Betting Regulations Around The World

With the internet spreading to all corners of the world, betting without restrictions has become easier than ever but in certain countries, regulations still affect the majority of the population. We should all be aware that gambling is widely banned in the United States but similar nations have either outlawed the practise or imposed rules that make it hard to stake freely.

Here is a general round up of those regulations and how those residents are affected.

United Kingdom

uk-flag-ncsResidents of the United Kingdom can bet across the bookmakers more freely, although a recent change in regulations means that a number of operators no longer do business here. Essentially it’s all down to money and while some bookies find that it is cost prohibitive to open their doors to UK bettors, the choice of outlets has narrowed to an extent.

The issues came after December 2014 when the UK Gambling Commission changed the Gambling (Licensing and Advertising Bill) so that the practise of remote play was changed from a place of supply taxation basis to a point of consumption basis.

In short, it meant that anyone providing gambling services outside of the UK would have to pay a far greater levy and it saw operators such as Pinnacle and BetRally pull out of the country. Now, anyone based in Britain who heads over to those sites will be blocked from even viewing the portal.

Fortunately, the UK betting community still has all its old favourites such as William Hill, Ladbrokes, Coral and Bet365 while it’s good to see new UK betting sites such as EnergyBet and BETEAST paying the extra tax level and opening their doors to UK customers.

Rest of Europe

In general terms, betting is perfectly legal in mainland Europe but there are exceptions. In addition, there are tax laws to navigate and similarly to the UK, some bookies are finding that it just isn’t cost effective to trade in certain parts of the continent.

At the start of 2017, William Hill announced that they would no longer trade with residents of the Czech Republic and shortly afterwards, MarathonBet confirmed that they were following suit. 888 subsequently announced that they were ceasing business operations in Slovenia so this is a very fluid situation and we can expect to see similar developments in the months that follow.

There are very distinct cases where gambling is regulated or in the case of Ukraine, the practise is illegal. The country took this decision in 2009 after a fatal fire in a gambling hall in Dnipropetrovsk. In Russia, gambling is legal only in four regional areas and is banned elsewhere whereas in Norway, there is a general ban with only two companies approved to provide betting services.

Due to very high regulations elsewhere, it is common for operators to exclude a number of European countries from their special promotions. Although they may well provide facilities for residents to open an account and gamble online, they can restrict extra value by removing those bonuses.

United States of America

usa-flag-ncsGo anywhere in the world and you can trace the history of betting back over 100s of years and the United States is no exception. Laws to restrict its practise were introduced as early as the 1850s and the various governments have been battling against its underground nature ever since.

There isn’t a blanket ban in the country but in most states, gambling is completely outlawed and the same applies to any of their residents attempting to access betting services via the internet. Most bookies will exclude any customers from the United States but there are a few exceptions where operators will open up to states such as Nevada where the practise is allowed.

Therefore, you will find a very small clutch of US bookies such as BetOnline, 5Dimes, Bovada, Intertops, TopBet and others but the subject remains a contentious one and most outlets prefer not to trade here.


canada-flag-ncsAnyone setting up a betting business in Canada must obtain an official license from the government but the vast majority of online bookmakers can easily circumnavigate that rule. Licenses are commonly obtained in Malta, Curacao, Isle of Man and elsewhere so that particularly unusual Canadian rule doesn’t apply.

Residents of Canada can then bet via these channels but there is a very specific restriction that applies. Players from this country cannot stake single or double bets on any event and instead, can only make parlay wagers with three or more selections.

Despite this very unusual stipulation, there is a wide choice of bookies for anyone in Canada looking to open an account. There are north American focused operators such as BetOnline while other, more global names including Bet365, William Hill and Betway will also come on board.


australia-flag-ncsGambling in Australia is generally tolerated by the government these days but there are restrictions, particularly on physical premises and as a result, there are very few casinos across the country. The first casino license was granted in 1973 and even in the present day, there are just twelve such premises across such a vast continent.

However, this is a country with a keen interest in gaming: you see the famous ‘pokie’ machines in bars all over Australia and the residents’ demand for sports betting is just as strong.

As for online gambling, this is permissible and it is all governed by the Interactive Gambling Act of 2001. This makes it much harder for an operator to get a license to trade in Australia so what we find is that many familiar names opt not to do business. As a result, Australian focused bookies such as PanBet and LuxBet do very well even though they are largely unknown outside of their native country.


china-flag-ncsChina is another country that provides something of a grey area when it comes to gambling. Officially, the practise is illegal across the nation but residents can openly participate in China’s own state run lotteries.

It is also permissible to cross into the special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau, where gambling is legal, in order to play freely. Macau in particular is a popular casino resort with gamblers from all over the world.

Hong Kong was a British territory up until 1997 and many English laws relating to gambling still apply there. Meanwhile, the majority of legal betting is overseen by the Hong Kong Jockey Club. In Macau, Casinos dominate the industry with tourists flocking from across the planet.


japan-flag-ncsOnce again, Japan provides some contradictions. In general, the practise is banned by the criminal code but certain sports such as horse racing and specific areas of motor sport are exempt from the ruling.

National run lottery and football pools options are also available to residents in the country but like many other nations, the strict regulations mean that much of gambling has gone underground.


india-flag-ncsIndians are mad about their sport and thousands flock to watch cricket, soccer and other events all over the country. Gambling is, however, heavily regulated and it is left up to the individual states to decide whether its citizens can take part.

As we’ve seen elsewhere, this largely means that certain sports such as horse racing are exempt from any restrictions and state run lotteries are also prevalent right across India. As a general rule, the government divides things up between games of skill and games of chance and anything governed by chance that isn’t state run, is highly regulated or outlawed.

Rest of the World

By now we have seen something of a pattern emerge across the nations of the world and if you live in a country such as the United Kingdom where gambling is widely accepted, then you may be in something of a minority.

In some countries, the practise of gambling is outlawed altogether and where certain nations allow the practise, it can become very highly regulated.

In countries where gambling has historically been an issue for the government, the birth of the internet and the rise in online betting has given them further problems to address. We’ve seen how, in Canada, anyone setting up business within the country has to follow strict rules in order to obtain a license but those online operators who have registered in other parts of the world have easily circumnavigated this question.

We’ve also seen how very idiosyncratic rules can apply in certain countries. The practise of banning certain sports from the gambling list while allowing others is very common, while in Canada once again, they have the rather unusual ruling where you can only stake on multiples with three or more selections.

It’s also an area that is changing all the time with betting sites pulling out of specific countries on occasions. The future is unwritten but one thing is certain with things likely to remain fluid and set to alter on a consistent basis in the months and years that lie ahead.