Where gambling has been outlawed: the countries with the harshest legislation

Home » Where gambling has been outlawed: the countries with the harshest legislation

While we can see an increasing number of countries who are implementing new gambling rights in their respective legislation, there is still a considerable amount of those who ventured the other way and remained poised strongly against it. In these countries, gambling is illegal and anybody taking part in it can be prosecuted.

For many people around the world, gambling in casino and sports betting are common parts of their lives, something that is taken as a matter of course. Even people who do not engage in these activities have some degree of knowledge of them and know that they are free to participate, should they ever wish to do so.

However, this is not the case everywhere in the world. The situation is very different in some parts of the planet. Here are a few examples:


When it comes to gambling laws, no one has a legislation as strict as Qatar. In this country, all forms of gambling are deemed illegal.

Rather unusual in comparison with other country’s laws, this even includes sports betting. The complete ban on gambling activities has led to an emergence of underground gambling circle, however, if caught, the involved parties pay a high price for their participation. Others try their luck in online gambling which despite being illegal is not impossible as foreign-based sites, though restricted, are accessible.

United Arab Emirates

Though nearly all Islamic countries ban gambling of any kind some enforce these rules more than others. United Arab Emirates is a country that would fall into the former category as it prosecutes all forms of gambling and any person unlucky enough to get caught is in danger of going to jail for up to two years.


Cambodia’s policies on gambling have become stricter for a good reason. The country was known to have serious issues with gambling addiction among its citizens. As a result, all kinds of gambling have been banned in 1996. Permitted are only private lotteries that are sponsored by the government and come in 5 different formats. However, things are a bit brighter for tourists coming to Cambodia as the country does have casinos dedicated specifically to travelers to whom the ban does not apply.

North Korea

North Korea is known to hold quite tight control over the lives of its citizens. Thus it will come as no surprise that the same applies to gambling which is prohibited in all its forms, online and offline. Similar to Cambodia though, the law is kinder to tourists and allows them to visit the only casino in the country, situated in Pyongyang, as part of a guided tour.


Much like the others, Lebanon too forbids participating in any kind of gambling activities. The government even has the right to block any online casinos that are deemed to have broken the law. Despite the ban, however, the country does have one online casino and one land-based casino authorised to operate in the country. And those who want to gamble freely and be sure they are not breaking any laws, can venture into international waters on a designated casino ship.


Under the Singapore Remote Gambling Act, all sorts of online gambling are banned except for operators who had been granted an exemption. There are two of those – Singapore Turf Club and Singapore Pools, both having received their permissions in 2016. The situation around land-based gambling is very similar – only operators with an exemption are deemed legal.

Are you planning to visit any of these countries?

If you have your holiday booked in any of the above mentioned territories, it does not necessarily mean you will not be able to take part in any gambling. As you will find, in many countries the prohibition only applies to their own citizens while tourists are allowed to enjoy a little gamble. It is a good idea though to always check local laws and regulations first, wherever you may travel. Getting arrested or charged a hefty fine could really put a damper on your holiday.

Source: https://lcb.org/news/gambling-prohibitions-world-countries-and-legislation

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