Countries with Most Hostile Gambling Laws Examined

Most people around the world simply take it for granted that if they want to bet on their favorite sports team or buy a lottery ticket, they can access some type of platform or other, and gamble to their hearts’ content. Certain states and countries have laws that are more lenient than others, while some seem to be stricter. However, there is always the option of getting some type of gambling entertainment in.

However, there are some countries that have particularly hostile gambling laws in place. If you try and challenge them, you’ll probably be in big trouble. For people living in these areas, gambling is simply not an option, or if it is, it is so limited in scope and so discouraged, that it’s probably not worth partaking in.

Let’s look at the countries with some of the most hostile gambling laws in the world, in no particular order.

Islamic Countries

According to the laws of the Quran, Muslims are forbidden to gamble. Where Islam is the predominant religion in some countries, the gambling laws will reflect this. This is not the case in all Islamic countries. For example, casinos are allowed in certain areas in Egypt, Morocco, Lebanon and Tunisia.

However, gambling is basically outlawed in countries such as:

  • The United Arab Emirates, where all and any kind of gambling is barred by law and players will serve jail time. There is no access to online casinos from the UAE.
  • Brunei, which also has very strict anti-gambling legislation.
  • Qatar, where absolutely every type of gambling – including sports betting – is considered illegal.

North Korea

North Korean citizens are strictly forbidden to gamble and they can be severely punished if caught doing so. It goes without saying that North Koreans have no access to online casinos, since so few have access to the internet at all. In a bid to attract Chinese tourists, North Korea has allowed the construction of a casino at the Imperial Hotel in Rason and the Pyongyang Casino in the Yanggakdo International Hotel in Pyongyang. Needless to say, these casinos are open to foreign passport holders only.


It’s strange to see Japan on this list since it is so advanced in many other areas, but until quite recently practically every form of gambling was prohibited in this Far East country. Laws have relaxed slightly, and those who want to bet on sports can visit one of the strictly government-regulated racetracks or their off-track betting satellites. A recent change in laws has allowed resorts to open casinos of sorts, as long as there is also a hotel, convention center and entertainment venues in the same resort. Japanese can still play Pachinko, which has cultural and historical significance and is therefore not considered a criminal act.


Citizens in Cambodia are absolutely forbidden from gambling in any form, except for the government sponsored lotteries that are run in a bid to generate revenue for the country. If you’re a tourist in Cambodia, you may have better luck finding gambling options, since there are several casinos that cater exclusively for visitors.


Singapore allows some types of gambling, but you had better have a good reason to want to do so! The bottom line is that gambling is prohibited until you get specific permission to hold an event or there are special circumstances allowing the opening of a casino. There are only two public casinos in the whole of Singapore, and a limit to the amount that people can spend on their gambling sessions. The same idea applies to online gambling. Unless you have a special exemption, you may not gamble remotely. An example of such an exemption was the one granted to the Singapore Turf Club and Singapore Pools who are allowed to offer remote sports betting services.


We’re not saying all types of gambling are banned in Cyprus, but the laws are pretty strict in that department when it comes to table games. If you’re looking for some online gambling entertainment from the Cypriot area, you’ll have to stick to sports betting which is the only kind allowed. You’ll fare better if you’re willing to settle for slot games, which are found more in abundance.

The Rest of the World

Many Western countries have, over the years, moved to a more accepting and legislated outlook towards online gambling. Acknowledging that players are probably going to access offshore casinos or use VPNs to access gambling sites in other jurisdictions, these countries have begun regulating casinos within their own territories. A good example is for those who may be looking for the best USA online casinos.

Visit our UK online casino page if you are in need of assistance for a UK friendly casino. 

With legislation comes stricter rules but these are generally to the benefit of the player. It is safer for players to gamble at an online casino that is regulated by leading bodies such as the United Kingdom Gambling Commission or the Malta Gaming Authority.

Offshore casinos that have some sort of license are also probably safe, but it’s best to do your homework. If you are looking for the best online pokies, visit our online casinos for Australians.

Protip: Only choose casinos that appear on our list of online casinos, as they have all been checked out thoroughly.

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