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The continent of Asia is a diverse land, and the gambling laws of its nations are just as varied. While some regions embrace the long-standing Asian passion for games like baccarat and mahjong, others adhere to traditional Islamic law (Sharia) and prohibit all forms of gambling. Most are willing to look the other way for individual players, although a handful of nations pursue private citizens with the sort of zeal usually reserved for career criminals.
In the following section, we’ll list every Asian nation (in order of population) and give a brief rundown of their stance regarding online gambling. In case you’re planning to play illegally in one of these countries, we’ll also provide information on whether or not they’re in the habit of prosecuting individual offenders.
Since gaming laws and legislation can change rapidly, it’s always a good idea to consult a lawyer before launching a long-term career as an Internet gambler. While I’ve made a good faith effort to present the most accurate information possible, there’s a chance that some of these facts may have changed by the time you read this. The best way to stay safe is to stay informed.
While gambling is an integral part of Chinese culture, most forms of the hobby are illegal on the mainland (with the lottery being the main exception). Hong Kong is also restrictive when it comes to gambling, although neither region is in the habit of tracking down and prosecuting citizens who play online. Most offshore gambling sites are blocked.
The self-governing Chinese island of Macau is much more permissive. Not coincidentally, they are currently the single largest gambling destination on the planet. Both visitors and locals should be able to access online card rooms and casinos without any problems.
Indian laws are vague regarding online casinos, although most states frown on any form of the hobby. It’s outright illegal in the state of Maharashtra, while the region known as Sikkim allows gambling and even issues licenses for online businesses.
No form of gambling is legal in this nation. Individuals caught violating the law face up to 10 years imprisonment and even the possibility of being publically beaten.
Gambling is outlawed in this Muslim state. While some online casinos may still offer services to residents, anyone caught may face a small fine and up to one year in jail.
The Public Gambling Act of 1867 made gambling illegal, and the only exceptions are horse racing, lotteries, and raffles. Those who engage in online gambling are sometimes prosecuted.
Despite the fact that their citizens spend hundreds of billions of dollars on pachinko each year, the Japanese government doesn’t allow gambling. However, residents can easily access offshore gaming sites without fear of prosecution.
One of the fastest growing gaming markets in Asia, the Philippines allow online gambling through their state-owned casino, sportsbooks, and bingo sites. In 2014, legal gambling in the nation accounted for $2.05 billion. Sic bo is among the most popular choices for gamblers within the country.
The government’s ban on gambling has created a large underground for the hobby, although the state-sponsored lottery is still allowed. Citizens can get in trouble if caught using an illegal offshore site, and the most common penalty is a fine.
Due to Islamic sharia, all forms of gambling are outlawed. Citizens may face punishment if caught gaming online, but the government isn’t going out of their way to round up such individuals.
Casinos were banned in Turkey in 1998, and that was followed by the prohibition of online gambling in 2006. That hasn’t stopped residents, however, and a 2009 report showed that a full quarter of Betsson’s profits came from Turkish players. The government seems determined to prevail, though, with proposed deterrents including larger monetary fines and longer jail sentences for offenders.
Residents may play the national lottery online or bet on horses at the track. Everything else is illegal, although online gamblers are unlikely to be prosecuted.
With the exception of the state lottery, gambling is illegal in Myanmar. Online players aren’t prosecuted for frequenting offshore establishments, however.
Online gambling is illegal, although sportsbetting is permissible under certain circumstances. Citizens aren’t prosecuted if they play at offshore gaming establishments, and nearby Filipino casinos (which support the Korean language) are among the most popular.
Gambling is forbidden due to Islamic law. Most online casinos are blocked, although citizens usually don’t have to worry about individual prosecution for playing at offshore sites.
All forms of gambling are illegal, and the nation routinely blocks gaming websites. However, there’s no evidence that anyone has even been prosecuted for playing online.
This former Soviet nation has a national lottery, but all other types of gambling are illegal. In the case of Internet gamers, the chance of prosecution is slim to none.
The Gaming Houses Act of 1953 made it possible to regulate some forms of gambling, although online casinos are considered illegal. While private citizens aren’t prosecuted for violations, the same can’t be said for the owners of Internet cafes and electronic betting shops.
Legal land-based gambling is available to tourists, but locals are prohibited from taking part. That doesn’t stop them from patronizing illegal offshore casinos, especially since individuals aren’t prosecuted by the government for such infractions.
While the Taliban are no longer in control of the country, strict anti-gambling laws are still in effect. Luckily, private citizens are no longer punished for playing at offshore casinos, although few sites serve the nation due to the blocking of ISP addresses.
Sharia law has resulted in gambling being made illegal. There’s no evidence of citizens being prosecuted for playing online, but sites are routinely blocked.
