The history of sports betting can be traced back more than 2,000 years to the Greeks! The Greeks loved sports so much that they instituted the Olympics – and that’s where the first records of sports betting (i.e., betting on athletic competitions) are found!
This type of betting was then adopted by the Romans, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Today, sports betting has become a multi-billion-dollar industry where you can bet on a wide range of sports, sporting events and leagues through sportsbooks, bookmakers, and casinos the world over.
In which countries sports betting is legal?
Curiously, the following list of countries prohibit any online gambling activity within their territories – Cyprus, Poland, North Korea, UAE, Cambodia, Brunei, and Singapore.
Unfortunately, you cannot bet on your favorite sports here as well: Cayman Islands, Indonesia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Algeria. Betting is legal in special approved organizations in Bhutan.
In case you are a foreigner, you can gamble in North Korea. You should take into consideration that there are different levels of regulation applied in different countries. Online gambling is one of the fastest-growing industries in Africa.
The team of azBookmakers has already pointed out some countries which prohibit betting in Asia but at all, there are many places where you can freely enjoy your hobby. Considering South America, you can play literally everywhere.
In North America, it is allowed in most of the places as the matter in the USA is a little delicate as you can bet freely in Nevada and New Jersey. Unfortunately, there are still many states that completely ban it.
The situation in Europe is liberal and it does not matter where you have been living, you can bet everywhere.
Is it legal in the UK?
It has always been an integral part of the economy of the UK. The different forms of betting and sports to play attract more and more enthusiasts and made the British the most betting nation in the world.
Some of the best-known and famous bookmakers’ headquarters are located in the UK (for instance the headquarters of bet365 are located in Stoke). Anyway, this is strictly monitored and controlled by the government authorities and different commissions.
The activity in the UK is completely legal for anyone aged 18+. Moreover, there are no fees and taxes for your wins. It is a firm and predetermined position, unlike some other countries.
The tax-free policy of the UK is its main advantage. Currently, bookmakers and individuals approved by the UK Gambling Commission have the right to offer those services.
Countries that allow gambling on youth sports
That betting is something new and it has all started not long ago. Usually, it is most-spread throughout Europe as this is the most liberated market.
You can place your stakes on a great variety of youth sports – basketball, football, hockey, volleyball, and many more. Gambling on youth sports gives you the opportunity to choose among many events to bet almost without a break throughout the whole year.
The team of azBookmakers recommends being aware of youth games as the level of corruption there is pretty high and to us, it is a risky activity. You can do it sometimes just for fun. Youth games are full of entertainment due to the lack of additional tension and expectations.
So, what does sports betting look like in different countries? Let’s take a look at some of the top sports betting countries across the world.
Online Sportsbooks in USA
Since sports betting was legalized in 2018 (it’s a little more complicated than that, but it is enough to say that you can legally gamble online in most states in the US today), online sportsbooks have mushroomed massively in the country.
The challenge that most gamblers or bettors face now is choosing the right online sportsbooks to make their bets.
When selecting a US online sportsbook, it is important to ensure that the site is completely secure, that it has a wide range of banking options, financial transactions on the site should be quick and easy, and a large variety of betting options should be available.
Another critical element of good online sportsbooks in the USA are their trustworthiness.
To assess whether a site is trustworthy or not, you need to find out whether it honors the wagers bettors have placed, issues reasonably speedy payouts, ensures that all bettors’ information and funds are handled securely, offers bonuses and promotions that are attainable, and has good customer service.
It is also wise to remember that there are many differences between the sportsbooks online. The differences are in the types of bonuses they offer, how their odds are set, the range of sports offered for betting, the types of bets offered, and so on.
Therefore, when you select a sportsbook, it would be best to see whether it offers you what you are looking for.
To find out whether a sportsbook is for you or not, it would be best to first read the customer and rating reviews about the site. And then test the site out. This doesn’t mean you place a bet with real money. It means that you check every section of the website and assess how you feel about the sportsbook.
What Betting Sites Can I Use in the USA?
