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Countries Where Sports Betting Remains Illegal…

Sports betting has been a popular pastime for many individuals worldwide, offering excitement and the possibility of financial gains. However, the legal landscape surrounding sports betting varies greatly from country to country. While some nations have embraced the industry and established regulated markets, others have chosen to restrict or outright ban sports betting. In this article, we will provide an in-depth analysis of the countries where sports betting remains illegal, examining the reasons behind these prohibitions and the potential implications for the industry.

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1. United Arab Emirates (UAE)

The United Arab Emirates is known for its strict adherence to Islamic law, which prohibits gambling activities. As a result, sports betting, along with other forms of gambling, is strictly prohibited in the country. The UAE enforces this ban through various legislation, including the Federal Penal Code and the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority’s regulations. The government’s stance on gambling is rooted in cultural and religious beliefs that prioritize moral values and discourage activities that are perceived as potentially harmful to individuals and society.

2. Singapore

Singapore has taken a similar approach to the UAE regarding sports betting. Although the country has a thriving casino industry, sports betting remains illegal for Singaporean citizens. The Remote Gambling Act of 2014 prohibits both online and offline sports betting, aiming to minimize the potential social and economic harms associated with gambling. Singapore’s government aims to maintain social order and prevent the negative consequences that unregulated gambling can bring, such as addiction, crime, and financial problems.

3. Japan

Japan, despite its reputation as a technologically advanced nation and its thriving entertainment industry, maintains a strict stance against sports betting. In Japan, only certain forms of gambling, such as horse racing and some motorsports, are legal. Sports betting on other events, including popular sports like football and baseball, remains illegal. The government has expressed concerns over match-fixing and the potential negative impact on the integrity of sports events. However, with the upcoming 2020 Tokyo Olympics and growing interest in integrated resorts, the topic of legalizing sports betting has gained some traction.

4. South Korea

South Korea has adopted a similar approach to Japan, with limited legal options for sports betting. While betting on horse racing, cycling, and boat racing is permitted, wagering on other sports is illegal. The South Korean government cites concerns about match-fixing, gambling addiction, and the social consequences associated with unregulated betting as reasons for the ban. Despite this prohibition, illegal sports betting activities continue to persist in the country, prompting discussions about potential regulation and taxation to address these issues effectively.

5. Qatar

Qatar, as an Islamic state, strictly prohibits all forms of gambling, including sports betting. The Qatari legal system is based on Sharia law, which considers gambling as morally wrong and detrimental to individuals and society. The country has taken steps to enforce this ban through stringent legislation, including the Qatar Penal Code and the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority’s regulations. The government’s intent is to preserve cultural and religious values and protect its citizens from the potential harms associated with gambling.

6. North Korea

North Korea, an isolated communist state, has implemented a total ban on gambling, including sports betting. The government strictly controls all aspects of its citizens’ lives, and any form of gambling is seen as a potential threat to the regime’s control. While the exact reasons for the ban on sports betting in North Korea are not explicitly stated, it aligns with the country’s general stance against activities that deviate from its ideological principles.

7. Brunei

Brunei also has strict gambling laws. All forms of gambling, including sports betting, are illegal. The government of Brunei has a zero-tolerance policy towards gambling, and those caught gambling can face severe penalties, including imprisonment.

8. Camboidia

Cambodia experienced a real surge in gambling addictions and problem gambling in the past, so this type of activity is nowadays strongly prohibited in all forms.

9. Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia is another country with strict gambling laws. All forms of gambling are illegal, including sports betting. The government of Saudi Arabia enforces these laws strictly, and those caught gambling can face severe penalties, including imprisonment.


Sports betting, despite its popularity in many parts of the world, remains illegal in several countries for various reasons, ranging from religious and cultural beliefs to concerns about addiction and match-fixing. While these countries enforce strict regulations and penalties to curb illegal betting activities, the prevalence of online platforms and the potential revenue from a regulated market have sparked discussions in some nations about the possibility of legalizing and regulating sports betting. However, the decision to do so requires careful consideration of the potential benefits and risks associated with the industry. As the global landscape of sports betting continues to evolve, it remains essential to strike a balance between protecting citizens and preserving cultural values while addressing the demands of an increasingly interconnected world.

Written by Punters Digest

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