial. Most forms of gambling were prohibited in 1882 and the ban was reinforced in 2002. The new gambling law actually allowed the operation of casinos, but they were only to provide lottery games.

Regardless, there are currently several gambling establishments operating in El Salvador, many of them offering slot machines as well. There are two noteworthy casinos in the country with table games as well, the Monte Carlo Casino in Santa Ana and the Siesta in the capital, San Salvador.

Online casino gambling is not regulated in El Salvador. There are no locally-based online casino operators, but locals are free to play on foreign online casino sites, many of which are also available in Spanish.

 

 

Bingo in El Salvador

 

Online Bingo in El Salvador: unregulated

 

The regulation of bingo games in El Salvador is just as confusing as that of other forms of gambling. Bingo was not specifically outlawed by the 2002 gambling law, but may still be illegal under the 1882 ban. Whatever the case, the licences of several bingo halls were not renewed around the time of the approval of the new gambling law.

Since then, though, several new bingo halls have opened all around the country. The general consensus seems to be that mayors have the authority to give bingo halls permits in their own jurisdiction.

Online bingo is wholly unregulated in El Salvador. There are no licensed online bingo operators in the country, but there are also no laws against online gambling. As a result, locals are free to play on international online bingo sites.

 

 

Poker in El Salvador

 

Online Poker in El Salvador: unregulated

 

As it is not specifically regulated in El Salvador, poker most likely falls into the category of gambling, despite the fact that poker is often considered a game of chance, not a game of luck. This means that the legal status of poker is as confusing as that of other forms of gambling. There is at least one casino, the Monte Carlo where live poker games are available.

Online poker is not regulated in El Salvador. There are no licensed online poker operators in the country, but there are also no laws against online gambling. As a result, locals are free to play on international online poker sites.

 

 

Sports betting in El Salvador

 

Online sports betting in El Salvador: unregulated

 

Sports betting is generally considered illegal in El Salvador. Currently neither of the two larger casinos offer sports betting, and there are no reports of other legal – or at least semi-legal – wagering options in the country either.

However, online sports betting is not regulated in El Salvador. While there are no licensed online sports betting operators in the country, there are also no laws against online gambling. As a result, locals are free to wager on international online sports betting sites.

 

 

Lottery in El Salvador

 

Online lottery in El Salvador: unregulated

 

Lottery is legal and a state monopoly in El Salvador. The national lottery is called Lotería Nacional de Beneficencia de El Salvador. Originally created to help fund a hospital, revenues now go towards various social programs. The lottery offers a single numeric game called Lotra as well as scratch cards.

The Salvadoran national lottery has no online version, which means no legal options for online lottery games in El Salvador. However, locals are free to participate in lottery draws and games on international online lottery sites.

 

 

Bitcoin gambling in El Salvador

 

Bitcoin gambling in El Salvador: unregulated

 

Bitcoin gambling is, as all other forms of online gambling, unregulated in El Salvador. There are no Bitcoin casinos based in El Salvador, but locals are free to gamble on international Bitcoin casinos.

Bitcoin itself is not widely popular in El Salvador. There have been initiatives to promote the use of virtual currencies instead of the US Dollar (which is currently used) to achieve greater independence. However, there are currently no verified Bitcoin exchanges in El Salvador.

 

 

Online gambling websites accepting players from El Salvador

Online gambling is not regulated in El Salvador, which means that international online gambling websites are free to accept players from El Salvador.

The following online casinos and bookmakers accept players from El Salvador.

 

bgo_casino_bonus_banner

BGO casino – accepting players from El Salvador

Euro online casino

Casino Euro – accepting players from El Salvador

32_red_online_casino

32 Red casino accepting players from El Salvador

free_bet_32red_banner

32 Red online bookmaker, sports betting website – accepting players from El Salvador

black_lotus_casino_bonus

Black Lotus casino accepting players from El Salvador

 

 

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This page is part of Simon’s List – Legal Status of Online Gambling – a definitive guide to the legal status of all forms of online gambling activities in every country around the world.

 

Last updated: 2015.11.05.

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Simon's Guide to Gambling and Casinos in El Salvador
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Simon's Guide to Gambling and Casinos in El Salvador
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This gambling guide focuses on gambling, online gambling and casinos in El Salvador.
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