Not everywhere in the world is as tolerant as the United Kingdom when it comes to a cheeky little wager. There are many countries where gambling is a punishable crime and you could face serious legal ramifications and potential jail time if you breach the law. Here are some of the places where gambling is illegal.


This small Muslim country has the Common Gaming House Act which enforces strict anti-gambling laws. Ironically, the royalty of Brunei enjoy gambling in other parts of the world and the Sultan is considered one of the most prolific high rollers to visit other country’s finest casinos.


In this other deeply Muslim country, all forms of gambling including sports betting comes under a blanket ban. Online gambling is also illegal but that has still not stopped an underground gambling network from cropping up. In a country where so many of the population is expats, it is understandable why so many would want to continue with a pastime familiar to them in their native homes.

North Korea

Gambling is on the list of things banned in North Korea. Strangely however, it is perfectly legal for tourists and there is a casino on Pyongyang for people on guided tours. Due to the strict control of internet access in North Korea, it is not possible to gamble online.


Gambling in Cyprus is controlled by the 2012 Betting Law. Under this law, slots and other games played on terminals are allowed but are only allowed in quantities of 50 per business. The 2015 Casino Law granted one casino, the Melco Cyprus Resort, the right to host land-based games, with the resort hopefully opening in 2019. Online betting is prohibited with the exception of sports betting.


Here the government has full control over all gambling and they have prohibited anything unauthorised. They also have the power to block online casinos and have allowed only one online casino to gain the authorisation needed to operate. Likewise, the Casino du Liban in Jounieh is the only land-based legal gambling facility in the country but there is also a casino ship which takes patrons out to international waters; allowing them to gamble to their hearts content, a lot more trouble to go to than simply logging into for a spin of the reels.


The question of gambling in the USA is extremely complicated. While technically legal, allowing the flourishing of Las Vegas and Atlantic City, gambling is a state legislative matter. Nevada and Louisiana are the only two states where gambling is legal state-wide; other states may have it limited to certain cities or completely prohibited.

The ban on sports betting nationwide was overturned in 2018, but gambling in online casinos is still heavily restricted.

The United Arab Emirates

The UAE actively prosecutes against gambling whether it is in land-based casinos or online. The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority actively prohibits access to online casinos through their Internet controls and any players can receive two years jail time if they are caught gambling thanks to the Penal Code’s Article 414.

If you are an active gambler, it is advisable that you do not try to engage in your favourite activities while you are in a country where they are heavily controlled. A poker win can be epic but it is definitely not worth time in jail in a foreign country.

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