Gambling in Asia

Harold Anderson
Gambling in Asia.

Gambling in Asia has been a popular pastime with money games or for free for a very long period, from simple card games like “13”, Pai Gow Poker, etc to more elaborate gambling. I’d even say that with such a huge market, everyone will find entertainment for themself. However, I want to warn you, as with any form of gambling, it is important to be aware of risks and gamble responsibly. Below I will tell in a few sentences about some of the most popular gambling activities, and then we will focus on each country.

A well-known fact is that the common form of money game in Asia is a lottery. You will see confirmation of this below in this review. As always, lotteries offer players a chance to win big prizes for a relatively small investment. At the same time, the odds of winning are very low. It’s normal that people spend more money on tickets than they can ever win back. I mean during years.

The second place by popularity form of gambling in Asia is occupied by betting on horse or dog races.

In terms of casinos in Asia, they also have their users. Besides, all casinos offer a huge variety of games to play. Their legality depends on the country.

A beginner’s guide to gambling in Asia

You must know that online casinos are illegal in most Asian countries. To gamble, players choose places where gambling is legal. I want to remind you, that I’m talking about regular players or tourists. There is no information about junket tours.

Before planning your gambling tour to Asia, you should know 2 things from me.

  • Play only in a place where it is allowed by law, and do not try your luck in dubious places.
  • Casino games are illegal in many Asian countries, and if someone finds out you played, you could face problems with the police.

There are a few gambling areas in Asia where this entertainment is legal. Macau, for example, is known as the ‘Las Vegas of Asia’, and it is a popular destination for casino players.

Top online casinos in Asia

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Asia is a paradise with many casinos offering a wide range of bet options. From the glitzy casinos of Macau to the more down-to-earth ones in Cambodia, there is something for everyone.

Here are some of the top casinos in Asia for gambling lovers:

  • The Venetian Macao: This casino is the largest in the world and offers a wide range of game options, from slots to table games.
  • Resorts World Sentosa: This casino resort is located in Singapore and offers money games and other attractions such as a water park and Universal Studios Singapore.
  • Nagaworld: This casino is located in Cambodia and offers slot machines and table games.
  • City of Dreams: This casino resort is located in Macau and offers games for money with a water park and the House of Dancing Water show.

So, if you like to play online casinos, Asia is the place to be! You can be sure that you will find games that suit your needs.

Related: Asian-themed slot machines

The future of Gambling in Asia

  • With the growing movement to legalise gambling in many Asian countries, players can expect more regions where they can play.
  • Legalisation would likely have a positive impact on the economy.
  • It would generate revenue for the government through taxes and fees.
  • The process of legalising would also create new jobs in this industry, from casino workers to security guards.
  • I suppose online casinos could also have a positive impact on tourism.

You should also research and know the risks if you want to enjoy gaming. It can be a fun and exciting way to experience Asia.


China flag.

The Chinese Government has been considering legalising casinos for a few years now, and they may eventually make them legal. However online gambling is currently illegal in China, but I hope that could change in the future. Even though the games are, an illegal underground gambling market in the country exists. Some specialists estimate, suggesting that the market is worth billions of dollars. Whether this is true or not, I cannot say, although China’s economy is one of the largest in the world.


Macao flag.

Let’s start with historical facts. Gambling in Macau has been legal since the 1850s thanks to the Portuguese Government that legalised it. Since then, it has become deeply ingrained in the city’s culture and is now one of its biggest industries. The bottom line is online gambling is legal in Macau.

Today, casino revenue in Macau is six times bigger than that of Las Vegas and continues to grow. COVID-19 decreased its popularity, but it is coming back. Most visitors who admire casinos with table games, slots, and electronic gaming come to Macau from Mainland China. All this is provided by a high of regulation. Gaming operators in Macau must obtain a license from the Government to work in the online gambling industry.

Hong Kong

Hong Kong flag.

Let’s see what we have in Hong Kong. Among the most popular types of gambling, like horse racing and football betting, casino games are also allowed. Gambling is legal in Hong Kong, with several government-licensed casinos across the city. Despite that, you won’t find a variety of them. For example, horse betting authorised by Hong Kong Jockey Club is allowed. My point is gambling is legal but with many restrictions.

Casino players can go to The Venetian Macao or the Wynn Macau in Hong Kong.


India flag.

As in the previous countries, in India, you can participate in bets for horse racing, football betting, playing casino games and, of course, cricket. In the meantime, online gambling in India exists in a grey zone. I mean, some states legalised it, while others banned it completely. The latest news that I heard, India legalised e-sports.

Returning to the theme of the casino, players can try Goa Casino and the Deltin Royale Casino, which are located in legal gambling areas. All games, including blackjack, roulette, and poker, are available.


Philippines flag.

Online gambling in the Philippines is legal, which explains why there is a higher player participation rate than in other Asian countries. The Government regulation is carried out by Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR).

The average per cent players in the Philippines is approximately 33%, and this number is higher than Singapore (19%), Malaysia (14%), and Thailand (11%).

In terms of the gambling market, there are many offshore online casinos whose main target is players from China and Korea. Although it doesn’t sound good, Government has continued to develop and support the gaming industry.

Related: Gambling Laws in the Philippines


Japan flag.