Here is a list of some of the best betting sites in the USA:
While these are the best legal online sports betting sites in the USA, there are many others that are also very good, such as William Hill, FOX Bet, Sugar House, and so on.
The UK – especially Great Britain – is known to be the world’s most developed sports betting market. While sports betting was legalized way back in 1960, its history actually dates back to the 1600s.
Today, the sports betting market has found its way to the internet, and there are a huge number of licensed websites for such betting – especially for horse racing, greyhound racing and football (soccer). Other popular sports include cricket, tennis, and rugby, to name just a few. According to some experts, the licensed online sports gambling market in the UK is today worth £650 million.
Some of the top British bookmakers today are:
These bookmakers offer their customers the chance to bet on every sport, sporting event and sports league imaginable anywhere on the globe.
Bookmakers in Portugal
Portugal is another country where sports betting is legal. Interestingly, all sports betting in the country was controlled by the SCML – the Santa Casa de Misericordia de Lisboa – an organization that used the profits from sports gambling to help children and the elderly in Lisbon.
Then, as internet gambling began to gain popularity, the Portuguese government stepped in and restructured its gambling laws to regulate online sports betting too. The government granted exclusive rights to SCML to operate online – all other operators were prohibited from operating in the country.
This didn’t work too well as bookmakers were still able to offer online betting services to Portuguese punters.
Then, to ease the economic strain in the country, the Portuguese government announced the Legal Regime of Online Gambling and Betting Decree in 2015.
This opened up the market and allowed bookmakers and operators to apply for licenses to the Gambling Inspection and Regulation Service (SRIJ) for poker, casino games and fixed odds sports betting.
The challenge that most bookmakers are facing in Portugal now is the massive tax rate imposed by the government on sports betting sites.
Earlier, sports betting sites were taxed at 15%, but since 2020, the government has increased that tax rate to a whopping 35%, which has led many bookmakers to exit the Portuguese market.
Some of the top sports that people bet on in Portugal are football, basketball, futsal (a game similar to football), and rink hockey.
Some of the top sports betting sites in Portugal are: 22Bet, 888Sport, ComeOn!, UNIBET, and MyBookie
Kenya Betting Sites
According to a 2020 estimate, the Kenyan gambling market is estimated to be worth $40 million – and it is expanding exponentially. This is the third-largest gambling market in Africa, and it is dominated by sports betting. The most popular sport that people bet on here is football, especially the European Leagues.
Kenya has an extremely high penetration rate for the internet; about 43% of the country is connected. What this has meant for the online sports betting industry is that more than 88% of the connected punters in this country use their mobile phones to make their sports bets.
While gambling is legal in Kenya, the online gambling industry does not have a regulatory framework in place here. This means that international online bookmakers are currently tolerated and can freely offer their services in Kenya.
The most popular betting sites in Kenya are Bet365, 1XBet, 888Sport, BetWinner, 22Bet, Betway Sports, Mr. Play Sport, mCheza, SportPesa, and Powerbets.
Betting Sites in Nigeria
Sports betting is a big deal in Nigeria, and it is one of the biggest and fastest growing gambling markets in Africa, with more than 30% of the country’s population placing sports bets a day.
According to experts, this market is only expected to grow – by more than 20% in the next 5 years.
Football is the game of choice for most Nigerians, but bets are also made on a variety of other sports such as tennis, basketball, Aussie Rules football, rugby, etc.
While sports betting is completely legal in Nigeria, the online sports betting arena is not regulated at this time. This means that there are many global sportsbooks are allowed to take in punters from Nigeria.
Here are the online sports betting sites in Nigeria: Betway, InterTops Sportsbook, 22Bet, Pinnacle, 10bet, MyBookie, and Spin Palace Sportsbook.
Bookmakers in Italy
The government body that regulates the gambling industry in Italy is called the AAMS (Agenzia Dogane e Monopolio di Stato), and they have ensured that sports betting – both land-based and online – is tightly controlled in this country.
