Guide to the Legal Status of Online Gambling in the World (on the picture: the tropical roof garden of the Reef Hotel Casino in Australia)
Have you ever wondered whether online gambling is legal in your country? Or do you know how offshore online 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 – Where can I play online?
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 sector and economy and try to benefit from the growth of the global gambling indsustry, and in others it is not only illegal for hundreds of years, but it is also considered a sin (most Muslim countries).
In this list I personally analyzed:
the legal status of online casino gambling in all the countries of the world;
the legal status of online bingo in all 194 countries recognized by the United Nations (including some disputed territories);
the legal status of online poker globally;
the legal status of online sports betting around the globe;
the legal status of online lottery, keno and scratch cards in all the countries of the world.
UPDATE 2022: Info about the legal status of bitcoin gambling was added to every country (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 a few countries in the world (marked with red on the map, less than 5%), 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 2021: The interactive map was revamped and updated. It is now an entirely HTML 5 interactive map, which loads loads faster and it is mobile compatible. Some countries might be missing, they will be added over time. Thank you for understanding.
Interactive Online Gambling Map
Land-based gambling in Afghanistan: illegal
Online gambling in Afghanistan: illegal, but the government doesn't target the citizens, who gamble online, players are not prosecuted for playing on foreign online gambling websites
Online gambling in Bahrain: 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 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 gambling in Hungary: legal, but very restricted, only a few online gambling websites can be used legally, everything else is illegal, but players could be prosecuted for using unlicesed gambling websites
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 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
Legal status of online gambling in Europe (+ Russia and Turkey)
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.
In general gambling is legal in Canada, in many provinces even online gambling is legal and regulated. What is legal for you, depends on which province\territory you are located. First Nations reserves also have their own gambling, internet gambling laws in many cases. Click on the flag to the left or here to read about gambling laws in Canada, its provinces and First Nations reserves.
in general it is legal, but the domestic online gambling situation is complicated and depends on which state you are located in (click on the flag for information on all states and a list of gambling websites, which accept players from each state), foreign online gambling websites might be blocked, but players are not prosecuted
in general it is illegal, and not very well regulated, but 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 each state), foreign online gambling websites might be blocked in some states, but players are not prosecuted
some forms of online gambling are legal, but the domestic online gambling situation is complicated and depends on which state or territory you are located in (click on the flag for information on all states, and a list of gambling websites, which accept players from each state), foreign online gambling websites might be blocked, but players are not prosecuted
Explanation of the different online gambling legal statuses:
legal: that specific form of online gambling is legal and regulated, and also, no license is required, you can freely play in any online casino, which accepts your registration
not regulated: that specific form of online gambling is not regulated at all, or the law is too ambiguous to be applicable to that specific form
legal, requires licence: that particular online gambling activity is legal and the operator must obtain a licence, this can mean a liberalized online gambling market, where private operators can apply for a license or this can mean a monopoly with only one licenced company (details can be found on the country’s webpage, click on the name or flag)
illegal: that form of online gambling illegal, and for various reasons it is unknown, not possible to decide whether players are prosecuted or not at the moment
illegal and players are not prosecuted: that specific form of online gambling is illegal in the country, but players are not prosecuted for various reasons
illegal and players are prosecuted: that specific online betting activity is illegal and players are prosecuted
unknown: no information could be found
The online lottery column includes other lottery type games, such as keno, scratch cards and raffles.
The more undeveloped a country is, the more unregulated gambling and online gambling are (e.g.: in case of some African countries even regular, land based gambling is totally unregulated).
In the West (North America, Europe) gambling and online gambling is more tolerated and more regulated in general than the East (China, India, Asia).
In almost every Islamic country gambling and online gambling are illegal. But, interestingly, because gambling has been illegal for such a long time in these countries online gambling has often avoided the attention of the state and players who play online are not actively prosecuted.
Despite claims to the contrary, Bitcoin gambling is also illegal in almost every country where online gambling is illegal.
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.
Don't worry, this is not an ad! ;) Just wanted to make sure to tell you that I'm glad you visited this gambling blog.
I'm Simon, the only author and the man behind this blog (if you are interested, my unusual life story can be found on the homepage, under the "About me" dropdown section).
I'm an independent gambling blogger since 2012.
In this sector dominated by huge media companies, casino operators and online marketing networks, who can easily spend $ millions on their online gambling blogs, it's not easy for an independent nobody like me to survive. It took me about 6 years, working my ass off, to even have a chance to be noticed by visitors like you.
I'm lucky enough that for a few years now, I make enough money to be able to do this full time (before that, I had part-time jobs, ghost writing gigs, online marketing this and that).
Now I can finally do this full time, thanks to visitors like you! And it means a lot! If you are interested, please bookmark this site (no social media profiles, I no longer have any, but please feel free to share anything on any social media networks, if you still use them). I don't have any money to advertise, and if you have a personal blog, any social media profile, please mention my gambling blog and link back to it. This the only way for a small website like this to grow. Thank you!
Charity: As a way to help others, to give back, I sometimes donate to Kiva. If you click on the ads on the website, I make some money. And in a good month, if I make more than my expenses, I donate to people and projects on Kiva.
Kiva helps young entrepreneurs in developing countries, which is an issue close to my heart for obvious reasons. If you have the means, please sign up with the revolutionary non-profit company Kiva.org and help people lift themselves out of poverty, through hard-work, and an initial investment (non-profit loan).
These non-profit loans encourage entrepreneurship and hard work instead of creating a dependent class that is afraid to get a job, or start a business (because if they did, they would no longer get support and free money, disincentivizing hard work and entrepreneurship). This is the right way to fight poverty in developing countries (or anywhere else really), and if this is something you are interested in, and if you would like to know more, or to help out, please check out Kiva.org here. Thank you!
Simon's Guide to Online Gambling Laws in the World
Info about the legal status of the various forms of online gambling (casino gambling, online sports betting, internet bingo, digital lottery, electronic poker, cryptocurrency wagering) in all the 196 countries in the world, with interactive map.