Is Online Sports Betting Legal? 10 Countries Where Gambling Is Illegal

Last updated: June 14, 2023

Online sports betting has gained significant traction in recent years, with many people eager to participate in this fast-growing industry. As I dive into the topic, it’s essential to consider the legal landscape and how it varies across different states in the US. The legalization of sports betting has undoubtedly become a hot topic, with some states fully embracing it, while others are still on the fence.

While online sports betting is now legal in several states, the process of actually placing bets can be quite confusing for those new to the scene. With various platforms and services available, it’s crucial to know where and how to bet legally and safely. It’s essential to keep in mind that each state has its own set of rules and regulations regarding online sports betting, which can make things even more challenging for aspiring bettors.

Key Takeaways

  • Online sports betting has experienced significant growth, but its legality varies across the US.
  • Knowing where and how to bet legally is essential for a safe betting experience.
  • Different states follow different rules and regulations, making research crucial for aspiring bettors.

Legal Status of Online Sports Betting

As an industry expert, I want to provide you with an overview of the legal status of online sports betting in the United States. The legalization of sports betting has been an ongoing process across the US; as of now, it is legal in some states, while others continue to work on legislation. The Supreme Court played a crucial role in the expansion of sports betting, and the repeal of a key federal law has significantly impacted the industry.

Federal Regulations

The most prominent federal regulation that affected sports betting for a long time was the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA). Enacted in 1992, PASPA outlawed sports betting in most states and limited it to a few states like Nevada. However, in 2018, the Supreme Court struck down PASPA, allowing states to begin passing legislation to legalize sports betting.

Following the repeal of PASPA, various states started introducing their own legislation to either legalize or regulate sports betting. Currently, online sports betting is legal in 36 states and Washington D.C. However, the specific regulations and restrictions may differ from state to state. Some states have fully legalized both online and in-person sports betting, while others have only allowed it at brick-and-mortar locations.

To give you some examples, North Carolina launched sports betting on March 18, 2021, with legislators now working on legalizing online sports betting. On the other hand, Connecticut legalized sports betting in October 2021, with both online and in-person options available.

It is essential for me to keep track of the continuously changing legal landscape of sports betting in the United States. Laws and regulations may evolve, and as a knowledgeable and neutral expert, I ensure that I am aware of these changes and how they might impact the industry.

State by State Analysis

States with Legalized Sports Betting

I can confirm that sports betting is currently legal in more than 30 states across the United States, including New York, New Jersey, Illinois, and Nevada. Some states, like Pennsylvania and Rhode Island, offer a mix of online and in-person sports betting. Other states, such as Tennessee and New Hampshire, have fully embraced the mobile sports betting trend, allowing bets to be placed on mobile apps like DraftKings and FanDuel. Arkansas, for instance, introduced online sports betting on March 5, 2022, with Betly as the first platform.

In some states, such as Oregon and Montana, the state lotteries oversee sports betting regulation, while in others like Mississippi and Iowa, casinos play a role in the administration of this popular pastime.

States in the Process of Legalizing

There are several states currently in the process of legalizing sports betting. North Carolina and Ohio, for example, are working on legislation that would permit sports gambling within their borders. In Kentucky, lawmakers are moving closer to legalizing sports betting, and Maryland has already passed sports betting legislation that would take effect soon. Florida is in an ongoing process to regulate sports betting, most notably in partnership with the Seminole Tribe.

States Where Sports Betting is Illegal

Despite the growing number of states with legalized sports betting, there are still some states where it remains illegal. These include Utah, where gambling of any kind is prohibited, and South Carolina, where betting on sports is not permitted. Other states like Alaska, Idaho, and Wisconsin have shown little to no interest in changing their current laws in favor of sports wagering.

Regardless of the state, it’s essential to stay informed about the latest legislation and be aware of the regulations governing sports betting in one’s jurisdiction.

How to Bet Online Legally

When it comes to online sports betting, it’s essential to ensure that you’re participating legally. In this section, I’ll guide you through the process of choosing a legal sportsbook, creating and verifying your account, and managing your funds.