Internet access is monitored and highly restricted in North Korea. Most residents aren’t able to get online, and anyone who does will find that gambling ISPs are blocked. Penalties for breaking the law are severe, ranging from fines and imprisonment to death.
With the exception of state-run lotteries, all forms of gambling in Taiwan are prohibited by the Criminal Code of the Republic of China. More than 2,000 Internet casinos, sportsbooks, and card rooms were available to residents in 2003, and the government has since waged a lengthy battle to block sites and educate citizens about the dangers of unlicensed gaming.
This is another example of an Islamic nation that prohibits gambling. Most gaming sites are blocked, and the Internet activity of residents is regularly monitored.
The Casino Business Act has led most forms of gambling to be regulated by the government. The regulations concerning online gaming are still vague, but virtual casinos routinely accept customers from this nation.
The Law of the Republic of Kazakhstan allows for land-based gambling in two special regions, although online betting is still unregulated and presumed illegal.
Thanks to the 1996 Law on Suppression of Gambling, residents of Cambodia are prohibited from all forms of unauthorized gaming (including the Internet). A number of national lotteries are allowed, and tourists may also take advantage of the booming land-based casino industry.
Some forms of gambling are prohibited, while others are run by the state (such as the lottery). The laws regarding online play are unclear, and a wide range of casinos and card rooms still accept customer s from this nation.
United Arab Emirates
Land-based poker and sports betting can be found in some areas, but all online gaming is illegal. Private residents are prosecuted for violations, and penalties can range from a stiff fine to multiple years in prison.
While gambling was once allowed in the nation, the Criminal Code of Tajikistan now deems all forms of the hobby illegal. There’s no evidence, however, or players being prosecuted for visiting offshore casinos.
Online gambling is legal in Israel, as long as it’s regulated and operated by the state. This extends to Internet lotteries and sports betting, but casinos are not legally permitted.
While online casinos still accept players from the Muslim-dominated nation, the Constitution of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan has decreed that all manner of gambling is illegal.
Gambling is allowed in special economic zones, but this doesn’t include virtual gaming. Operators found to be in violation are subject to prosecution, while individual players are usually overlooked.
The parliament of this nation has outlawed all forms of gambling. According to the Quran, games of chance are “abominations of Satan’s handiwork.”
Due to the Remote Gambling Act of 2015, online wagers can only be taken by approved non-profit organizations. Offshore virtual casinos are prohibited from offering or advertising their services to residents, and many have abandoned the market. Hundreds of sites have also been blocked.
Some forms of gambling are regulated within the nation, but this doesn’t apply to online play. There’s no online evidence of players being prosecuted, however.
While this region once operated the most profitable casino on the planet, it’s now largely devoid of legal gambling. Most casinos accept players from this state, however, and there’s no evidence that gamblers face prosecution.
A state-run online lottery is available, but offshore casinos are prohibited and often have their ISPs blocked.
According to Royal Decree N 7/74 of the Sultanate of Oman, gambling is illegal throughout the country. The government actively tries to thwart offshore casinos by blocking access to their sites.
Since 85% of the population practices Islam, there’s no legal gambling in Kuwait.
The Lottery and Gambling Bill allows both land-based and online gaming, as long as the operator obtains a license and is regulated by the state.
A state-run lottery is legal, but all other forms of gaming are outlawed. This extends to online casinos, which are currently unregulated.
Licensed online casinos are legal thanks to the Law of the Republic of Armenia on Games of Chance and Casinos. Some of these companies are based within the country, while locals also have access to licensed offshore sites.
Bill 14, passed in 1971, makes gambling illegal, and later legislation extends this to Internet gaming. Players are often overlooked, although anyone who runs an online casino could be subject to a fine and/or imprisonment.
The 1976 Bahrain penal code makes all forms of gambling illegal. Despite this, online gamers are not actively prosecuted.
A 2013 bill makes gambling illegal, with the only exception being the state-run lottery. There’s no evidence of ISPs being blocked, so gamblers should still be able to play at the online casino of their choice.
According to the Cyprus Betting Law of 2012, the only form of legal online gambling in the country is sports betting. Not coincidentally, the state runs the only active service of this kind.
While the state lottery is legal, all other forms of gambling are prohibited. Anyone in violation of the law may be prosecuted, and those found guilty face anywhere from a month to a year in jail for their first offense.
The government of Brunei doesn’t allow gambling. If you’re caught violating the law (even by playing online), you’ll face a severe fine and up to six months in jail.
The 2008 Constitution of the Republic of Maldives declared all forms of gambling to be illegal. There is, however, no evidence that citizens are prosecuted for playing at offshore casinos.