Gambling Law in Asia
With the centre of the major economic activities shifting towards Asia especially Southeast Asia there is a big boom in online as well as land based gambling in this area. Once upon a time Macau was the shining crown of the Asian gambling activity but now there are many countries which are openly providing gaming tourism to people from all over the world. While some of the countries in this region are quite liberal with their laws, on the other hand others are known for bureaucratic interference, underdeveloped infrastructure and harsh penalties.
Some of the major countries from Asia along with the key facts related to their gambling laws are discussed below.
This country is quite strict in its antigambling laws as all types of gambling are prohibited here. Both online and offline gaming is banned and persons involved in providing and availing such services are severally penalized in form of hefty fine and a jail term. The communist govt control the online aspect of this business as citizen’s access is totally blocked from online gambling sites. Even with the iron fist rules, the players are not deterred and are accessing gambling services via foreign gambling sites. The closest thing to gambling is lottery in the mainland China which is controlled by the government. The revenue generated through sales of lottery ticket is quite same as in US but people cannot buy their lottery tickets through online mode.
Macau is the specially administered region of People’s Republic of China. The communist party controls the defence and foreign policy of this area but allows local laws, administration and economy. This area does not have any types of administrative system to regulate and monitor online gambling. The gambling law of this area neither admits nor denies online gambling. In other words Macau can be defined as more open to gambling as compared to mainland China. Land based gambling in Macau surpasses Las Vegas in revenue generation and some of the best casinos are based here. All types of casino games, poker and horse racing are legally allowed in Macau. Online gambling is a damp squib as there is a limited online betting allowed through some of the casinos. As Macau does not issues licenses or acknowledge any sort of gambling, there are no online gambling sites operating out of this region.
This erstwhile British territory was repatriated to People’s Republic of China in 1997. Since that period Hong Kong is one of the special administrative regions of China just like Macau. Hong Kong allows some types of gambling in its jurisdiction which is administered and controlled by Hong Kong Jockey Club. The resident of this area are allowed to indulge in sports betting through HKJC but all other sorts of gambling is illegal. The main source of gambling includes horse betting, overseas football betting and lottery. There are hundreds of land based betting offices dealing with such exercises. Unauthorized bookmaking is not allowed and heavily penalized. Even the visitors are not allowed to use services of unauthorized betting bookmakers.
Thailand is also one of the others non-gambling countries. All types of gambling are totally banned here with an exception to lottery and horse race betting. Even the latter is available only at selective racecourses. Even with prohibition of gambling, majority of local residents indulge in all the major online gambling events ranging from poker to sports betting. The local punters also do their business with unauthorized bookies and agents. All the major online gaming operators provide their services for residents of Thailand. The local administration and police do not charge individuals for betting crimes but are quite strict with betting mafias and syndicates running illegal betting operations. The safer bet for the punters in Thailand is to opt for betting via online casinos and betting sites as internet is not under strict surveillance by gaming authorities.
The gambling laws in Malaysia are not very clear. Even though all types of online gambling operations are technically illegal but there are no specific guidelines for availing the services of online gambling sites. The laws related to betting are quite archaic and do not specifically deal with online betting or gambling. These laws do not criminalize online gambling in any way. For the majority of areas, online gambling is ignored by local administration and residents of this country freely avail the services of overseas gambling sites. Majority of the online gaming operators provide services for the people of this region. Even though there is not much restriction on online gambling this does not means that it is totally risk free. Being a country administered by Islamic law of Sharia, there is an increasing demand of banning and strict surveillance of online gambling sites.
There is a dichotomy of rules in relation to gambling in Philippines. This country is divided into two parts as far as the gambling laws of the two gaming authorities are concerned. Philippines is divided into two parts for gambling administration. The major part of this country is covered by PAGCOR which deals with all the brick and mortar casinos as well as betting bookmakers. The resident of this respective jurisdiction are free to avail the services of the land based casinos and betting outlets. There is no restriction whatsoever for the online gambling as well. Any of the offshore gaming sites are allowed to provide their services but the local online gaming providers are not allowed to do so. The Cagayan region which is a “Special Economic Zone and Freeport” has its own set of rules for gambling. This area is not administered by PAGCOR and allows independent casinos to do their business. These land based casinos are not allowed to cater the local public. They can only provide gambling services to tourists only. The Cagayan region is the only region in Asia that issues licenses for online gambling sites.
There is certain vagueness about the gambling laws in India. Gambling is both central and state subject and guided by “The Public Gambling Act of 1867” and “Prize Competition Act of 1955” with all the amendments. Mostly all types of gambling activities are banned in India except for state lotteries but there is no law specifically related to online gambling. As far as land based gambling is concerned, the states of Goa and Sikkim are the exceptions. These two states are allowed to have land based casinos. The other states do not allow any other form of gambling. The online betting is a big hit in this peninsula and residents opt for the services of the offshore betting sites. Even though participating in any of the gambling acts except for horse race betting is defined as a criminal offense, but there is no law specifically designed for the people indulging in online gambling.
The government of this multicultural nation is not open for providing gambling facilities to its residents. On the other side, there are two world class gambling resorts which cater their services to the tourist from all over the world. These casinos are not allowed to provide the residents with any sort of gambling services. Even if a resident wants to visit one of these casinos, he or she has to pay a high amount of money for getting one day visiting permit. The online gambling is not under strict surveillance hence it is open for the local residents.