Why Have Some Countries Accepted Sports Betting, and Others Haven’t?

2021 is the year that two of the most popular global sporting events take place. Because of the effects of the pandemic on travel and quarantine, both the UEFA European Football Championship and the Summer Olympics were postponed last year.

The Euros are the biggest soccer event in Europe and the final was watched by over 30 million people in the UK alone. At the time of writing, the Olympics were just starting in Tokyo and will draw an even bigger audience from around the world.

The one thing that these two huge events, and other sports, have in common is that they all attract sports bettors. However, some countries do not allow sports betting to take place while others embrace it. Why is this, and are there valid reasons to allow or to deny this activity? 

Some countries and regions are stricter than others

It is perhaps not surprising that sports betting is not allowed in certain nations. Take, for example, Islamic countries such as Iran that bans all forms of gambling on religious grounds. Other regions are equally as strict but are perhaps more surprising.

America is the Land of the Free, yet it has many restrictions surrounding sports betting. Hawaii for instance has very strict gambling laws and allows almost no form of betting at all. This includes bingo!

The United Kingdom, however, allows all forms of gambling that you could think of. There is on and off-track betting, slot machines, national lottery, and bingo. There are even traditional arcade games that children can play to win money.

Some countries have religious reasons to ban gambling. Others such as the USA have different laws at state level, and others ban gambling for moral and cultural reasons. 

Why is sports betting banned in some places and not others?

In the case of many countries, sports betting was initially banned for moral reasons. The Public Gambling Act of 1867 in India, was put into place by their British colonizers who believed gambling was getting out of hand. A revised law remains in place and many a discussion has been had about whether gambling is morally right.

In communist countries such as China, Laos, and Vietnam, most forms of gambling are illegal. The only legal way to gamble is through government lotteries. This may be because these governments retain tight control over their citizens.

Japan also has strict laws in place and only allows gambling on a select few sports. This has led to many individuals playing online at EnergyCasino and other sites that allow sports betting. It has also led to an underground gambling culture.

What happens when sports betting is banned?

Japan is a good example of where strict controls over gambling can lead to negative effects. Although there is such a thing as problem gambling, and there should be help available for people in this position, outright bans can also cause issues.

29 Sumo wrestlers and stable masters were caught up in a betting scandal involving the Yakuza, or Japanese mafia. Due to the strict laws surrounding gambling, the wrestlers placed their baseball bets with the Yakuza, causing a scandal in the country.

In China, mahjong parlors have been closed due to gambling. And although mahjong is not a sport, it shows that some people will always look for a way to bet.

In many countries, sports betting has transitioned into online betting as laws force gamblers to look elsewhere. Using criminal gangs for sports betting is dangerous and highly illegal, but in some countries, online gambling is also banned. 

Is it safe to make sports bets online in any country?

Many countries and states have laws opposing online casinos and sportsbooks. In some nations, it simply means that the casino cannot have its servers physically located in that country. In this instance, it is often ok for residents to still access the site online.

However, other countries not only ban gambling companies from setting up in their country, but they also ban their citizens from accessing offshore websites. North Korea, Singapore, Poland, and Cambodia, have strict laws and fines for anyone gambling online.

Many players have found that the use of a VPN allows them to access these sites, but the dangers are often limited to native residents. For instance, in Cambodia, a holidaymaker could gamble online without any risk. Checking local laws before placing an online bet on the Red Sox is a wise idea. 

Are there any benefits of allowing sports betting?

Three years ago, the Supreme Court struck down a federal law stating that sports betting was illegal in the states. This opened up the possibility of individual states setting their own laws around sports betting.

Some states embraced this straight away while one or two have yet to show any interest. Utah seems to want nothing to do with sports betting, while perhaps not surprisingly, New Jersey embraced sports betting not long after the Supreme Court’s decision was made.

One of the clearest benefits of allowing sports betting is taxes. The state government can make millions from sportsbooks, and this money can be put into improving infrastructures, schools, and hospitals. 

Does prohibiting gambling stop it from happening?

There is no evidence that regulations and laws stop people from carrying out activities such as gambling. Just as prohibition in the US drove alcohol production underground, sports betting is conducted away from any watchful eyes.

In any country around the world where sports betting is illegal, there will be players using the internet. Anyone can log in to Energy Casino or a dozen other sites and enjoy slots, poker, and betting on their favorite basketball team. 


The main reasons for not allowing sports betting in some countries appear to be for moral reasons, control of citizens’ behavior, religious grounds, and sometimes just because the law has stood for so long.

When choosing the best online betting sites, do so by the local laws of the country you are residing in. If it is safe and legal, then use a VPN to access an offshore site. Otherwise, you will just have to place a wager on the game with your buddies.

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