9 Countries With the Biggest Legal Restrictions on Gambling

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Gambling is a fun recreational activity for many, but some countries prohibit gambling of any kind. Fortunately on this side of the world, in most countries, we can play roulette for free online from our homes. Today we will tell you about those nations where the situation is very different.

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Last updated: May 2024

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North Korea

North Koreans are not allowed to gamble in places with betting systems such as casinos, lotteries, horse races, or pools. The punishment for participating in any form of gambling ranges from confiscation of personal property. Imprisonment in labor camps, depending on the state the player is in when caught.

Saudi Arabia

Although in Saudi Arabia some people use VPN services to be able to play free roulette or blackjack online if they are caught or reported for gambling they could pay up to six months in prison.

United Arab Emirates

Dubai is known as one of the most exciting cities in the world, but it does not mean that the country where this city is located is as permissive as other nations with large cities.

United Arab Emirates law explicitly prohibits boat racing. The same goes for all other forms of gambling, including casino games such as roulette or blackjack which are widely played in Spain.


The Sultan of Brunei, Hassanal Bolkiah, is known for his extravagant lifestyle. He has a net worth of more than 15 million euros and lives in a palace with 1,800 rooms. However, when it comes to gambling, it is completely prohibited in this Muslim nation.


As part of its plan to attract more tourists to such an attractive country, Cambodia has recently legalized not only casino gambling not on gamstop, but also online gambling. However, these new laws are not without restrictions. Cambodians are still prohibited from gambling and these pastimes are only for foreigners in the country.


The first thing that comes to mind when you think of Qatar is oil, lots and lots of oil. The second thing could be soccer, as the 2022 FIFA World Cup held in this wealthy Middle Eastern nation. However, if you are thinking of betting any money on that event or another casino game in the country, we tell you that you cannot, betting is prohibited under Qatari law, which states that anyone found guilty can face criminal charges which can be prison terms and/or heavy fines for playing poker or roulette.


The Prevention of Gambling Act 1977, based on the British-era Public Gambling Act of 1867, prohibits Pakistani citizens from gambling. Provincial versions of this legislation went into effect in 1978 and effectively prohibited gambling.

Pakistanis who engage in gambling related activities under this legislation may face various penalties depending on the circumstances. Those who knowingly run games can be fined up to RS 1,000 or serve up to one year in jail, or both.

However, foreigners in Pakistan can place bets at resorts that are approved by the government.


Gambling laws are quite specific in Iran as betting and gambling are illegal for both nationals and foreigners throughout the country.

However, in the age of digitization and NFTs, it is very difficult to monitor what people do online, so many users from the Persian nation access online casinos regularly. And the government desperately tries to regulate gambling.


Although China is famous for its Macau casinos, and the huge sums of money that pass through them, gambling has yet to be legalized in mainland China, where it remains illegal.

That hasn't stopped hundreds of millions of Chinese from betting on soccer games or participating in other forms of “mahjong,” a game similar to gin rummy. You can also bet in Hong Kong, where gambling is legal under the special administrative region law.


In short, despite how big or small the fines and penalties for breaking the gambling laws are. Casinos around the world continue to make millions of dollars every year!

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