10 countries where gambling is completely illegal

by | Mar 8, 2023 | Blog posts | 0 comments

Around the world, gambling has different laws when it comes to legality. Some locations, like Germany, Austria, or Luxembourg, have rather liberal gambling markets. Meanwhile, some countries tend to provide access to certain forms of gambling but not others. And then there are those countries that have completely banned all forms of gambling, calling it an illegal pastime. We will go into detail about the legal status of gambling in 10 different countries.


Below we will look at the gambling laws and why some or all gambling is not allowed in these countries.


The law in Lebanon states that citizens cannot participate in gambling. The government has full power to block any gambling activity. Coincidentally, the country has a unique legal system known as confessionalism. 

This is based on a form of consociationalism based on religious groups. Lebanon has 18 recognized religious groups, each with legislation and ecclesiastical courts. Dominant religions are represented in parliament, with the president being a Christian, the prime minister being a Sunni Muslim, the speaker of parliament being a Shiite Muslim, and the deputy prime minister and deputy speaker both being Eastern Orthodox. 

For all these reasons, gambling in Lebanon can only take place at the Casino du Liban, which holds the country’s gambling monopoly. Outside of this place, gambling is strictly prohibited. Online gambling is also completely prohibited, and the government has recently blocked casinos based abroad. The Lebanese lottery company La Libanaise des Jeux is the only company that can offer online gambling if it wants to. Therefore, you should not expect new online casino sites in 2021 to emerge soon.


One thing is for sure regarding online gambling in Singapore. it is completely illegal under the Singapore Remote Gambling Act unless a special exception has been made to accommodate this. As of 2016, Singapore Turf Club and Singapore Pools are the only operators granted such an exemption from the regulations. Apart from these two companies, online and land-based gambling are considered illegal activities within the country.

After independence from the United Kingdom in 1963, various forms of gambling were constantly reintroduced in Singapore. This brought back options such as soccer betting, private lottery clubs, horse racing, and more. However, in 2004, the authorities decided to make a push to investigate how legal casino gambling could be successfully introduced. The benefits and costs associated with the introduction and the potential negative impact on residents were considered.

This led to the country legalizing casino gambling in 2005, but only in a land-based format. It doubled on restricting online gambling when it loosened its ties to physical gambling. The gambling law ensured that various gambling-related activities were classified as criminal offenses.

Gamblers face fines of up to $5,000 and up to six months in prison, while those who engage in online gambling in Singapore face penalties of up to $500,000 and up to seven years in prison.


While it is true that gambling regulation in Cambodia allows the establishment of various forms of gambling establishments, these are not intended for locals. Visitors are the only people who can visit these places and use their money. The reason for this is Cambodia’s history of gambling addiction.

Gambling was completely banned in the country under the Khmer Rouge regime but was legalized again in the 1990s. After it was discovered how many of its citizens were becoming addicted to the activity, the Suppression of Gambling Law was introduced, which invalidated all licenses issued to operators and banned almost all forms of betting for Cambodians.

Anyone discovered to be gambling can be fined up to 50,000 reels or imprisoned for up to one month. Slot machines were the only form of gambling that remained legal and available to Cambodians for a short time. However, these were also banned in 2009 when violent disputes broke out in the country over gambling debts.

Of course, the facilities still in operation today serve foreign visitors, and these are maintained to generate tax revenue. However, these operations require an official license to provide their services. Online gambling is also unregulated in Cambodia, although it is believed to be one of the gambling activities described in the Law on Suppression of Gambling.

Reports of online gambling operators being caught and arrested for providing such services have surfaced, which pretty much determines the legality.

United Arab Emirates

Normally, it can be said that any nation under Islamic rule considers gambling as an illegal activity. And while it is true that online gambling can sometimes be accessed through VPNs and the like, legally, it is considered illegal as a whole. However, compared to various other Islamic countries, the United Arab Emirates has a much stricter structure and heavily penalizes those who participate in gambling of any kind.

Let’s say you are a resident of the UAE and decide that you would like to play this round of roulette. You go ahead with it and get caught by the authorities. If this is the case, you can be sentenced to up to two years in prison under UAE law, thanks to the country’s Penal Code, Article 414. For this reason, the government has taken strict measuires against gambling of any kind, with the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority controling all online content and blocking access to any gambling site for UAE residents.

Even if you visit the UAE on vacation as a tourist and engage in gambling, you can be prosecuted for such activities.


Vietnam has very strict rules and restrictions when it comes to gambling. The country has banned most forms of gambling everywhere. As a result, any form of gambling inside is taken very seriously as a crime.

In Vietnam, there are land-based casinos attached to luxury hotels, but these are exclusively for hotel guests and not for Vietnamese residents to gamble. Anyone wishing to enter one of these casinos must present their passport at the door to prove they are not a country resident.

Some people with a strong urge to participate in gambling will cross the borders into Laos or Cambodia, although that does not offer them many opportunities. The Vietnamese government has very little influence on what happens outside of its borders and focuses more on its internal affairs. Gamblers can access a variety of online casinos, sports betting, and so on, but be prepared to face the consequences if you get caught.

