Simon's Online Gambling Blog

Simon’s Guide to Online Gambling Legal Status and Laws

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Have you ever wondered whether online gambling is legal in your country? Or do you know how offshore casinos operate? Have you ever wondered, why you can play in one online casino but not on another? Is cross-border online gambling even legal? Which online casinos I can play in legally?

If you ever wanted to know the answers to any of those questions you are at the right place!

 

Online gambling legality

Despite the vast size and continuous growth of the online gambling market, the legal status of online gambling in most countries is not as clear as one would expect.
Many countries choose to boost their tourism and economy and try to benefit from the growth of the online gambling and in others it is not only illegal for hundreds of years, but it is also considered a sin.

In this list I personally analyzed:

+ The legal status of Bitcoin gambling, in every country in the world (194 countries + 29 territories + all the US states).

The only purpose of this list – which took a year to make and it is updated constantly – is to help answer one, single question:
In which countries can a player legally play casino games, play bingo, place bets on sports, play poker, purchase lottery tickets online? (+ Bitcoin gambling) And which gambling websites accept players from which country.

 

Online gambling legal complexity

Many online players often worry about the legal status of online gambling in their country. To be more precise, we often worry whether we can get into any trouble for playing online or not.

Truth is, except for 8 countries in the world (Cyprus, Poland, North Korea, United Arab Emirates, Singapore, Brunei, Cambodia), players gambling online have little to to worry about. But in these countries online gambling is illegal and players who place bets online can be prosecuted (typically a small fine, but in some of them even incarceration is possible, see the table below).

As a thumb rule, governments mostly penalize illegally operating gambling firms and rogue online gambling websites and not the players.

 

So is online gambling legal in my country? And which forms? Where can I play?

It is definitely not prosecuted if you are a playing online in the privacy of your own home (except for Cyprus, Poland, North Korea, United Arab Emirates, Singapore, Brunei, Cambodia).

However, online casinos all have different gambling licenses, which allow them to accept players from different countries. To find online gambling websites (casinos, bingo, poker, sportsbooks, lotteries, Bitcoin casinos) just find your country in the table click on the flag ,or the name of your country, and you will be taken to the country’s webpage. On that webpage you will find detailed information about the legal status of all forms of gambling and online gambling websites which accept players from that country.

 

UPDATE: Use our new interactive map for easier search and to find online gambling websites, which accept players from your country faster. Just simply click on any of countries on the map.

 

 

Explanation:

BLUE – Online gambling is either legal or not regulated, players can freely play online (for a list of websites, where you can play online click on the flag of your country or its name in the table below)

YELLOW – Players, who place bets online are not actively prosecuted, but the legal environment is very hostile towards online gambling, we do not recommend playing from these locations (a few online casinos still accept people from these locations, click on the flag of the country or its name in the table below to see these websites)

RED – Online gambling is illegal and players are prosecuted, we definitely do not recommend playing online from these countries

 

This list took more than a year to put together. Please, if you found it useful give it a “+1”. Much appreciated.

Thank you!

 

Legal status of online gambling in Europe and Russia

 

Click on the flag or the name of the country for more information and a list of online gambling websites, which accept players from that country.

Country Online casino gambling Online Bingo Online Poker Online sports betting Online lottery Bitcoin gambling

Albania
legal, requires licence legal, requires licence legal, requires licence legal, requires licence legal, requires licence not regulated


Andorra

not regulated not regulated not regulated not regulated not regulated not regulated

Austria
legal, requires licence legal, requires licence legal, requires licence legal, requires licence legal, requires licence not regulated

Belarus
illegal illegal illegal illegal illegal not regulated

Belgium
legal, requires licence legal, requires licence legal, requires licence legal, requires licence legal, requires licence legal, requires licence
Bosnia and Herzegovina legal legal legal legal legal legal

Bulgaria
legal, requires licence legal, requires licence legal, requires licence legal, requires licence legal, requires licence legal, requires licence

Channel Islands
legal, requires licence legal, requires licence legal, requires licence legal, requires licence legal, requires licence legal, requires licence

Croatia
legal, requires licence legal, requires licence legal, requires licence legal, requires licence legal legal

Cyprus
illegal, players are prosecuted illegal, players are prosecuted illegal, players are prosecuted legal, requires licence illegal, players are prosecuted illegal, players are prosecuted

