List of Countries Where Betting Has Been Legalized

list of countries where betting has been legalized

The act of betting has been on for ages and the debate on whether betting should be legalized or not has been going on in several states and countries.

Now the debate is mostly based on several factors, including customs, traditions and the freedom of doing the business of individuals.

This article will give an insight on the ten top countries where betting is legal.


#1: The United Kingdom

When it comes to betting the United Kingdom has the largest market in the whole of Europe and its laws and used as a pedestal in most Europe as well as commonwealth states.

All betting activities in the UK are regulated by the Gambling Act from 2005, which confers on the UK Gambling Commission the legislative powers to regulate, monitor and control betting actions in the United Kingdom.

This  Gambling Commission gives  a number of betting licenses to operators who are in the country to operate  betting, casino games .lotteries and all shades of betting(Both online and offline)

The United Kingdom which is known as one of the most responsible betting jurisdictions in the whole of Europe and its model is been followed by other countries.

The most recent betting from 2014 mandates it that any betting operator in the UK must obtain a license from the Gambling Commission before doing business.


#2: Portugal

Portugal has in recent years regulated the modus operandi of betting and gambling activities in the company. Till 2015, betting was under monopoly from the Santa Casa de Misericordia de Lisboa

However, Since the online betting model has been birth, international bookies can now operate in  Portugal, under the strict condition to get a betting license from the Portuguese government.

But we must not forget that this new introduction came with heavy backlash from betting companies who complained that the tax placed on them were exorbitant.

The name of the government agency in charge of gambling and issues pertaining to betting licenses to interested operators is known as “The Serviço de Regulação e Inspeção de Jogos do Turismo de Portugal” (SRIJ). As at today, the following betting services are legal: baccarat, blackjack, slots, poker, roulette, bingo and fixed-odds sports betting and horse races.


#3: Austria

Betting of all kinds is legal in Austria, although the authorities took steps to monitor all its land-based and web-based betting activities.

In the country, there are a set of rules which are unique since the betting laws define “proper” betting as where huge sums of cash are involved, and “small betting ”, where gamblers stake money of 50 cents or lower.

The present gambling legislation allows the authorities to give licenses to companies established in the country looking to run an online website, though they are only allowed to give licenses to Austrian citizens.

The common betting markets in Austria include the German Bundesliga and other top European leagues.


#4: Switzerland

Betting is not a new thing to Swiss residents with more than 60% of the country population participating in various kind of online and offline bets which includes sports betting, poker, and casino games.

From the year 1921 to 1993, all betting activities have been banned in Switzerland. However, in 1993, there came a law called the “Federal Law on Games of Chance and Casinos” which allows limited bettors, casino gambling and also, in 2000, all pegged place on betting were eradicated from land-based betting.

Due to the new rules and legislation, games are divided into two spheres: bets of skill and bets of chance.

For online betting in Switzerland, things are a little different. Internet betting activities are prohibited by the state and there is no legislation created for this industry.

However, Swiss citizens are allowed to stake on international betting sites, especially from Italy, Germany, and France, which the government is liberal with.



#5: France

Betting activities have always been popular among French citizens.

Although betting is legal in France, it pays more for the land-based companies than the web-based companies. This is because the authorities can feel the presence of the land-based bookies than the online based betting companies who they are scared can run away with people’s hard earned money. Apart from the difficulty faced by online betting companies, the present betting legislation has imposed high taxes which make life difficult for any online operator. The latest legislative bills that are connected to online betting activities have been introduced by the authorities in 2009 to legalize three online gambling activities: poker, sports betting, and horse races betting.


#6: Italy

Italian legislation makes a distinction between games of luck and games of skill. It is because of this, those sports-betting activities and other betting options are been considered games of skill and therefore needs to be regulated legally.

Betting rules in Italy changed in 2006 because of various pressures from the European Commission, which requires a free market for both local and foreign companies. Due to this, Italy gradually opened its market to include poker, cash games, video poker to finally include casino games of chance.

In the year 2009, the Italian government amended the betting laws in alignment with the European Commission wants

International operators must get a license from the AAMS (Autonomous Administration of State Monopolies) in order to do business.


#7: Spain

Betting activities in Spain are regulated and legal.

The Spanish laws state that the legislative power to coordinate betting activities must be shared by the state and various authorities in different regions.

A major step in legalizing betting activities in Spain occurred in 20111 with the introduction of the Spanish Gambling Act that looks overall betting activities in all the regions of the country.

This Spanish Gambling Act controls the national betting operations via different means which includes means of electronic, interactive and technological systems

The body regulating betting control and issuing gaming licenses is known as General Directorate for the Regulation of Gambling Activities.


#8: Ireland

Betting activities in Ireland, until the recent developments have been in a state of quagmire, however from 2015, Irish betting activities have been governed by the Gaming and Lotteries Act of 1956.

The Gambling Act which was adopted in 2015 enables new taxes for online betting activities among Irish residents and foreign companies. What this implies is that all kinds of betting – Land and Web – are regulated and legal at this point in Ireland. Internet betting legislation in Ireland is free and the Irish Authority is supreme when it comes to issuing licenses to operators.


#9: Belgium

To protect citizens and all concerned individual s interested in betting in the country, the Belgium government introduced a fresh Gambling Act in 2009. The most pertinent provisions of the Act mandates that companies who are interested in betting business in Belgium need to acquire a license for a physical betting location or casino.

Moreover, to make betting regulations clearer and well monitored, the authorities reduces the number of gaming licenses that could be given out at a particular time.

For any bookie trying to operate without an appropriate license, the Belgium Gaming Commission will blacklist such operator and slap such operator with a huge fine.


#9: Netherlands

Gambling events in the Netherlands are legal, although it is strictly under the control of the government.

.In spite of the various efforts made by the Dutch authorities to monopolize the betting industry in the country, a huge number of its citizens still patronize international bookies to gamble.

Web-based betting events in the country are supervised by the Netherlands Gaming Authority and the recent information in the online gambling environment from a legislative overview happened in 2016 when a new Remote betting Bill was passed.

This law controls online betting events and offers the appropriate model which permits the government authorities to issue betting licenses to domestic and foreign betting companies.



In conclusion, you will notice I didn’t mention the USA, this is because the legal status of betting in the US is complicated and it depends on the state you reside in.. This article will not be complete if we don’t give various reasons why some countries refuse to legalize betting.

Firstly,  some strict Religious societies and countries, gambling is considered to be a sin and as such it will be wrong to legalize what the Holy book considers “Haram”(Taboo). Also, some consider betting to be addictive and such dangerous to its citizens well being

Moreover, betting has been linked to various crime like theft and armed robbery, therefore some countries in order to minimize such vices do not want any kind of betting in their environment.

It has also been proven that some foreign betting companies use their companies are as a front to launder money and perpetrate all kinds of international financial fraud, Some operators have been caught have made to leave the country.

Betting has come to stay whether we like it or not, but we have to be on the side of the law if we are to engage in the act.


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