Choosing a Legal Sportsbook

The first step in betting online legally is to find a reputable and legal sportsbook. Ensure the sportsbook is licensed and regulated in the state where you reside. Mobile sports betting is legal in 26 states, but each state may have different requirements and restrictions.

  • Licensed and regulated: Look for sportsbooks that are fully licensed and regulated by the appropriate gaming authorities within your state.
  • Positive reputation: Check user reviews and expert opinions to identify sportsbooks with a positive track record.
  • Market variety: Choose a platform that offers a wide range of sports and betting options, such as moneylines, spreads, parlays, and futures.
  • Competitive odds: compare odds across different sportsbooks to ensure you are getting the best possible value for your wagers.

Account Creation and Verification

Once you have identified a legal sportsbook, it’s time to create an account. The account creation process typically requires:

  1. Personal information: Provide your name, address, phone number, email, and date of birth.
  2. Username and password: Choose a unique username and a strong, secure password.
  3. Security questions: Select and answer security questions to help protect your account.

It is vital to provide accurate information during the registration process. The sportsbook will likely need to verify your identity to comply with legal requirements. This process may include uploading a copy of your government-issued ID or Social Security number.

Depositing and Withdrawing Funds

The final step to bet online legally is to deposit and withdraw funds from your account. Legal sportsbooks offer various payment methods, such as credit/debit cards, e-wallets like PayPal, and bank transfers. Keep these points in mind:

  • Deposit limits: Be aware of the minimum and maximum deposit limits set by the sportsbook. Often, these limits vary depending on your chosen payment method.
  • Withdrawal options: Make sure your preferred withdrawal method is available and verify any associated fees or withdrawal limits.
  • Processing time: Check the sportsbook’s processing times for both deposits and withdrawals. Instant deposits are common, but withdrawals can take anywhere from a few hours to several days, depending on the method.

By following these steps and ensuring you choose a legal sportsbook, providing accurate information, and managing your funds responsibly, you can enjoy online sports betting without worry.

10 Countries Where Gambling Is Illegal


Gambling is one of the oldest pastime activities that is believed to be as old as humankind itself. However, even though gambling has been around since ever, as it seems, the fact of the matter is that there is still a certain stigma surrounding it.

Even though the gambling industry is one of the biggest and most profitable industries in the world, it still raises some concerns. Namely, since the potential risks of developing unhealthy gambling habits, as well as becoming a gambling addict, are so high, gambling is – unfortunately – not yet considered legal everywhere in the world. 

Luckily, as mentioned earlier, since gambling is such a profitable industry, governments all across the world are constantly looking for ways to legalize and regulate it properly.

That being said, here are 10 countries where gambling is still illegal. 

United Arab Emirates

Gambling is prohibited in almost all Islamic countries. However, while the rules are a bit firmer in some, others choose to turn the blind eye to online gambling. Either due to the lack of regulations or for some other reasons, online gambling is considered to be quite a gray area in many of these countries. But in the United Arab Emirates any type of gambling is strictly prohibited. So much so that, in fact, people who are caught gambling may end up being prosecuted and jailed for up to two years. No only is gambling extremely illegal in United Arab Emirates, but the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority actually prevents users from accessing online casinos.


Brunei is another Islamic country where gambling is considered to be extremely illegal. This country has created the Common Gaming Houses Act that prohibits any type of gambling, both in the online and offline world. According to this Act, Chapter 28: “common gaming house includes any place kept or used for gaming to which the public or any class of the public has or may have access and anyplace kept for habitual gaming whether the public or any class of the public has or may have access thereto or not and any place kept or used for the purpose of a public lottery; “lottery” includes any game, method or device whereby money or money’s worth is distributed or allotted in any manner depending upon or to be determined by chance or lot whether the same be held drawn, exercised or managed within or outside Brunei Darussalam;”


Since Cambodia experienced a real surge in gambling addictions and problem gambling in the past, this type of activity is nowadays strongly prohibited in all forms. That being said, however, Cambodians can still take part in government-sponsored gaming that includes 5 private lotteries. But according to the Suppression of Gambling Act, created in 1996, these rules do not apply to any foreigners. So, if you ever visit Cambodia, do know that you’ll be able to participate in various gambling activities in several different casinos.