Thanks to the structured regulations, the Italian bookmakers are considered to be among the safest in the world. All sites that operate in this country have to meet a stringent set of requirements, which means that punters can rest easy about not being scammed.
While football is by far the most popular sport that Italians bet on, there is also quite a bit of betting on rugby, basketball, volleyball, cycling, tennis, and e-sports.
Sports betting in Spain is completely regulated, be it online betting or land-based betting. While gambling as an industry has been legal in Spain for the last 40 years, it wasn’t until the Spanish Gambling Act was passed in 2011 that gambling laws across all regions in the country were streamlined.
However, as part of this legislation, all operators need to have a separate license for each product they offer. Because of the high cost of the license, most operators will either offer only casino gambling or only sports betting services.
It goes without saying that football is the most bet on sport in Spain, with La Liga, El Clasico, Champions League and La Furia Roja accounting for the most bets. Other sports are also popular with Spanish punters, such as basketball, tennis, cycling and e-sports.
Colombian Betting Sites
Colombia is a country full of people who are crazy about sports. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that sports betting is also a big deal in this country.
In fact, more than 59% of the country’s population bets on sports!
Colombia has taken a progressive stance towards gambling and sports betting is now legal in the country.
However, there are currently only 8 sportsbooks that are legal in Colombia. While there are offshore online sportsbooks, recent changes to online gambling laws have made it very difficult for Colombians to bet on these operators.
While football continues to be the most favored sport for betting, rugby, cricket, Aussie League Football, and e-sports are also gaining favor with Colombian punters.
Thesе Colombian betting sites are allowed to offer their online sports betting services in this country: Bodog, BumBet, Spin Palace, Pinnacle, BetOnline.ag, Intertops, MyBookie and Betsson.
Russia is a heavily policed state when it comes to online gambling. Since 2009, gambling was more or less banned in the country, with the exception of sports betting, which was also so heavily policed that it might as well also have been banned!
Online gambling was banned in Russia in 2006, but the government took their ban a step further in 2012 when the country’s courts passed a ruling that all Internet Service Providers operating in the country had to block all Russian bookmakers.
If the ISPs did not comply, they risked losing their licenses. And then in 2014, the Russian government released a list of more than 50 gambling websites, stating that they have all been banned from the country.
This list includes some of the world’s biggest and best online sports betting sites such as William Hill, SportingBet and Ladbrokes.
Today, there are exactly 5 areas in Russia where you are allowed to gamble, and these are all land-based. Online gambling remains illegal.
Of course, where there’s a will there’s a way!
While most online bookmakers do not actively attract Russian customers, they don’t turn them away either. In fact, online bookmakers such as 888Sport, Bet365, and MarathonBet offer their Russian customers Ruble accounts also!
Online Gambling in Venezuela
Online gambling in Venezuela is regulated – both for players as well as operators. While licenses have been issued to only 3 online operators, the Venezuelan government allows punters to gambling on foreign sites.
It is important to remember that these foreign sites are not regulated by the Venezuelan government. This means that players do not get the strong protection that punters using the state-run lottery, or the one licensed online gambling site do.
And while sports betting is extremely popular, with the Hippodrome la Rinconada in Caracas being the most popular brick-and-mortar betting destination in the country, there are no regulated online sportsbooks here. Which is why Venezuelans turn to foreign online sports betting sites.
Gambling is a favorite activity in many – if not most – Asian countries. Bookmakers have been a part of Asian culture for centuries, and now they are available online.
Asian bookmakers are fast becoming a popular alternative to European, US and UK sportsbooks. And there are a large number of bookies in Asia that actively target European bettors. So, why do people actually switch to Asian bookmakers?
- Better Odds: Thanks to lower operating margins in Asia, Asian bookmakers can offer their punters better odds. Besides the traditional odds formats (fractional, decimal, US), you also get the Asian formats (Indonesian, Hong Kong, Malay).
