Comparing the Gambling Laws in Asia for 2021

Asia’s gambling scene has lasted so long it has become part of the popular culture, extremely prominent in Japan and Macau it has been going strong for thousands of years. Gambling has now thrived upon the turn of the century with an estimated 51% of the world’s population participating in gambling’s many forms. Gambling laws in Asia are among the most diverse for a continent on the planet with so many attitudes having their say on the matter.

The City of Macau.

China’s southern gambling capitol Macau is home to over 41 casinos and has brought in gross revenue of over $35 billion. ©doviliux/Pixabay

Due to its international popularity, the industry is recognized as one of the world’s most successful and influential. A 2019 report conducted by Businesswire estimates that the global gambling market will reach $565 billion by 2022, having grown at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.1% since 2014. Gambling has become a crutch of many international economies; some heavily depend on the betting markets’ tax.

It’s overarching success has inspired countries worldwide to legalize the activity in as many forms possible. Most recently, over 50% of the United States have approved the legalization of online gambling. However, back to Asia, Japan has become the latest nation to rethink its legal approach to betting. They hope this change in attitude will positively affect industries such as tourism and increase the number of jobs available.

While countries like Japan modernize their attitudes towards betting, this viewpoint is not shared by a large percentage of the eastern continent. The laws in certain countries are slightly all over the place, often confusing and only permitting narrow sections of gambling. Here we will analyze the position of some of Asia’s largest nations and understand the legality of the activity across the continent.


Gambling throughout Japan’s modern era has always been illegal, these laws have always remained firm and clear, reflecting the countries’ culture. In the 1800s, underground affiliates and black-market ring leaders were sentenced to exile or death. Disturbing the peace is highly frowned upon in Japan’s modest country, those who chose to oppose this legislation were dealt swift and ruthless justice. In fact, the integrated resorts format appears to be the agreed upon model for future developments in the Japanese gambling sector.

Current day Japan still enforces strict regulations upon certain sectors of the gambling industry, the forbid the building of Casinos as they are classed as illegitimate businesses. Japanese legislation is often exploited by numerous industry. Frequently there are so many loopholes to avoid the repercussions of the law. For example, offshore gambling sites are legal and similar to China, this has become very popular with people.


China has famously stood against the legalization of gambling since they clamped down on the leisurely activity in 1949. This was due to the supposed epidemic of betting addiction, and these fire were flamed by the government releasing their propaganda criminalizing it. Even with all of this regulation, that doesn’t mean that citizens don’t participate.

You can’t talk about Asian gambling without mentioning Macau, located in Southern China, with a population of 680,000 and an area of 12.7 square miles it is the most densely populated city in the world. It is home to 41 massive casinos, all of which offer their unique twist on entertainment. It has become so popular with international high rollers, generating over $36.7 billion in gross revenue since its infrastructural development.

Online gambling is still illegal in Macau and the rest of the country, however similarly to Japan they can bet using offshore websites. Hong Kong also allows online gambling from a small number of authorized providers such as the infamous Hong Kong Jockey Club, enabling users to gamble on horse racing and participate in the national lottery.


Singapore is one of the only Asian countries to permit casino-based gambling, there are only two officially licensed venues in the country, and both have been hugely successful. Singapore is very conscious of gambling addiction; because of this, precaution customers are forced to pay an entrance fee to play in either casino. As recent as 2019, the national entrance fee increased by 50%.

Online gambling is illegal in Singapore. However, unlike Japan and China, they also forbid the use of offshore gambling sites meaning if you are a citizen of the country, there is no legal way for you to access any betting website.

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