Czech Republic
illegal, players are not prosecuted illegal, players are not prosecuted illegal, players are not prosecuted legal, requires licence legal, requires licence illegal, players are not prosecuted

Denmark
legal, requires licence legal legal, requires licence legal, requires licence legal legal, requires licence

Estonia
legal, requires licence legal, requires licence legal, requires licence legal, requires licence legal illegal

Faroe Islands
not regulated not regulated not regulated not regulated not regulated not regulated

Finland
legal legal legal legal legal legal

France
illegal, players are not prosecuted legal legal, requires licence legal, requires licence legal illegal, players are not prosecuted

Georgia
legal, requires licence legal, requires licence legal, requires licence legal, requires licence legal, requires licence legal, requires licence

Germany
legal legal legal legal, requires licence legal, requires licence legal

Gibraltar
legal, requires licence legal, requires licence legal, requires licence legal, requires licence legal, requires licence legal, requires licence

Greece
legal legal legal legal legal legal

Hungary
legal, requires licence legal legal, requires licence legal legal legal, requires licence

Iceland
illegal, players are not prosecuted legal, requires licence illegal, players are not prosecuted legal, requires licence legal, requires licence illegal

Ireland
legal, requires licence legal, requires licence legal, requires licence legal, requires licence legal, requires licence legal, requires licence

Isle of Man
legal, requires licence legal, requires licence legal, requires licence legal, requires licence legal, requires licence legal, requires licence

Italy
legal, requires licence legal, requires licence legal, requires licence legal, requires licence legal, requires licence legal, requires licence

Kosovo
not regulated not regulated not regulated not regulated not regulated not regulated

Latvia
legal, requires licence legal, requires licence legal, requires licence legal, requires licence legal, requires licence legal, requires licence

Liechtenstein
not regulated not regulated not regulated not regulated not regulated not regulated
Lithuania legal, requires licence legal, requires licence legal, requires licence legal, requires licence legal, requires licence illegal, players are not prosecuted

Luxembourg
illegal, players are not prosecuted illegal, players are not prosecuted illegal, players are not prosecuted legal, requires licence legal, requires licence illegal, players are not prosecuted

Macedonia
not regulated not regulated not regulated not regulated not regulated not regulated

Malta
legal, requires licence legal, requires licence legal, requires licence legal, requires licence legal, requires licence illegal, players are not prosecuted

Moldova
not regulated not regulated not regulated not regulated not regulated not regulated

Monaco
not regulated not regulated not regulated not regulated not regulated not regulated

Montenegro
legal, requires licence legal, requires licence legal, requires licence legal, requires licence legal, requires licence not regulated

Netherlands
legal legal legal legal legal not regulated

Norway
legal legal legal legal legal illegal, players are not prosecuted

Poland
illegal, players are prosecuted illegal, players are prosecuted illegal, players are prosecuted legal, requires licence illegal, players are prosecuted not regulated

Portugal
legal, requires licence legal, requires licence legal, requires licence legal, requires licence legal not regulated

Romania
legal, requires licence legal, requires licence legal, requires licence legal, requires licence legal not regulated

Russia
illegal, players are not prosecuted legal illegal, players are not prosecuted legal, requires licence legal illegal, players are not prosecuted

San Marino
legal, requires licence legal, requires licence legal, requires licence legal, requires licence legal, requires licence not regulated

Serbia
legal, requires licence legal legal, requires licence legal, requires licence legal not regulated

Slovakia
legal legal legal legal, requires licence legal not regulated

Slovenia
not regulated not regulated not regulated not regulated legal not regulated

Spain
legal, requires licence legal, requires licence legal, requires licence legal, requires licence legal, requires licence legal, requires licence

Sweden
legal, requires licence legal, requires licence legal, requires licence legal, requires licence legal not regulated

Switzerland
illegal, players are not prosecuted illegal, players are not prosecuted illegal, players are not prosecuted illegal, players are not prosecuted illegal, players are not prosecuted illegal, players are not prosecuted

Turkey
illegal illegal illegal legal legal illegal

Ukraine
illegal, players are not prosecuted illegal, players are not prosecuted illegal, players are not prosecuted illegal, players are not prosecuted legal illegal, players are not prosecuted

United Kingdom
legal, requires licence legal, requires licence legal, requires licence legal, requires licence legal, requires licence legal, requires licence

 

Legal status of online gambling in North America

Click on the flag or the name of the country for more information and a list of online gambling websites, which accept players from that country.