If you want to go to Japan and play there, you can do it. According to the Integrated Resorts (IR) Implementation Act, Japan legalised online gambling in 2018. The strange thing about it is that they regulate land-based casinos, but for online gambling, there are no special rules, at least for now. The whole point of legalisation was to boost tourism and the economy.

Talking about other gaming activities, the Japanese like betting.

For me was interesting fact that one of the most popular games in Japan is pachinko. Pachinko is a pinball game where players try to win prizes by shooting balls into a machine. I’m sure you saw those games in the old movie. Imagine, pachinko is so popular that there are over 12,000 game rooms in Japan.

Mahjong is also a popular gambling game in Japan. It originated in China and has many variations, but the basic premise is removing all of the tiles from the board.

South Korea

South-Korea flag.

Online gambling in South Korea is illegal. The Government regulate the gambling market through Korea Racing Authority and Sports Toto, which allows only horse racing and sports betting. However, Koreans are using offshore casino sites for online games.

As the Government is strongly against online gambling, world game operators prefer not even try to start to work here and avoid it.


Singapore flag.

While online gambling, like sports betting and horse racing, is legal, online casinos are illegal in Singapore. That’s why casino players choose offshore websites. In this country works only 2 legal operators: Singapore Pools and Singapore Turf Club.

If you want to make a bet, the legal age for this in Singapore is 21. Amount of players is growing simultaneously with sports betting popularity and users of mobile devices.


Vietnam flag.

First of all, online gambling in Vietnam is illegal. At the same time, as in other Asian countries, casino players choose offshore websites with online slots.

If you want to gamble, you allow to buy lottery tickets and make a bet on horse or dog racing. This is where your choice as a player ends. You can also travel to the cities of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City with land-based casinos.

As a result, Vietnam’s gambling industry is estimated to be worth billions of dollars. Their Government is still trying to find a way how to legalise and regulate the gambling market but without success.


Cambodia flag.

Players will be glad to know that online gambling in Cambodia is legal. This gambling market has regulated by the Ministry of Economy and Finance. I wrote the first Gambling in Asian Countries review 2 years ago, and after 2 years, it’s still working.

In my opinion, Сambodian Government acted smart, creating possibilities for players and clear rules for gaming operators. Besides, Cambodia created a business-friendly environment with the lowest taxes, which in turn attracted companies to invest in the country.

Contrary to opponents of casino legalisation, online casinos are developing as a gambling industry in the country. Besides, money from licenses helps them boost their economy.


Malaysia flag.

In Malaysia online gambling is illegal. At the same time, you can try to guess which types of gambling are legal. Yes, it’s horse racing and the lottery. The Malaysian Government is strongly against legalisation and tries to crack down on any type of illegal places. Does it help or not we can see from a number of offshore websites that accept Malaysian players.

Summarising, the future of casinos in Malaysia is unclear. Through the years, the Government has shown no signs of loosening the restrictions, and online casinos are unlikely to ever become legal in the country.


Taiwan flag.

Online casinos are illegal in Taiwan. However, this does not stop people from playing on non-licensed casino websites. At the same time, you can bet on horse racing, buy lottery tickets or bet on certain sports events, but only in authorised places.

They don’t have a framework for how to legalise online gambling and decided to be against it. That’s why I don’t expect something new in their politics in the coming years.

Facts about the Asian gambling market

I collected only the most interesting facts from my point of view. That’s why some of them you may already know, and some could be new to you.

  • With a value of over $500 billion, the Asian online gambling market is considered the largest in the world.
  • If you want to earn money, choose the Philippines, Macau, or Singapore, which are the top 3 countries in Asia by revenue.
  • Specialists expect the gambling market to continue growing by 13% each year from 2021 to 2026.
  • Asian players are very gamblers and like sports. It’s a reason why online sports betting is the most popular form of gambling in Asia. Moreover, betting has 50% of the market share.
  • We are talking a lot about new technologies. Mobile devices help widespread gambling because of their popularity with fast internet connection and simple access to games.
  • Live casino is a very popular type of gambling, so almost all gaming operators in Asia offer live dealer games.
  • Note that in China and South Korea, online gambling is illegal. Although there is still a huge underground gaming market.
  • Japan joined countries with legal gambling and recently legalised casino games, including online, to boost tourism and economic growth.
  • The largest companies in Asia include 888 Holdings, Bet365, and Melco Resorts & Entertainment.


  • Is Online Gambling Legal In Asia?

    In most countries in Asia, online gambling is illegal. About the legal online casinos, check Cambodia, the Philippines or Japan.

  • Where are the Major Gambling Markets in Asia?

    The biggest legal markets are Makao and the Philippines. No one can tell specific numbers about underground online gambling in Asia.

  • Is online gambling legal in China?

    Online gambling in China is illegal. They have Makau for players, where everyone can come and try their luck.


I have no doubts that the online gambling market is huge in Asia, even if it’s illegal in most countries, with the exception of Cambodia, the Philippines, and Macao. At the same time, we don’t have accurate statistics because, in some countries gambling market works in a grey zone, and others don’t show it in public.

As I said at the start of this review, a lottery is the most common game, but not because it’s popular. Lotteries are common because other gambling activities are forbidden. Anyway, I think if the player wants to play, he will find out how to create an account, sign-up and make deposits.


Author Michael Evi

Editor. Of course, I like casino games. However, I also like searching for different online casinos, reviewing their terms with bonuses, and sharing my opinion with others. I hope you find this review helpful.