Different Gambling Laws in Asia

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Asia is the largest and most populous region in the world. It is a melting pot of varying cultures, religions and political ideologies. Asia is also an emerging giant when it comes to economic and business activities, this is the reason why many companies in Western countries are investing in Asian nations and establishing their subsidiaries there.

However, despite the emerging economic boom in Asia, there is one particular industry that is still struggling to break through because of polarizing and even vague laws regarding this industry in some Asian countries. The industry that we are talking about is gambling, both land-based and online.

Here, we will discuss the differing gambling laws in some Asian countries that hinder, regulate or support the gambling activities in each Asian nation.

Mainland China

China is the largest nation in Asia and it has a unitary government presided over by a single party system. The country has strict gambling laws and all types of gambling are prohibited there. The laws are so strict that any person or organization that provides or profits from those services are severely penalized and put to prison.


Macau is a special administrative division of China, it is separate from the rest of the provinces of China and enjoys full autonomy along with Hong Kong. Even if the diplomatic relations and national defence is provided by China, Hong Kong and Macau have their own legal systems separate from the mainland.

Because of the aforementioned system, Macau allows both land-based and online casinos. Currently, Macau surapsses Las Vegas as the new Gambling Capital in the world and because of its humongous gambling revenue.

Hong Kong

Hong Kong, alongside Macau, is also a special administrative division of mainland China. Both of the divisions enjoy full autonomy in their regions that is why gambling is allowed in this region.

However, unlike Macau, which has successful land-based casinos with luxurious hotels and shopping centers, Hong Kong specializes in sports betting, horserace betting and lottery.


Thailand is one of the Asian countries who imposed a total ban towards gambling activities. All forms of gambling are not allowed there except lottery and horserace betting which the latter is still restricted.

Although the country prohibits gambling, many citizens are still engaging in underground gambling and offshore betting.


The gambling laws in Malaysia are pretty vague. There is no specific law that penalizes or prohibits all forms of gambling. The laws pertaining to betting are also obsolete and there are no specific guidelines regarding the availability of online gamling services.

However, even if online gambling is still ignored by local governments and residents are continuously availing online gambling services, the country is still operating under Sharia Law which means it is still dangerous to commit any crime.


There is a split in the gambling rupees in the Philippines. The country is divided under two gaming authorities, PAGCOR and Cagayan Economic Zone Authority.

The PAGCOR controls all gambling establishments in the country including land-based casinos and sports betting outlets. PAGCOR also allows independent casino owners to operate. Meanwhile in the Cagayan Economic Zone, it has its own set of gambling rules and provides licenses to online casinos to operate.

Like Malaysia, India also has vague laws when it comes to gambling. There are only two states that allow some forms of gambling: Sikkim and Goa. All forms of gambling are also banned except state lotteries.


Singapore has clear albeit restrictive laws pertaining to gambling, the one popular one is the Remote Gambling Act of 2014 which blocks any access of the residents to offshore casino gaming sites.

Even though the state has two luxurious brick and mortar casinos: Marina Bay Sands and Resorts World Sentosa, these two casinos are only catering for foreigners and tourists. If a local resident wishes to enter these casinos, one has to pay a large sum of money for a one day visit and has to comply with a lot of restrictions.