 

Country Online casino gambling Online Bingo Online Poker Online sports betting Online lottery Bitcoin gambling

Bahamas

illegal, players are not prosecuted illegal, players are not prosecuted illegal, players are not prosecuted illegal, players are not prosecuted illegal, players are not prosecuted illegal, players are not prosecuted

Bermuda

legal, requires licence legal, requires licence legal, requires licence legal, requires licence legal, requires licence legal, requires licence

Canada

legal, requires licence legal, requires licence legal, requires licence legal, requires licence legal, requires licence legal, requires licence

Cuba

illegal illegal illegal illegal illegal illegal

Greenland

not regulated not regulated not regulated not regulated not regulated not regulated

Mexico

legal, requires licence legal, requires licence legal, requires licence legal, requires licence legal, requires licence illegal

Puerto Rico

illegal, players are not prosecuted illegal, players are not prosecuted illegal, players are not prosecuted illegal, players are not prosecuted legal illegal, players are not prosecuted

Turks and Caicos

not regulated not regulated not regulated not regulated not regulated not regulated

United States

the domestic online gambling situation is complicated and depends on which state you are located (click on the flag for information on all states and a list of gambling websites, which accept players from your state), foreign online gambling websites might be blocked but players are not prosecuted

US Virgin Islands

legal, requires licence legal, requires licence legal, requires licence illegal, players are not prosecuted legal, requires licence legal, requires licence

 

———–UPDATE: The websites of the countries below are completed, to access them click on the name of the country or on the flag. You will find information about the legal status of gambling in that particular country and websites, which accept players from that country. These countries are not yet added to this table and the interactive map. I’m adding them as fast as I can. ———–

 

Legal status of online gambling in Central America

Click on the flag or the name of the country for more information and a list of online gambling websites, which accept players from that country.

Country Online casino gambling Online Bingo Online Poker Online sports betting Online lottery Bitcoin gambling

Antigua and Barbuda

Aruba

Barbados

Belize

Cayman Islands

Costa Rica

Curacao

Dominica

Dominican Republic

El Salvador

Grenada

Guadeloupe

Guatemala

Haiti

Honduras

Jamaica

Martinique

Nicaragua

Panama

Saint Barthelemy

Saint Kitts and Nevis

Saint Lucia

Saint Martin

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

Trinidad and Tobago

 

Legal status of online gambling in South America

Click on the flag or the name of the country for more information and a list of online gambling websites, which accept players from that country.

 

Country Online casino gambling Online Bingo Online Poker Online sports betting Online lottery Bitcoin gambling
 

Argentina

Bolivia

Brazil

Chile

Colombia

Ecuador

Falkland Islands

French Guiana

Guyana

Paraguay

Peru

Suriname

Uruguay

Venezuela

 

Legal status of online gambling in Asia

Click on the flag or the name of the country for more information and a list of online gambling websites, which accept players from that country.

Country Online casino gambling Online Bingo Online Poker Online sports betting Online lottery Bitcoin gambling

Bangladesh

Bhutan

Brunei

Cambodia

China

Hong Kong

India

Indonesia

Japan

Laos

Macau

Malaysia

Maldives

Mongolia

Myanmar

Nepal

North Korea

Papua New Guinea

Philippines

Singapore

South Korea

Sri Lanka

Taiwan

Thailand

Timor-Leste

Vietnam

 

 

Legal status of online gambling in the Middle East

Click on the flag or the name of the country for more information and a list of online gambling websites, which accept players from that country.

Country Online casino gambling Online Bingo Online Poker Online sports betting Online lottery Bitcoin gambling

Afghanistan

Armenia

Azerbaijan

Bahrain

Iran

Iraq

Jordan

Kazakhstan

Kuwait

Kyrgyzstan

Lebanon

Oman

Pakistan

Qatar

Saudi Arabia

Syria

Tajikistan

Turkmenistan

United Arab Emirates

Uzbekistan

Yemen

 

Legal status of online gambling in Africa

Click on the flag or the name of the country for more information and a list of online gambling websites, which accept players from that country.

