Gambling is still illegal in some countries around the world and this begs the question of why. To find out why is gambling illegal in countries around the world, we need to focus on the underlying reasons that often have to do with morality or religion. Some cultures look upon gambling as an outright sin or even a crime while others are more concerned about the socioeconomic ramifications gambling can bring with it.
These ramifications include underage gambling, developing a problem gambling behavior, or even ending one’s own life because of racking up gambling debt. Put simply, some countries have decided that the only way to avoid the loss of human life or decay of their societal mores is to make gambling illegal.
Why Is Gambling Illegal in the First Place?
In countries where gambling is illegal, laws have specifically outlawed the activity for different reasons. Usually, it is considered sinful, although no religion explicitly states that gambling is a sin. But why is gambling illegal if it’s not really a sin according to religion?
Well, according to countries that have outlawed gambling as a crime, there is an implied morality to consider and gambling clearly goes against the grain of that code of conduct.
Most modern societies, however, agree that the outright ban on gambling is a retroactive approach that doesn’t achieve the desired results, which is to protect the individuals who are susceptible to gambling harm or simply want to participate.
Banning gambling is also the result of lack of a framework that can guarantee the safety of the individual. However, one popular argument is that no matter whether gambling is illegal or not, people will continue to find ways to gamble.
When patrons go to illegal gambling operators they are at an even bigger risk to suffer gambling-related harm or lose their money, or become indebted to criminal organizations, which defeats the original purpose of the authorities making gambling illegal.
Is Gambling Illegal Where You Live?
Another question on the minds of most people who wish to participate in any form of gambling is if it is illegal to gamble at home? That depends on the jurisdiction you are based in and also the form of gambling you wish to participate in. Different countries have their own laws for different kinds of gambling activities, including:
- Sports betting
These activities could take place online, at a bookmaker, casino, or any other venue allocated for the purpose of carrying out gambling operations. Either way, verifying if you are legally allowed to gamble and whether the activity is considered a criminal offense is very easy and requires just a moment’s research work.
While many countries may have not passed laws to make gambling legal, it’s not illegal for you to gamble even though there are no licensed websites in your country. The downside here is that you will be trusting offshore websites that have no obligation to fulfill outstanding payments to you.
There are offshore brands that have established a reputation, however, and which you can trust. It’s important to be able to note the difference between offshore gambling websites and illegal gambling websites, though, as they are not the same.
Where Is Gambling Illegal?
Currently, there are only 15 countries where gambling is illegal and specifically, outright banned to the point where you cannot participate in any form of gambling and if you did so, you would face criminal prosecution. Why is gambling a crime in those jurisdictions? Once again, it has to do with the societal perception of the activity as degrading. These jurisdictions and countries include:
- North Korea
- United Arab Emirates
- Singapore, Brunei
More countries include the Cayman Islands, Afghanistan, Indonesia, Algeria, Vatican City, and Pakistan. These countries are bound to transition towards legalizing the activity one day if not only for the added tax value they could reap if they legalize gambling, which is going to happen whether the state sanctions it officially or not. Some countries like China and Japan have a generally gung-ho approach towards gambling, but they have been easing it up as of late.
Gambling is actually a big part of Japan’s culture, as some of the best gambling animes out there attest. Specifically, gambling was seen as a way to progress upward in society in the years after the war, and even more interestingly, in Japanese culture, being a good cheat is actually an admired quality.
Is Gambling a Crime Even in Legal Markets?
Yes, gambling can be a crime even in markets where the activity has been legalized. While legalizing gambling is a great step towards accumulating additional revenue for the state coffers, the incidence of illegal gambling doesn’t stop there. Many individuals and often organized crime groups decide to use gambling as the means of laundering money or transfer criminal proceedings.
In other words, just because gambling is legal in your jurisdiction doesn’t mean that there aren’t people who are systematically trying to break the law by running illicit operations. However, this is also when gambling becomes a crime.
Running illegal gambling venues means that the guilty party is punishable by law and the size and severity of the punishment depends on the level of transgression.
Will Gambling Remain Illegal in Places?
While it’s unlikely for gambling to always be illegal even countries where it’s greatly restricted, such as China, there is no way to know with certainty when it would be allowed to scale. China prefers to only allow citizens to participate in lotteries. Chinese nationals are free to travel to neighboring gambling hubs, and most often Macau, where they can play as much as they want to.
The United States is one of the latest countries where gambling was considered illegal until recently, but the suspension of several restrictive federal laws has opened the flood gates, and gambling, such as sports betting, is no longer considered illegal in the United States.