Where is Gambling Legal in the World?

Are online casinos legal everywhere? Where is gambling legal anyway? A comparison of the legal status of gambling worldwide.

Your attitude or opinions towards gambling are likely to be heavily influenced by where you reside. For example, if you happened to be born in the UK, you will be very familiar with betting adverts not so gently encouraging you to bet on the upcoming football match. In complete contrast to this, if you reside in a country where it is possible to serve jail time for what some merely consider a hobby, your relationship with gambling will understandably be very different.

Poker professionals in the USA are often forced to move to states or, in some cases, different countries to make their living through playing poker online. This should give you some idea of how complex gambling rules can be and how they vary tremendously globally.

With this in mind, it would be fun to look around and see how casino laws vary worldwide, exploring each continent.

Gambling Industry Close to Being Valued at $100 Billion

Due to technological progress and evolving regulations, the online casino sector is anticipated to record a revenue of $95.05 billion by the end of this calendar year. Nonetheless, the legal status of online betting varies across governments, with each having its own perspective.

The reasons for such variations are vast, and we will touch upon some of those reasons throughout.

Some of the countries we highlight below will not surprise you, but some countries have tighter gambling regulations than others might expect. Without further ado, here is our summarization of global gambling regulations.

Where is Gambling legal?

Monaco casino Europe
The Grand Casino in Monaco.


As per market reports, projections indicate that the European casino market is poised to reach €126.3 billion by 2026. Overall, European nations have led the way in regulating online gambling, with various countries establishing robust frameworks to govern the industry.

Notable European jurisdictions that have legalized online gambling include Malta, the United Kingdom, the Isle of Man, Alderney, and Gibraltar. These nations have instituted licensing authorities to supervise online casino platforms, ensuring equitable gameplay and safeguarding consumer interests.

For the most part, Europeans can gamble without too many restrictions; however, in countries like Poland, options are limited for residents since bettors can only use Polish-licensed operators.

Also, it might come as a surprise that, for the most part, gambling is prohibited in Norway. There are also quite heavy restrictions in Turkey, Greece and even Cyprus. This might seem surprising since the country is known for its casino-related tourism and Europe’s largest casino resort, “The City of Dreams,” is currently under construction there.

US/North America

In the United States, each state possesses the authority to either legalize or prohibit online casinos within its jurisdiction. Because of this decentralized model, we see a diverse landscape where some states have accepted gambling while others have taken a more conservative approach.

It is legal to gamble online in nearly half of the U.S. states, such as Nevada, New Jersey, Delaware, and Pennsylvania, but the rules are not uniform. For example, some states have legalized traditional online casinos, but sports betting might still not be legal.

Paris hotel Las VEgas casino
The Paris Hotel in Las Vegas.

In Canada, online casinos have different rules nationally, and the regulations also differ by province. For instance, Betway is permitted by the federal government of Canada, but each province sets its own rules that govern the online casino’s operations.

Overall, Canada has a more centralized approach to online gambling with both federal permission and provincial discretion.

South America

South America has experienced an increase in online gambling regulations, with countries such as Mexico legalizing the activity.

A similar scenario exists in Argentina, where market regulation occurs at the provincial level.

However, in Brazil, online casinos have yet to be fully legalized, although sports betting has received legal approval.

The ongoing complexities surrounding amendments, tax rates, and structural requirements for sports betting operators have added to uncertainties regarding the progression of online casino legislation in Brazil.


In South Africa, Gambling is legal and regulated, with casinos, sports betting, and the national lottery being popular. Online gambling is also permitted, but operators must be licensed.

Nigeria is another African country where gambling is regulated at the state level, and laws can vary. Some states permit casinos and sports betting, while others have stricter regulations.

Africa is becoming an increasingly attractive market for already developed nations, and major industry players in gambling, such as MGM and Bet365 Group, would want a presence there in the future.

As countries in Africa evolve into more developed countries, the iGaming industry is likely to become more prevalent there and contribute positively to their economies. However, there are 54 countries, each with different cultures, so the regulations are likely to vary significantly throughout the continent.


Macau casino
Macau’s casino skyline by night.

Gambling regulations vary significantly across Asia, and this is primarily because of the cultural and religious influences there.

Macau stands out as a major gambling hub in this region, as it even surpasses Las Vegas in gambling revenue, but its liberal approach to gambling can not be seen commonly elsewhere in Asia.

Regions like Singapore and parts of the Philippines also have a strong gambling culture, which helps fuel the countries’ economic development and tourism.

Islam and Hinduism are the two largest religions in Asia, and both strictly prohibit any form of gambling for their followers.

Culture is also heavily influenced by religion in these regions, and because of this, gambling has a social stigma attached to it as well. All these factors have led to strict government regulations that outright ban gambling in many Asian countries.

The Reasons for Such Varying Gambling Laws Worldwide

Online casinos’ legal status differs from region to region, and numerous countries are increasingly entering the market in anticipation of receiving a slice of its lucrative multi-billion dollar revenue.

Consequently, it is crucial to stay informed about any shifts in the market, as many countries frequently update regulations.

Despite the stigma associated with gambling in some regions, it is now increasingly being seen as entertainment. With ongoing regulatory improvements and better security, the industry is becoming more controlled and secure. Ultimately, this will ensure an enjoyable experience for all participants.

This commitment to improvement shows that gambling is not just an economic resource but also an engaging form of leisure.