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The 8 Toughest Countries in the World to Gamble In

19 August 2013, By:

While casino or online gambling is viewed as entertainment by many, some countries in the world explicitly prohibit gambling.

Some even view it as dangerous or "evil."

If you're a gambler that likes to travel the world, the following are countries where you'll have to find something else to do to entertain yourself.


The only type of gambling allowed in Bhutan is authorized lotteries. Gambling laws are strictly enforced with even a single misdemeanor offense resulting in a minimum one-month jail term.

A single offense can land someone in jail up to a year. India's Playwin lottery was allowed in Bhutan at one point but was discontinued due to the high taxes imposed on winners.


When the Taliban government took control of Afghanistan it outlawed gambling -- and most forms of entertainment for that matter.

Even after the fall of that government gambling still remains illegal across the country. Although illegal a large underground gambling market still exists for kite fighting and animal fighting though.

With the fall of the Taliban, the police seldom enforce gambling laws but it's still not a good idea to get caught participating in a flutter.

Cayman Islands

Considering the Cayman Islands are both a major tourist destination and a hub for businesses looking for a tax shelter, one would assume that the area would be ripe for gambling.

The opposite is the case as laws currently prohibit gambling in any form on the Cayman Islands.

Penalties for gambling in the Caymans are relatively lax, though, with most offenses carrying a fine of $10 maximum. Some offenses can receive up to two-months imprisonment. Those running an illegal gambling operation can be fined up to $400.

Another law that is sometimes used against those running an illegal gambling house is known as the "Proceeds of Crime" law. Under this law, illegal gambling operators can be fined up to $5,000 and serve up to two years in prison.


If you live in Indonesia you already know that all forms of gambling, whether live or online, are illegal.

Much of this is due to the nation being predominantly Muslim. At one point Indonesia did have a lottery but protests from students and activists eventually forced it to be shut down.

Indonesia is one place you do not want to be caught gambling as the punishments can be severe. Convicted gamblers can be imprisoned up to 10 years and public beatings of convicted gamblers are not uncommon.


Algeria is another nation where gambling is illegal. And much like Afghanistan religion is the reason for the ban.

Over 98% of the nation is Sunni Muslim making it unlikely that gambling will be legalized there anytime soon.

Vatican City

As one might expect, gambling is illegal in Vatican City. It is, you know, the home of the Catholic faith.

In addition the tiny population just simply doesn't warrant any form of gambling facility.

With a population of only 900 -- most entirely tied to a fairly pure form of Catholicism, this is one area you can pretty much bet on never seeing legal gambling.


Another Muslim nation that bans all forms of gambling is Pakistan. The Koran declares any type of gambling evil and as such Muslims are not allowed to participate.

Pakistan does, of course, have a thriving underground gambling scene (and, you know, a massive military-grade weapons market) but it's not recommended that travelers partake in any form of gambling as penalties can be severe.

If you get away with just a fine, the maximum is around 1,000 PKR or about $10 US.

Jail sentences for gambling in Pakistan, however, can range up to a year.

North Korea

North Korea is on this list due to the fact that only tourists are allowed to gamble.

The nation regulates everything down to internet usage and citizens of North Korea are forbidden to gamble.

Much like Japan, Pachinko is the primary form of gambling in North Korea but all casino and Pachinko parlors are highly regulated.

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  • Dominik 16/03/2017 11:51pm (4 years ago)

    Hey. You mentioned that public beatings in Indonesia are not incommon. Very imprecise. Public beatings take place only in Aceh which is only a province of Indonesia but has special status and Sharia law is implied there. Public beatings do not exist in criminal code of Indonesia as a state.