In the UK, we enjoy great gambling freedom. The idea that gambling may not be allowed feels completely alien to us. However, this is a privileged position. There are a number of countries worldwide with extremely restrictive gambling laws. If you’re planning your holidays and are hoping for some bingo fun, then be sure to cross the following countries off your list of possible destinations.
In Japan, the law does not permit gambling. Luckily, there are certain loopholes that can be exploited to facilitate various forms of gambling. Thanks to this, the Japanese are able to enjoy Pachinko.
It is common to find Pachinko parlours that look and operate similarly to casinos. Whilst Pachinko balls that are won cannot be exchanged for money, they can be traded for “special prize” tokens. The tokens can then be exchanged for cash at vendors that are separated from the Pachinko parlour.
Importantly, the casinos can only operate if they are in resorts that include entertainment venues, international conference halls, and a hotel. While theoretically, this loophole makes gambling in Japan accessible, no gambling resorts have yet been built.
Similar to Japan, in Singapore, gambling exists in a grey area. The country’s laws almost have a blanket ban on gambling, but it is possible to gamble at two casinos located in integrated resorts. Furthermore, Singaporeans are able to play TOTO, 4D, and the Singapore Big Sweep as long as tickets are bought from an authorised vendor.
In addition, sports betting is also possible, but only if bets are placed with one of the three recognized gambling operators, the Singapore Pools, the Singapore Totalisator Board, or the Singapore Turf Club. This means that online sports betting is illegal, as are lottery games. In short, if you want to gamble in Singapore, the integrated resorts are your best bet.
In Qatar, the rules on gambling are far more black and white. All forms of gambling are strictly forbidden. There are no land-based casinos or betting terminals where players can place wagers. The country simply has a zero tolerance approach to gambling.
Due to this complete restrictiveness, Qatar has a massive underground gambling scene with those who are caught facing severe penalties. On the other hand, it is possible to sign up for offshore gambling sites, and while this theoretically can result in prosecution, it very rarely does.
Following the introduction of the 2012 Betting Law in Cyprus, the country only allows terminal-based gaming and slots. The country has a lot of registered online casinos due to the friendly laws, but permits a maximum of 50 machines, and they can be found in the Melco Cyprus Resort. It is the only premises authorised to offer land-based gambling.
Online gambling is strictly illegal, except for online sports betting with the exception of dog racing and horse racing betting, which are still illegal in Cyprus. Betting terminals are available through OPAP and the state’s lottery.
In Poland, gambling has become quite restricted due to the Polish government creating a monopoly. Since the first Gambling Act was passed in 2009, there have been numerous changes to Polish gambling laws. It is possible to gamble with offshore operators, but this falls into the unregulated market.
The Polish government introduced new gambling regulations in April 2017 that required international operators to apply for a sports betting license. This allowed several online bookies to operate legally in Poland. Unfortunately, online casinos and online poker are still illegal. In total, there are fifteen land-based casinos in the country.
In Cambodia, gambling regulations are also rather harsh. In 1996, the Law on Suppression of Gambling was introduced in an attempt to reduce high levels of gambling addiction. This made gambling of any kind illegal for Cambodian citizens.
The exception is that Cambodian citizens are able to participate in the five private lotteries run by the government. In addition, citizens can play other government-sponsored gaming events.
Furthermore, if you are thinking of visiting the country, you are in luck. In October 2015, a reported 75 regulated casinos were operating in the country, only accepting foreigners and tourists onto the premises.
Unsurprisingly, there is a thriving underground gambling scene. A particular passion is betting on cockfighting. However, this is completely illegal and punishable by imprisonment.
It is illegal to gamble in North Korea but the country has just a single casino, which is located in Pyongyang. It is possible for tourists to gamble there, provided they prove that they are part of a guided tour.
There are many countries worldwide that do not permit gambling or have numerous restrictions. However, most of the world does permit gambling, and if you are after a game of bingo while on your holiday, it shouldn’t be too much trouble.