Issue Archive

E-mail Lists

News Briefs

Upcoming Events


Becoming a

Media Kit

About Us

Contact Us


logo4.gif (10052 bytes)

Betting Legislation and Laws Around The World

Countries across the world have different betting legislation. While some embrace betting, others forbid it in its entirety. Some countries even have separate betting legislation and licensing bodies across their states. For example, the USA has federal betting laws, while the various states in the country also have theirs. 

This post will break down different betting legislation across the world and explain how these laws may affect you. Specifically, we will review betting legislation in North America, South America, Europe, the UK, Asia, Australia, and Africa. 

We’ll break down the discussion into sections to make this article very easy to read. But, before we dive down into betting legislation around the world, let’s help you understand how this betting legislation and regulations may affect you. 

Betting legislation and regulations – how it affects you

official papers

The first important thing you should know is that most betting legislation and regulations around the world are targeted towards the betting companies and not the punters. If there are betting companies in your country, you are not likely breaking any laws by placing a wager on these sites. However, it is crucial to find out if there no local laws prohibiting you from betting.

Secondly, licensed and regulated betting sites are the safest places to place a wager. Before these sites obtain their licenses, they would have met some stringent criteria laid out by the regulating authorities. Though licensing is supposed to ensure that these betting sites meet some standards, you should know that some countries grant licenses to anyone that can afford them. 

Don’t fret! We have broken down some of the betting legislation around the world to help you have a safe betting experience. 

Betting Legislation in the UK and Europe

The UK and most of the countries in Europe have relaxed betting legislation. Countries like Sweden, Netherlands, Demark, Austria, Italy, Portugal, and many more have an open attitude towards betting. In fact, Spain, Germany, and the UK are rated among the top largest betting markets in the world.

In the UK, almost all forms of betting are legal and regulated. However, to provide services for UK citizens, UK’s betting exchange sites are required to meet the criteria set out by the Gambling Commission. Most European countries also have a similar setup. 

Though betting is considered legal in most places across the UK and Europe, there are some exceptions. For example, gambling and online betting are prohibited in Turkey, except for the government-owned sports betting company known as IDDAA. Other places in Europe like Switzerland, Czech Republic, and Russia also have some restrictions in place for online betting. 

Betting legislation in North America

Betting legislation across most countries in North America is quite confusing, especially in Canada and the USA. These countries have federal betting laws, and their states have their betting legislation too. Sports betting is legal in most of the states in the USA, including New Jersey, Nevada, West Virginia, Delaware, and more. While some of the states allow both online and in-person betting, others only permit in-person betting. 

Things are not significantly different in Canada as both the central government and the individual provinces have their betting legislations. Some provinces in Canada own and operate betting sites. A betting law that applies across the country is that it is illegal for any betting sites that the government has not licensed to provide betting services to Canadians. However, as of now, no law prohibits Canadians from using betting sites located in other countries. 

Betting legislation in South America

Betting legislation in South America is more liberal. Betting is legal, acceptable, and regulated in countries like Argentina, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Panama, and more. However, there some betting restrictions in some parts of the Southern continent. For instance, a 2011 gambling regulation in Ecuador outlawed all forms of gambling. Whether this 2011 law applies to online sports betting or not is still controversial.

Although in-person betting is allowed in places like Chile and Brazil, there are some restrictions to online gambling. If you live in any of these countries, you may want to research more about their specific betting legislation. 

Betting legislation in Asia

Asia is a very big continent, and it is not surprising that there is very little uniformity in the betting legislation across the board. Most of the countries in the Middle East prohibit betting and only allow it for charity purposes. In places like Brunei, Qatar, UAE, Pakistan, and others, you will be prosecuted if caught betting online using foreign sites. 

China is becoming more open to sports betting, and it has recorded significant growth in this sector. However, most forms of gambling are still frowned at in Taiwan. In Thailand, you can only bet using foreign betting sites. 

Betting legislation in Australia

The Interactive Gambling Act of 2001 (IGA) makes some betting services illegal in Australia. We are sure that Australians are permitted to play lottery games or place bets for sporting events. There is presently no betting legislation prohibiting Australians from accessing or using foreign betting sites. 

In New Zealand, the government has banned most forms of online betting, but this applies only to indigenous companies. The law does not restrict New Zealanders from using foreign betting sites, so they can do so if they desire. 

Betting legislation in Africa

Both offline and online betting is allowed in most of the countries in Africa. In fact, the continent is fast becoming one of the largest betting hubs in the world. However, very few African countries have stringent laws regulating online betting. 

Wrap up

Different betting legislations apply to countries across the world. If you are worried about the legality of betting in your local area, we recommend doing some research on both your federal and local laws. Getting familiar with these betting laws will keep you safe from legal trouble. 

Please note that this post should not be considered legal advice. Although we researched extensively to put this information together, we are not qualified to render legal advice on betting legislation. This post is just to give you basic information about betting legislation around the world.