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Understanding the Differences in Gambling Laws Throughout Asia



Understanding the Differences in Gambling Laws Throughout Asia

Humans have been gambling in Asia for a long time, specifically over 5000 years. Gambling and illegal gambling has always been somehow woven into our social fabric. Over recent years, this has become more apparent, with over 51% of the world’s population participating in some form of gambling, whether it be sports betting, the lottery, casino poker, slots, roulette and more.

Because of this popularity, the gambling industry is one of the fastest growing, most successful industries in the world, currently worth $449.3 billion globally and expected to grow to $565.4 billion by 2022. This success has prompted many countries to look into the economic benefits of legalizing more forms of gambling, and are hoping to capitalize on this growing fervor.

One such country is Japan, where casino gambling has been illegal 1907, but has recently revised the laws in order to boost the economy, create jobs and attract more tourists. However, this sentiment is not shared across Asia, with some countries still outlawing gambling, and others allowing some forms.


Japan has an interesting history with gambling, in terms of the various changes in law it went through. Historically, gambling for money has always been illegal, with people who broke the laws either being flogged, exiled or sentenced to death. There came a time when there was distinction made between light betting and larger bets, but after gambling became out of control, it was made illegal in 1907 and has since been.

Today, if a person is caught gambling, they would have to pay a fine, and if they continue to do so, or are running a casino, they may face prison time. There are many illegal gambling sites on the internet, however police are constantly arresting those who participate and host. That being said there are a large number of sites that fall into a loophole which is legal, if the sites are hosted offshore they are legal as they’re not governed under the laws of Japan. All of the casinos listed in this article by 6takarakuji fall under that bracket.

There are other, completely legal forms of gambling include public racing sports, namely motorcycle, horse, powerboat and bicycle racing. The other form of legal gambling are lotteries which are sponsored by the governments of respective cities and prefectures. One of the most popular forms of legal gambling is pachinko, and there are many parlors dedicated to this.


Gambling in China has been illegal since 1949, but that doesn’t mean citizens don’t participate. Macau has become the gambling hub of Asia and has generated $36.73 billion in gross revenue from gaming and gambling. There are 41 casinos in Macau that are available to tourists and residents. This has been possible since gambling has been legal in Macau since the 1850’s.

Online gambling is frowned upon in Macau and is not allowed, however residents and tourists are allowed to gamble online if the site is offshore. Gambling in Hong Kong is illegal and has been since 1891 under the Gambling Ordinance, set forth by the Colonial Government. This has since been updated in 1977 to allow gambling from a small number of authorized outlets. There are forms of legal gambling, such as betting on football or horse racing, as well as a national lottery that is regulated by the Hong Kong Jockey Club.

The Philippines

Gambling in the Philippines is legal if a person were to gamble at one of the 42 authorized land-based casinos, which are regulated by the state-owned Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR). These casinos are free to visit for tourists and residents.

The other organization that regulates casinos found in the Cagayan Special Economic Zone and Freeport in the Philippines is FCLRC gaming commission. Residents need to stay at one of the casino resorts in order to gamble, but tourists are free to do so without needing to.

In terms of online casinos, they are legal in the Philippines, however, residents are not allowed to access them, but nothing prohibits residents from accessing offshore sites.


Singapore in Southeast Asia has become a very successful gambling hub, offering two official casinos to tourists and residents. Residents need to pay an entrance fee in an attempt to prevent an addiction to gambling, this fee has recently been increased by 50%.

Residents will also now need to prove that they are not in financial distress or face financial problems if they enter one of the two casinos more than 5 times a month.

Online gambling and online slots in Singapore as a whole are illegal in the country, and so is gambling in a public or private place, such as a gambling house.


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