Simon’s Guide to Gambling in Bhutan

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On the picture you can see a classic example of Dzong architecture in Paro Valley, Bhutan.

Dzong architecture in Paro Valley, Bhutan

 

Bhutan – officially the Kingdom of Bhutan is a country situated in South-West Asia. Formerly an absolute monarchy, Bhutan held its first elections in 2008 as it was changed to constitutional monarchy. This change has not, as of yet, been reflected in the country’s strict laws regarding gambling.

In accordance with the 393 statute of the Penal Code of Bhutan, all forms of gambling are illegal in the country. The only exception to the collective ban on games of chance is that an authorized lottery is not considered gambling. To be precise, the law bans “stakes or wagers […] upon the outcome of a contest of chance or a future contingent event”.*

It could be argued that games of skill such as Poker are not expressly banned by this law. However, the punishment for gambling – which is considered a petty misdemeanor – is jail time amounting to 1-12 months, it is likely not worth the risk.

Gambling laws are said to be rather strictly enforced, although whether this applies to online gambling is not known. About 25% of the Bhutanese population has access to the internet, and while the government tends to block certain websites, this does not seem to extend to foreign online gambling sites. The cost of finding and prosecuting individual players gambling online is likely too high to be worth it, but a great risk is still involved.

 

*Source: Penal Code of Bhutan

 

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Summary:

 

 

Casino gambling in Bhutan

 

Online casino gambling in Bhutan: illegal, not know whether players are prosecuted

 

Casino gambling is illegal in Bhutan as per the 393 statute of the Bhutan Penal code. It is, as all gambling, punishable by jail time of one month to a year. Consequently, there are no casinos in Bhutan.

Online casino gambling also falls under the law banning gambling, and is illegal. As a result, there are no online casino sites based in Bhutan. Foreign online casino sites may be accessible from the country, but players should beware that the prohibition on gambling, and thus the possible punishment, still applies.

 

 

Bingo in Bhutan

 

Online Bingo in Bhutan:  illegal, not know whether players are prosecuted

 

Bingo – if money is involved – is considered gambling, and is illegal in Bhutan as per the 393 statute of the Bhutan Penal code. It is, as all gambling, punishable by jail time of one month to a year. Consequently, there are no Bingo halls in Bhutan. Bingo is also largely unknown in the area, so even if it were legal, there are not many prospective players.

Online Bingo also falls under the law banning gambling, and is illegal. As a result, there are no online Bingo sites based in Bhutan. Foreign online Bingo sites may be accessible from the country, but players should beware that the prohibition on gambling, and thus the possible punishment, still applies.

 

 

Poker in Bhutan

 

Online Poker in Bhutan: illegal

 

Gambling is illegal in Bhutan as per the 393 statute of the Bhutan Penal code. It is unclear whether poker would be considered a games of chance and thus gambling, as no such case is reported to have been brought to court. Still, with the punishment of 1-12 months of jail time, few would risk it.

Online Poker likely also falls under the law banning gambling, and is illegal. As a result, there are no online Poker sites based in Bhutan. Foreign online Poker sites may be accessible from the country, but players should beware that the prohibition on gambling, and thus the possible punishment, still applies.

 

 

Sports betting in Bhutan

 

Online sports betting in Bhutan: illegal

 

Sports betting is illegal in Bhutan as per the 393 statute of the Bhutan Penal code. It is, as all gambling and wagering, punishable by jail time of one month to a year. Consequently, there are no legal sportsbooks in Bhutan.

Online sports betting also falls under the law banning gambling, and is illegal. As a result, there are no online sports betting sites based in Bhutan. Foreign online sports betting sites may be accessible from the country, but players should beware that the prohibition on gambling, and thus the possible punishment, still applies.

 

 

Lottery in Bhutan

 

Online lottery in Bhutan: illegal

 

The only exception from the complete ban on all forms of gambling as decreed by statute 393 of the Penal Code of Bhutan are authorised lotteries. Bhutan does have a state-run lottery, called the Royal Bhutan Lotteries. The lottery offers no online lottery games.

Without an online version of the state-run lottery, online lotteries can be considered illegal, as only authorised lotteries are exempt from the gambling law. Participating in all other forms of lotteries is punishable by jail time of up to a year. This is technically the case for international online lotteries as well, but there are no reports of Bhutanese people actually prosecuted for participating in foreign online lottery draws.

 

 

Bitcoin gambling in Bhutan

 

Bitcoin gambling in Bhutan: illegal

 

Bitcoin gambling is, as all other forms of gambling, illegal in Bhutan, and punishable by jail time. Due to the anonymous nature of Bitcoin gambling and the lack of resources on the part of the Bhutanese government, individual players are not likely to be prosecuted, but it’s still a huge risk to take.

Bitcoin is also practically unknown in the country, with no reported cases of any business accepting Bitcoin within Bhutan.

 

 

Online gambling websites accepting players from Bhutan

The following websites are accepting players from Bhutan.

 

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BGO casino – accepting players from Bhutan

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BGO online bookmaker accepting players from Bhutan

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32 Red casino accepting players from Bhutan

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32 Red online bookmaker, sports betting website accepting players from Bhutan

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Black Lotus casino accepting players from Bhutan

 

 

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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. 10. 15

Summary
Simon's Guide to Gambling in Bhutan
Article Name
Simon's Guide to Gambling in Bhutan
Description
An overview of the gambling status in Bhutan, including the possible punishment for gambling.
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