The only activity not considered gambling in Vietnam, where residents can participate in the country’s lottery. This began in 1999, and vendors throughout the country sell tickets for it.

North Korea

There is very little exemption regarding North Korea, and gambling is tightly controlled. People’s lives in the country are so tightly controlled under Kim Jong-un’s dictatorship that many probably don’t know what gambling is.

Online and offline gambling has been completely restricted in North Korea, but many people still do not have the money to participate. There is a glimmer of hope in Pyongyang and the country’s very north, where the only functioning casinos exist. However, they are only open to tourists on guided tours when they visit.

The law for citizens of North Korea restricts access to these casinos, and this legislation is so strict that residents can be severely punished if caught gambling. For this reason, people stay away from anything that is considered illegal or even semi-legal in North Korea.

Anyone who wants to visit North Korea must always check with a tour guide whether they can participate in gambling. This is open to guests online as of 2021, but again, they must be under the supervision of a tour guide. Beyond that, only some options are available due to the strictly regulated internet.


As it stands, Cuba has no legal gambling options. This has much to do with its communist status, but not only because other conmunist nations have successfully integrated casinos into their countries. In general, however, these countries have always viewed casinos as a way to withdraw cash from tourists. For this reason, it has always been the case that communist countries had casinos in their hotels for visitors to gamble but never for residents.

On the other hand, Cuba doesn’t offer that kind of setup. There are no land-based casinos to access, and online gambling is also considered against the law. Nonetheless, it is currently unknown whether individuals found to be involved in online gambling will be prosecuted. That being said, Cuba has a very centralized and highly controled internet scene, so it is probably best not to look for online gambling in the country. On the other hand, tourists visiting Cuba are free to visit the sites.

The fact remains that Fidel Castro banned all forms of gambling in 1959 after overthrowing Fulgencio Batista. He even went so far as to have several casinos and slot machine parlors destroyed, and since then, gambling has been an illegal activity in Cuba. The main gambling law active in the country is Ley 86 1959.

As of 2021, betting on illegal cockfighting remains widespread in rural areas of Cuba. This is officially an illegal blood sport in Cuba and many other countries worldwide. However, it appears that rural Cubans do not have the same mindset and continue their illegal blood sports and related betting.


Land-based gambling was considered legal in Poland, and even online gambling was once considered legal. However, these facilities and sites were heavily monopolized by the Polish government.

Despite this, some residents chose to gamble with offshore providers. Technically, this was allowed, though unregulated. In 2009, Poland introduced the Gambling Act, which brought new changes to the country in line with the principles set by the European Union.

While there are many land-based casinos in Poland, they are not frequented by Polish nationals as they are set up for the tourism industry. As for online gambling in the country, it is a largely illegal scenario. Except for some state-run domestic options, players can be prosecuted in Poland if they access online gambling websites. Therefore, if you have decided that you want to play an online slot machine, you must do so through one of the state platforms. Outside of that, you are committing a criminal offense.


It is common knowledge that many Muslim countries completely prohibit gambling. This is due to their devotion to the laws of Islam. However, some have found ways to circumvent such religious laws. Syria is not one of them, as both online and offline gambling is considered illegal. All gambling was banned for decades.

Nevertheless, in 2011, the green light was given to build a legal casino in Damascus to restore legal gambling and generate new tax revenues. This casino was called Ocean Club and was operated by Khaled Houbaubati, the son of the famous Syrian casino mogul Tawfiq Houboubati. However, this casino lasted only a few months when the civil war broke out in 2012, and the government decided to close the doors of the Ocean Club.

Since then, there have been no legal gambling establishments in Syria, and online gambling is also considered an illegal pastime.

However, the authorities do not prosecute players who gamble on foreign websites. That is, even if they can access such sites, considering the state of the Internet in Syria. Armed conflict has damaged many telecommunications infrastructures throughout the country. In 2013 and 2014, Internet outages occurred more than ten times in total.


    In conclusion, there are many countries around the world where gambling is illegal or heavily restricted. These restrictions may be based on religious or moral grounds, or they may be due to concerns about the social and economic impacts of gambling.

    While the exact laws and regulations governing gambling vary from country to country, common restrictions include bans on certain types of gambling, such as online gambling or sports betting, as well as limits on the amount of money that can be wagered or the age at which individuals are allowed to gamble.

    While these restrictions may be frustrating for individuals who enjoy gambling, they are put in place for a reason. The negative social and economic impacts of gambling can be significant, including addiction, financial hardship, and increased crime rates.

    However, it’s also worth noting that regulating and legalizing gambling can have positive benefits, such as increased tax revenue and job creation. Many countries have recognized this and moved towards greater liberalization of their gambling laws recently.

    Overall, the issue of gambling legality is complex, and it’s important for individuals to understand the laws and regulations in their own countries and approach gambling responsibly, whether legal or not.