IS ONLINE GAMBLING LEGAL IN ASIA?
To say that the legal status of Asian countries towards online gambling is confusing, would be an understatement. While some countries have legalized online gambling and have a nicely regulated market, they are very few. Most countries don’t allow online gambling mostly due to Islamic law. But whether or not gambling is legal, people seem to gamble anyway if they have the chance, with very few exceptions.
- There are 50 sovereign territories in Asia.
- Among those, 16 have legalized online gambling, that is 32 % of Asia.
- In 24 territories online gambling is illegal, that is 48 % of Asia.
- In other 10 territories online gambling is either in a legal grey area or their laws permit only some forms of online gambling, that is in 20 % of Asia.
- In 24 territories where online gambling is not legal (but not necessary illegal either), people gamble anyway.
- In 40 territories people gamble online regardless of the regulations, that is in 80 % of Asia.
The first map above shows all Asian territories and their legal status towards online gambling and the second map shows an actual state of online gambling, so whether people gamble or not regardless of the legal status.
The table below shortly describes the legal status for online gambling in each Asian territory. I wrote down whether online gambling is legal or not for each territory and whether or not people there gamble anyway.
If you are a resident of any of the Asian countries where online gambling is illegal but decide to gamble anyway because other residents seem to be doing it freely without legal consequences, know you are doing it at your own discretion.
|Country / Territory||Is Online Gambling ILLEGAL?||Do People Gamble?||Description of Legal Status|
|Afghanistan||Yes||No||All forms of gambling are prohibited.|
|Armenia||No||Yes||Online gambling is legal only on websites licenced in Armenia.|
|Azerbaijan||No||Yes||Online gambling is legal.|
|Bahrain||Yes||No||Online gambling is illegal and gambling sites are blocked.|
|Bangladesh||No||Yes||While land-based gambling is forbiden, there are no rules for online gambling, so people can do it freely.|
|Bhutan||Legal gray area||Yes||There is no specific law to target online gambling, it's unclear if their law for land-based gambling extends to online play. Since there are no punishments for gambling online, people do it freely.|
|Brunei Darussalam||Yes||No||Online gambling is illegal, laws are strongly enforced and punishments for breaking it are severe.|
|Cambodia||No||Yes||While gambling in general is allowed only for tourists within the country, casino operators and online websites offer their services to locals as well. Cambodian resitents are free to play in foreign online gambling sites.|
|China||Yes||Yes||Online gambling in China is illegal but a lot of people do it anyway using VPNs and underground payment platforms. Online gambling is illegal even in Hong Kong and Macau, which otherwise allow some forms of land-based gambling.|
|Cyprus||Yes||Yes||Online gambling is legal only on sites, licenced in Cyprus.|
|Georgia||Yes||Yes||Online gambling is legal.|
|India||No||Yes||Online gambling is restricted (with the exception of lotteries and horse racing) but no law specifically forbids Indian residents from gambling online, so around half of bets made in India are on foreign online gambling websites.|
|Indonesia||Yes||Yes||Online gambling is illegal due to Islamic law but there is no enforcement, so a lot of people do it anyway without consequences.|
|Iran||Yes||Yes||All forms of gambling are considered illegal, however there is no enforcement of the law. You can find a lot of foreign gambling websites offering their services to Iranian residents.|
|Iraq||Yes||Yes||Online gambling is considered illegal, however there is no attention by the authorities to enforce the law. People gamble anyway since there are no fines or arrests being actively carried out.|
|Israel||Yes and no||Yes||Online gambling is illegal, except for national lottery, horse racing and betting on certain sports, offered by Mifal Hapayis Lottery Authority and Israeli Sports Betting Board.|
|Japan||Yes and no||Yes||Gambling in Japan is forbidden with the exceptions of lottery, horse racing, toto and betting on some motor sports.|
|Jordan||Yes||No||Online gambling is illegal, governed by Islamic law, laws are strongly enforced and punishments for breaking it are severe.|
|Kazakhstan||No||Yes||Online gambling is prohibited within the country but playing at foreign gambling websites is not restricted.|
|Kuwait||Yes||No||Online gambling is illegal and law is enforced with arrests.|
|Kyrgyzstan||No||Yes||Online gambling in the country isn't regulated. There are no laws restricting people from playing online.|
|Lao People's Democratic Republic||Yes||Yes||Gambling is prohibited in general, which is interpreted to extend to online gambling as well. But since there is no enforcement in practice, people do it freely. However it's safer to play in foreign websites because in companies based in Laos you have to prove your nationality and payouts are only legal for tourists.|
