List of Countries Where Betting Is Illegal

Want to know in which countries betting is illegal? let’s travel around the world and find out…

Imagine a world where casinos are ghost towns, poker nights are clandestine operations, and the thrill of a lucky spin is a crime. This isn’t dystopian fiction; it’s the reality for billions living in countries where Lady Luck has been arrested by law.

From the sun-scorched sands of Saudi Arabia to the lush jungles of Cambodia, a diverse tapestry of nations has declared war on gambling.

But why? What drives these bans, and what are the unintended consequences lurking in the shadows? Buckle up, fellow risk-takers, as we embark on a global heist of forbidden bets, cracking the code of illegal wagers and uncovering the stories behind the bans.

List of Countries Where Betting is Illegal

Betting banned countries
Betting banned countries

Let’s dive into the list of countries where betting is illegal. Our first stop is the Middle East, where religious and cultural norms often view change with suspicion. In Saudi Arabia, the holiest of lands, even the thought of a roulette wheel spinning is enough to land you in hot water. Nearby, in the glittering skyscrapers of the United Arab Emirates, casinos are as rare as snowfall in Dubai.

Jordan, Bahrain, Iran, and Maldives join the chorus of no dice, while the ancient mosques and bustling streets of Pakistan and Syria echo the sentiment. Even in Algeria, with its vibrant markets and sun-kissed beaches, the dice are kept under lock and key.

Across the vast expanse of Asia, the landscape shifts. China, the land of dragons and emperors, keeps a tight leash on gambling, allowing only state-run lotteries and specific sports betting zones. In North Korea, where secrecy is a national anthem, only tourists at the Pyongyang casino can indulge in a legal flutter. Japan, the land of technological marvels, offers a surprising contrast.

While pachinko parlors blur the line between gambling and arcade games, casinos remain tightly controlled. But Asia isn’t all about forbidden fruits. Singapore, the city of neon and efficiency, embraces casinos as a glittering source of revenue. Lebanon, with its rich cultural tapestry, allows casinos to operate within specific zones.

Africa, the continent of vibrant contrasts, presents its unique puzzle. Ethiopia, with its ancient history and breathtaking landscapes, has outlawed gambling altogether. In Somalia, where the sands whisper tales of pirates and resilience, religious beliefs have led to a complete ban. Even Algeria, with its bustling markets and sun-kissed beaches, keeps the dice under lock and key.

South America, a land of passionate rhythms and vibrant cultures, offers a mixed bag. While countries like Brazil and Argentina have embraced gambling, others like Bolivia and Paraguay have stricter regulations.

Even in Europe, the cradle of civilization, some gambling restrictions exist. Poland, with its historic cities and charming villages, has limitations on online gambling. Even in the land of casinos, Monaco, some forms of gambling are off-limits.

Sports betting is legalized in most of the American states except a few including Utah, and Hawaii. However, there are some restrictions imposed by the states. Want to know more about the legalization of the US states? , have a look into our article on Legalized Betting states in the United States.

Countries with Gambling Bans

  • Middle East: Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Bahrain, Iran, Maldives, Pakistan, Syria, Algeria
  • Asia: China, North Korea, Japan (except for pachinko parlors and limited casino access), Afghanistan
  • Africa: Ethiopia, Somalia, Algeria
  • South America: Bolivia, Paraguay (with restrictions)
  • Europe: Poland (with online gambling limitations), Monaco (with some restrictions)

This is just a snapshot, and the list of countries with gambling bans is constantly evolving. But it provides a starting point for understanding this fascinating and ever-changing world.

Here’s a breakdown of the gambling situation in other banned countries

  • Jordan: All forms of gambling are illegal in Jordan, including casinos, lotteries, and sports betting.
  • Bahrain: Similar to Jordan, Bahrain has a complete ban on all forms of gambling.
  • Maldives: Gambling is prohibited in the Maldives due to religious reasons.
  • Pakistan: Gambling is generally illegal in Pakistan, with exceptions for horse racing and some government-run lotteries.
  • Syria: The ongoing conflict in Syria has made it difficult to verify the current gambling laws, but most sources indicate a general ban.
  • Algeria: Algeria has a complete ban on all forms of gambling, including traditional games like dice and cards.
  • Ethiopia: Gambling is illegal in Ethiopia, except for a state-run lottery.
  • Somalia: Religious beliefs have led to a complete ban on all forms of gambling in Somalia.
  • British Virgin Islands: While not a country, the British Virgin Islands have strict regulations on gambling, with only a few licensed casinos and online gambling operators allowed.
  • South America: As mentioned before, Bolivia and Paraguay have stricter gambling regulations compared to other South American countries like Brazil and Argentina.
  • Cambodia: After the gambling ban, most gambling activities are now controlled by triads, operating in the shadows.
  • North Korea: Only tourists at the state-run casino in Pyongyang can gamble in North Korea.
  • Japan: While pachinko parlors blur the line between gambling and arcade games, casinos are tightly controlled and only accessible in specific zones.
  • Singapore: In contrast to many Asian countries, Singapore embraces casinos as a significant source of revenue.
  • Lebanon: Casinos are allowed to operate within specific zones in Lebanon, offering a unique contrast to its neighbors.


Hope now, you have understood the list of countries where Betting Is Illegal. However, some countries allow retail betting and some allow online betting. Just have a look into it.

Are you going to bet? Before you dive in, check two things:

1. Country restrictions: Some places frown on online bets. Make sure you’re not breaking any rules!

2. Platform patrol: Not all sites are legal everywhere. Research to find one that’s legit and accessible.

Bet responsibly, and have fun!

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the most common reasons for gambling bans? 

Religion, cultural norms, concerns over addiction and social harm, and a desire to protect national morals often top the list.

Do gambling bans work? 

Evidence suggests they are often ineffective, pushing gambling underground, causing economic losses, and creating social problems. The effectiveness of gambling bans depends on various factors like enforcement strategies, cultural context, and the availability of alternative support systems.

What are the ethical implications of gambling bans? 

The question of individual freedom versus societal well-being is a complex one, with no easy answers. The ethical balance between these two sides is delicate and depends on individual values and societal priorities.

Will gambling ever be legalized in these countries?

It’s hard to predict, but changing social attitudes and the allure of potential tax revenue could lead to a shift in policy. However, strong religious and cultural convictions, concerns about addiction, and vested interests of anti-gambling groups might still hinder legalization efforts in some countries.

Is it safe to gamble online in countries with bans? 

It depends on the specific laws and enforcement practices including Legal risks, Financial risks, and Safety risks. Always research the legal landscape before placing any bets.

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