- Asian Handicaps: This is a type of betting that is used in football betting, where the possibility of a draw is eliminated and there can only be two outcomes of a match. Asian handicaps have become increasingly popular in recent years, and an increasing number of European punters have switched to or added Asian bookies to their list for this reason.
- Higher Ceilings and Faster Payouts: With Asian bookmakers, you can also get higher ceilings on your bets and withdrawals and payouts are much easier and faster.
- Live Betting: Another great advantage of using Asian bookmakers is that you get to make live bets. Betting sites in Asia have specialized in live betting, especially in football matches.
- More Odds and Markets: Compared to Europe, the UK and the US, Asian bookmakers offer way more odds and markets to punters, which makes betting more profitable and definitely more fun. You also get a wider range of markets than the bookies on the other continents. Besides the regular popular leagues (such as the Premier League, La Liga and so on), Asian bookmakers also offer a large number of Asian teams and leagues, as well as a wider range of other sports.
Is it legal to bet with Asian bookmakers?
The short answer is yes and no: it depends on where in the world you are betting from. Just like any other country, each Asian country has its own laws on gambling.
For example, China has banned online gambling completely and so has Indonesia, but the Philippines and Macau have legalized gambling (both brick and mortar as well as online versions).
Punters, of course, will always find a way. Therefore, they use offshore online gambling sites to make their bets. Alternatively, the also use VPN to access betting sites if they are located in countries where gambling is not allowed.
If you are planning to register with an Asian bookmaker, then it would be best to first check if it will accept punters from your location/country.
Since there are hundreds (more like thousands, actually) of Asian bookmakers, how do you select one? Here are some tips that you should keep in mind:
- Customer Reviews
The best Asian sites will have excellent customer reviews. They will have a very positive reputation with their customers and word of mouth also counts for a lot.
- Secure, Encrypted Websites
The best Asian bookmakers ensure that their websites are fully encrypted and secured so that customer information and all financial transactions are safe.
- Licensed Operators
The best Asian bookies are all duly licensed – they do not operate without the requisite authorization.
Some of the top Asian bookmakers are: MegaPari, FortuneJack, 22Bet, 1xBet, TonyBet, BetWinner, MelBet, CloudBet.
Despite the fact that online gambling (both casino and sports betting) is legal in Austria, Austrian punters prefer to use international gambling sites. This is because of the rather confusing set of gambling laws that Austria has in place.
The Austrian government has allowed domestic gambling companies to operate alongside international ones. The problem is this: local gambling companies have to abide by Austrian gambling laws and pay local taxes, but the international companies do not.
To try and balance this disparity, in 2012, the Austrian government granted a 15-year exclusive contract for online gambling to Austrian Lotteries, which is a subsidiary of Casinos Austrian International.
While this did not really impact domestic Austrian bookmakers, it did have a big impact on international operators, since they offered casino and poker betting along with their bookmakers.
Then, in 2014, the CJEU (Court of Justice for the European Union) declared that Austria was creating an unfair market by favoring their domestic operators and that the country was not complying with EU fair-play laws.
Besides the numerous legal issues, the reasons why Austrian punters opt for international betting sites are:
- There are no legal consequences in using international bookies;
- Customer support is good, and the agents can speak German;
- Players get access to a wider range of betting markets on international sites;
- International sites offer better odds, bonuses, and promotions than Austrian ones.
Online Sportsbooks in Philippines
Unlike many other Asian countries, the Philippines is a gambling-friendly country, with laws in place for both brick-and-mortar establishments as well as online gambling sites. Sports betting is also a very popular activity in this country.
The online sportsbooks in Philippines are regulated by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR), and in 2012, the Philippines appeals court verified that it was not illegal for punters in the country to use international online sports betting sites. This opened up sports betting in a big way in the country.
The problem is that while there are laws in place and online sports betting is regulated by PAGCOR, the odds offered by Filipino licensed bookmakers are not the best in the market; international bookies offer way better odds (among other things).
Added to that, for many years, only casino games, Asian basketball competitions and leagues, and local PBA leagues were allowed as betting options.