Country Online casino gambling Online Bingo Online Poker Online sports betting Online lottery Bitcoin gambling

Algeria

Angola

Benin

Botswana

Burkina Faso

Burundi

Cameroon

Cape Verde

Central African Republic

Chad

Comoros

Djibouti

Democratic Republic of the Congo

Egypt

Equatorial Guinea

Eritrea

Ethiopia

Gabon

Gambia

Ghana

Guinea

Guinea-Bissau

Israel

Ivory Coast

Kenya

Lesotho

Liberia

Libya

Madagascar

Malawi

Mali

Mauritania

Mauritius

Mayotte

Morocco

Mozambique

Namibia

Niger

Nigeria

Reunion Island

Rwanda

Sao Tome and Principe

Senegal

Seychelles

Sierra Leone

Somalia

South Africa

South Sudan

Sudan

Swaziland

Tanzania

Togo

Tunisia

Uganda

Western Sahara

Zambia

Zimbabwe

 

Legal status of online gambling in Oceania

Click on the flag or the name of the country for more information and a list of online gambling websites, which accept players from that country.

Country Online casino gambling Online Bingo Online Poker Online sports betting Online lottery Bitcoin gambling

American Samoa

Cook Islands

Fiji

French Polynesia

Guam

Kiribati

Micronesia

Nauru

New Caledonia

Northern Mariana Islands

Palau

Samoa

Solomon Islands

Tonga

Tuvalu

Vanuatu

Wallis and Futuna

 

Legal status of online gambling in Australia and New Zealand

Click on the flag or the name of the country for more information and a list of online gambling websites, which accept players from that country.

Country Online casino gambling Online Bingo Online Poker Online sports betting Online lottery Bitcoin gambling

Australia

New Zealand

 


 

Explanation of the different online gambling legal statuses:

 

Other:

The online lottery column includes other lottery type games, such as keno, scratch cards and raffles.

 

 

In general:

 


 

Offshore online gambling legal issues

There are two big problems (or loopholes, depending on your perspective) of international; global online gambling.

1., Countries only have jurisdictions within their own territories. Example: let’s say you play online in Hungary and place bets on a foreign online bookmaker.

If you are an average Hungarian citizen you probably do not know that it is in fact illegal*.

/*In Hungary all forms of online gambling are the monopoly of the state-run company Szerencsejáték Zrt. and placing bets on foreign online gambling websites is an offence punishable with a fine./

It’s illegal, but you could win € 100 K online and still nothing would happen. No single citizen has ever been prosecuted for online gambling in Hungary. There are numerous problems with prosecuting someone for gambling online in Hungary. Some of the issues:

  • State surveillance of your online activity violates EU privacy rights (Hungary is a member of the EU), and without proof of your online gambling the state can not prosecute you.
  • Restricting access to foreign online gambling operators violate the EU’s directive of online gambling market liberalization and harmonization. (For more info, go to the page

And many many more issues.

The big issue is that online casinos are registered in one country only. This country grants the online casino its gambling license. This lets the online casino accept players from many countries in the world. However, some of those countries try to protect their domestic online gambling market (often a state run monopoly) by requiring online casinos to also get a local gambling license and pay taxes locally as well.
In this case, which country’s laws should be enforced? What authority should enforce these laws (both countries have jurisdictions within their borders only!)? The answer to this is different for every single country (and super-national entities like the EU).

 

2., Going after private online players cost more money for the states than it brings in.

Let’s not forget few very important things. States always ban online gambling either for:

  • protectionism, protecting state monopoly (e.g.: online lottery in most countries)
  • economic reasons (poor countries trying to avoid trade deficits)
  • religious (Islamic countries)
  • or political reason (Gambia’s recent total ban on all forms of gambling)

As you can see, except for the last two reasons, it’s always about the state wanting to make money or avoid losing more money. Therefore they attack, ban & block big gaming brands. But going after the players is costly and time consuming (the state would have to sue each of these individuals and the fines are usually very small). And it is also legally problematic (see above).

Therefore, only a handful of countries actively prosecute players, you can find these marked red on the interactive map on the top of the page.

 

 

If you have any questions or you have something to add, just leave a comment below.

Last updated: 2016-07-11

 

Summary
Article Name
Simon's Guide to Online Gambling Laws Around the World
Description
Find info on the legal status of gambling and various forms of online gambling in all the 164 countries in the world, and online gambling websites, which accept players from these countries.
Author
Simon's Online Marketing Kft.