Simon’s Guide to Gambling in East Timor

This is picture of the landscape of Timore Leste. In East Timo (or Timor Leste) land based gambling is illegal, except for the lottery

Gambling in East Timor

East Timor or Timor-Leste, officially the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste is a country in Maritime Southeast Asia. It comprises the eastern half of the island of Timor, the nearby islands of Atauro and Jaco, and Oecusse. The country looks back on a long history of colonial occupation. Shortly after they gained their independence from Portugal in 1975, they were invaded by Indonesia and were declared its 27th province. It was only in 1999, when Indonesia relinquished control over the territory, and shortly after that, in 2002 it became the first state to gain sovereignty in the 20th century.

Gambling is illegal in East Timor. Many experts suggested, that following the example set by Macau, East Timor should exploit the tax revenue potential of gambling by setting up a more liberal and conscious licensing policy, but to date, not much is happening in this area. All types of online gambling – although reliable sources are scarce – appear to be unregulated.

Online gambling, is pretty much non existent on the islands of Timor Leste as in 2014, only an estimated 0.7% of the households in the country had internet access*. The connection is slow, unreliable and costly all over the islands, due to the poor telecommunications infrastructure. There is, however no sign of any internet censoring system on East Timor, so that small percent of the population that has access to the internet is probably not prohibited from gambling over the internet.


*Source: East Timor (Timor Leste) – Telecoms, Mobile and Internet


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Casino gambling in East Timor


Online casino gambling in East Timor: not regulated


Casino gambling is not legal in Timor Leste, moreover, the lavish lifestyle associated with casinos can not really be found on the impoverished islands. There may also be religious reasons for the ban, as most of the population of East Timor is Roman Catholic, due to the Portuguese colonial influence. More traditional forms of gambling, like cockfighting, kuru-kuru and bola guling are prevalent.

Recently, however the government launched a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) project, which is to set up free trade zones across the islands to attract foreign investors. Between the framework of this projects, one of the islands of East Timor Atauro, a former prison centre under Portuguese and Indonesian rule that has a population of 8,000, is to be developed as a tourist and casino gambling centre*.

Online gambling in East Timor is not directly regulated as the extremely low internet penetration rate makes it a marginal matter for the government, to say the least. Therefore those few, who actually have internet access a free to gamble on foreign casino platforms.



*Source: East Timorese government promotes new “free trade zone”



Bingo in East Timor


Online Bingo in East Timor: not regulated


The only type of Bingo played in East Timor that I could find is – quite oddly – a kind of Bingo played after funerals to keep the mourners from falling asleep. Commercial Bingo halls, as we know them do not exist on the Islands.

The main barrier keeping East Timorese players from playing foreign online Bingo platforms is probably the lack of reliable and wide spread broadband connection. Nevertheless, those who wish to partake in such games of foreign providers are not directly prohibited form doing so.




Poker in East Timor


Online Poker in East Timor: not regulated


Land based Poker doesn’t seem to be legal, nor prevalent in East Timor. Although a source suggests, that some of the illegal gambling dens on the islands do have some video Poker machines to offer*.

Online Poker, is not really a thing here, due to the extremely poor telecommunications network. Some major online Poker sites don’t even consider East Timor a legit market, therefore block access from the country, but some don’t and its almost certainly not a problem for players from Timor Leste to play on these.


*Source: Groups, gangs, and armed violence in Timor-Leste



Sports Betting in East Timor


Online sports Betting in East Timor: not regulated


There is literally no trace on the internet of any sports betting activities going on in East Timor, neither online nor offline.

Some of the major foreign sports betting sites don’t even have Timor Leste on their radar, and therefore do not accept players from the country, but it is doubtful, that East Timorese players would have any problems with the authorities for placing bets with the ones which do.




Lottery in East Timor


Online lottery in East Timor: state monopoly, licensed by the state no online platform


In East Timor there is a state lottery operated by the Ministry of Tourism, which does not appear to have an online platform. In 2011 PhilWeb, a gaming company from the Philippines was granted a license to operate mobile games in the country, including raffles. The company also wishes to set up electronic gaming cafes in the country in the future.

Neither the state lottery, nor PhilWeb seems to offer an online lottery platform, obviously due to the small number of households with internet connections.




Bitcoin Gambling in East Timor


Bitcoin Gambling in East Timor: not regulated


Although, Bitcoin is not illegal in Timor Leste, due to the low internet penetration Bitcoin gambling is non existent in the country. It is not regulated.




Online gambling websites accepting players from East Timor


East Timor doesn’t seem to have regulations in place that would prohibit online gambling on foreign platforms. Some sites restrict acces from the country, probably because its so small of a market, but some do let players from Timor Leste register.



BGO casino – accepting players from Timor Leste


BGO online bookmaker accepting players from Timor Leste


32 Red casino accepting players from Timor Leste


32 Red online bookmaker, sports betting website accepting players from Timor Leste


Black Lotus casino accepting players from Timor Leste




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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. 14

Simon's Guide to Gambling in East Timor
Article Name
Simon's Guide to Gambling in East Timor
An overview of the legality of various forms of online and offline gambling on the islands of East Timor.

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