There is also the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA) in Cagayan Freeport in Northern Philippines that regulates gambling (including sports betting) in that region.
However, the CEZA also provides licenses to other international Asian operators and does not allow local Filipinos to gamble on their regulated websites.
Another challenge that Filipino players face is that many international sports betting sites will not accept players from this country.
This is usually because the companies that own those sites have live operations in the Philippines and so cannot offer their international services to punters at the same time as it would be considered a conflict of interest.
While there a large number of betting sites in the Philippines, the best legal betting sites there are 1xBet, 22Bet, MelBet, FEZbet, PNXBet.
Gambling has a long history in Germany. The first ever legal casino in the world was opened in the German territory of Baden – more than 250 years ago in 1765!
However, in recent years, the German government has taken a more negative stance on the German bookmakers and gambling industry and legislation on the industry is extremely controlling.
Despite such strong regulations controlling the domestic online sports betting market in Germany, German punters are not deterred.
Would you believe that 10% of all online punters are German?
With so many gamblers in the country, the punters have pretty much simply ignored their government’s legislations on gambling and have found ways to circumvent those restrictions.
It hasn’t helped Germany’s cause that these gambling companies are being supported the courts of law in the European Union, who have declared that Germany’s legislations on gambling are unfair and against the free movement of services principle of the EU.
Since 2017, Germany relaxed its stance every so slightly, and has increased the number of gambling licenses to 40 from the earlier 20. However, people are still not happy since the government has still refused to liberalize the entire gambling market.
Now, if you bet on your favorite sport and you are located in Germany, then you will be required to pay a 5% tax for every stake! This is another attempt by the German government to deter people from gambling in their country.
However, many sports bookmakers have circumvented this law by absorbing the taxes themselves (that’s what Bwin, Germany’s top sports betting site, has done), or by only applying that tax to winners and not to losers (this is what Ladbrokes has done). And there are companies that do not tax German bettors at all – like Stan James!
The most popular sports on which German punters bet are football, ice hockey, handball, basketball, boxing, and MMA.
The gambling industry in the Netherlands is regulated by the Kansspelautoriteit and the markets a strongly controlled by this government body.
There is only one online sports betting site sanctioned by the Dutch government – De Lotto. However, this monopoly offers few markets and limited betting options, something that frustrates Dutch punters.
Therefore, they turn to international bookmakers.
All the bookmakers we have listed here offer their services to Dutch sports bettors, but they do not do so explicitly. This is because several bookmakers (Unibet, William Hill, Expekt and Betsson, to name a few) were fined by the Dutch government for offering a Dutch language option on their websites.
While a couple of them removed that option in response to the penalty, Betclic and Unibet simply ignored the slap on the hand and continue to offer services tailored for their Dutch customers!
The best online sports betting sites in the Netherlands are Fansbet, NEO.bet, Zodiac Bet, Betclic, and Spin Palace and Dutch punters enjoy betting on football, field hockey, volleyball, and horse racing.
Gambling in Turkey
Despite the fact that Turkey is technically a secular state, the influence of Islam can be seen in the country’s stance towards gambling.
Once upon a time, Turkey had a thriving gambling industry, however, today, gambling in Turkey almost all forms has been banned. The only gambling options now available for punters locally is through a state-sanctioned operator called the IDDAA, which offers online sports betting as one of its limited options.
The Turkish government has taken the stance of punishing gamblers rather than the gambling companies, and banks and credit card companies that process gambling-related payments for both the players as well as the operators.
If players are caught using international sports betting sites, they can face a fine of up to £160,000, and a prison sentence!
However, as Turkey focuses on becoming a part of the European Union, its government may be forced to change its stance on online gambling in all its forms.
While most locals only have the option of making online sporting bets through the IDDAA, there are still some international bookmakers that will allow punters with a Turkish IP address to bet on their websites (such as Black Lotus Casino, Richprize Casino, GT Bets Casino and Sportsbook, and Bet Online Casino and Sportsbook).
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