|Lebanon||No||Yes||Online gambling is not illegal although the country blocks most foreign sites to protect their interest in the large percentage of govermnent owned land-based casinos. It's completely legal to play online anywhere as long as you can reach the site.|
|Malaysia||No||Yes||Online gambling is restricted in the country but no laws apply to foreign gambling websites so residents can play freely there.|
|Maldives||Yes||Yes||Online gambling is illegal but there is no enforcement, so people do it anyway.|
|Mongolia||Legal gray area||Yes||There are no specific laws for online gambling in Mongolia, putting it in a legal gray area and there is a vast array of online casinos offering their services to Mongolian residents.|
|Myanmar||Yes||Yes||Online gambling is illegal but the government turns a blind eye to anyone doing it and there are no punishments, so people do it anyway.|
|Nepal||No||Yes||Online gambling in the country isn't regulated. There are no laws restricting people from playing online.|
|Democratic People's Republic of Korea||Yes||No||All forms of gambling are strictly forbidden and any violation of the law results in imprisonment of the person in question along with his family.|
|Oman||Yes||Yes||Online gambling is illegal but due to large demand, people do it anyway underground or on foreign websites. The country currently doesn't enforce the law and playing online doesn't have legal consequences.|
|Pakistan||No||Yes||Online gambling in the country isn't regulated. There are no laws restricting people from playing online.|
|Palestine||Legal gray area||Yes||Gambling is governed by Islamic law, although online gambling isn't explicitly mentioned. Due to war conditions in the country, the government doesn't focus on enforcing any gambling-related laws, so anyone who wants to gamble online is able to do so.|
|Philippines||Yes and no||Yes||Online gambling inside the country is only legal through the state-owned corporation called PAGCOR although no law forbids residents to play in offshore gambling websites.|
|Qatar||Yes||Yes||Online gambling is illegal but the law is not enforced, so a lot of people do it anyway without consequences.|
|Russian Federation||Yes and no||Yes||Casinos in any form are allowed only in Altai, Krasnodar, Kaliningrad, and Primorsky regions, while bookmaking is allowed throughout Russia. Foreign gambling websites are often blocked but a lot of Russian resirends seek foreign gambling sites anyway.|
|Saudi Arabia||Yes||No||Online gambling is illegal, governed by Islamic law, laws are strongly enforced and punishments for breaking it are severe.|
|Singapore||Yes||No||Online gambling is forbidden and sites are blocked, with the exception of a few lottery games operated by the government.|
|Republic of Korea||No||Yes||Online gambling websites based in South Korea are illegal but no law forbids overseas casinos to offer their services to South Korean residents, so the country tries blocking their websites. Since no law restricts South Korean resitends from gambling online, they seek foreign gambling websites and accessing them using eWallets and VPNs.|
|Syrian Arab Republic||Yes||Yes||There is no current law about online gambling in effect due to the country being at war and they don't have the time to deal with gambling. There is also poor internet access so most people don't have the option to gamble online. Although Syria is a country bound by Islamic law where all forms of gambling are considered illegal, anyone can gamble if desired so without consequences, granted he has internet access.|
|Taiwan||No||Yes||Gambling is allowed only in state-run lotteries, but due to thousands of foreign online gambling sites being offered to Taiwanese residents, they turn there for better odds and a wider selection of sports and games. The foreign sites aren't specifically restricted by Taiwanese law and the abundence of these sites makes blocking them practically impossible.|
|Thailand||Yes and no||Yes||While gambling in general is considered illegal, there are no laws menitoning online gambling specifically. Around 50 % of the population gambles regularly, so thir laws have no actual effect.|
|Timor-Leste||Legal gray area||No||Land-based gambling is illegal and whether the law extends to online gambling is unclear. Due to poor internet access, there are slim chances of online gambling anyway.|
|Turkey||Yes and no||Yes||Online gambling is allowed only though IDDAA, the only company allowed to offer online gambling. They only offer sport betting. Foreign websites are blacklisted and fines for breaking the law are extremely high.|
|United Arab Emirates||Yes||No||Online gambling is illegal and breaking the law is sentenced with prison.|
|Uzbekistan||Yes||Yes||Online gambling in all forms is prohibited but resitends are looking for ways aroud it anyway.|
|Viet Nam||Yes||Yes||Online gambing is prohibited, there are no online casinos inside the country and a lot of foreign websites are blocked, but a lot of people use VPNs to go around that and play anyway.|
|Yemen||Yes||Yes||Online gambling is illegal but the law isn't enforced so a lot of people do it anyway.|