North Korea

To no one’s surprise, North Korea is another country where gambling is illegal for its citizens. That being said, tourists are allowed to gamble provided that they’re on guided tours. Unfortunately, there is only a single casino in North Korea, located in Pyongyang, so unless you’re visiting this part of the country, don’t expect to be able to gamble during your stay.


When it comes to Japan, their gambling laws are quite ambiguous. Up until recently, all forms of gambling were considered very illegal. However, there were quite a lot of loopholes that still enabled some sort of gambling activities to take place. For instance, Pachinko was legal to play due to its historical significance. Additionally, participating in racetracks betting and other forms of sports betting was also considered to be more or less allowed. Thanks to the Integrated Resort Programme Law (2016), land-based casino games were legalized in Japan for the first time. And even though land-based gambling is allowed in Japan, online gambling still remains quite illegal.


In Singapore, according to the Private Lotteries Act, all private events are prohibited unless granted a permit. But according to the Common Gaming Houses Act, public lotteries are specially regulated. What this means is that Bingo, lotteries, machine-based games and other forms of gambling are prohibited unless an exemption is granted – in which case they become legal. Land-based sports betting is also illegal except when done through one of the main gambling operators that include Singapore Pools, Singapore Totalisator Board and Singapore Turf Club. Moreover, thanks to the Casino Control Act, land-based gambling is allowed in both public casinos (that’s right, there are only two) but only under special circumstances. Aside from remote sports betting, that is only allowed in either Singapore Turf Club and Singapore Pools, all other forms of online gambling are considered illegal as well.


The majority of gambling in Cyprus is governed by the 2012 Betting Law which allows terminal-based gaming and slots. However, this rule applies up to a maximum of 50 machines. On top of that, 2015’s Casino Law allows land-based table games but only in a single casino called the Melco Cyprus Resort. The only type of online gambling and betting that’s allowed is sports betting and all the other forms of either online or offline gambling are considered illegal.


Qatar is probably one of the most strict countries when it comes to gambling. Here, any type of gambling or betting is considered extremely illegal. That being said, however, Qatar has a very lively underground (And illegal) gambling scene. Unfortunately, any participant of this types of activates runs the risk of being prosecuted for breaking the law, if caught. Online gambling is also considered illegal, but some people still dare to take their chances because although illegal, it’s still possible to gamble online.


In Lebanon, land-based gambling is allowed only at the at Casino du Liban in Jounieh and online gambling is only allowed at a designated online casino. All other forms of unauthorized gambling are considered illegal. Luckily, the Casino du Liban’s ship offers the opportunity to take players into international waters where they enjoy gambling without the fear of breaking any laws.


Historically, both land-based and online gambling were legal in Poland. But all forms of gambling are controlled by strict government monopoly. In 2017, all international operators were required to apply for sports betting licenses and any other form of gambling is legally provided by the designated gambling monopoly exclusively. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Is online betting legal in Texas?

As of my current knowledge, online sports betting is not legal in Texas. The state has strict gambling laws and has not moved forward in legalizing online sports betting.

States with legal sports betting?

As of 2023, there are 36 states in the United States where sports betting is legal. Laws and regulations vary in each state, so it’s important for bettors to check the status and specific rules in their locality.

Is NFL betting allowed online?

Yes, NFL betting is allowed online in states where sports betting is legal. Before participating, make sure to verify the legality of sports betting in your state and follow the local rules and guidelines.

How is DraftKings allowed?

DraftKings operates as a daily fantasy sports platform and sports betting operator. In states where sports betting is legal, DraftKings can offer betting services. DraftKings, along with other daily fantasy sports platforms, can operate legally due to being classified as games of skill rather than games of chance.

How many states permit online betting?

As of 2023, there are 36 states that permit online sports betting. However, the landscape is continually changing, and more states may legalize online betting in the future. It’s crucial to stay updated on the laws in your state.

States where sports betting is illegal?

Currently, 14 states have not legalized sports betting. Each state has its own legal stance and reasoning behind maintaining its ban on sports betting. Bettors should educate themselves on their state’s specific regulations to be informed and avoid potential consequences.