With the continual development of new technologies improving gambling services, the gambling market is growing rapidly across the globe.

But the fastest-growing market at the moment is the Asia-Pacific region. That is primarily due to the spread of legalisation, and the increased use of smartphones, that enable people to access online gambling platforms. And in countries where gambling is still illegal, offshore casinos have become very popular.

Thailand has some of the strictest gambling laws in Southeast Asia

Whereas Singapore and The Philippines have lax gambling laws, Thailand has some of the strictest gambling laws in Southeast Asia. Betting on horse racing and the government-sponsored lottery are the only two forms of legal gambling in the country.

However, despite the rules, illegal casinos are widespread and very popular in Thailand. Betting on football is another prevalent form of illegal gambling. Although there are no specific laws concerning online gambling, it falls under the country’s general gambling laws.

But online gambling remains highly popular in Thailand, and Thais can place bets on platforms that are licensed and legal in other countries.

In East Asia, Japan, China, and South Korea are the leading countries for gambling activities. In Southeast Asia, the most popular gaming countries are Singapore, the Philippines.

Let’s take a closer look at those countries’ gambling laws to see how they compare.


Although gambling is strictly regulated in Japan, in 2018 the government approved the legalisation and regulation of three integrated casino resorts, which will be the first in the country. The casinos are expected to be in Tokyo, Osaka, and Yokohama.

Other than horse race betting and specific motorsports betting, most forms of gambling are illegal in Japan. But there are special laws to allow the lottery and football pools. For all gambling activities in Japan, you must be at least 20 years of age. If you prefer gaming online, you may consider using options like Casumo.com as the market develops in the future. 


Any form of gambling in China is illegal. That includes online gambling, gambling overseas, and opening casinos abroad. However, in practice, Chinese people regularly participate in state-run lotteries, access gaming through offshore proxy gambling platforms, and travel to Macau or Hong Kong to access legal gaming facilities. In Hong Kong, lottery, mah-jong, race betting and football betting are available.

But Macau is the casino hot spot. It is known as the Asian Las Vegas, and with good reason. Macau casinos now bring in more revenue than Vegas casinos.

South Korea

Betting on horse racing, boat racing, lotteries, and cycling is legal in South Korea. But gambling at casinos is strictly prohibited for South Koreans. That does not stop the country’s only casino being extremely popular and lucrative, though. Officially, the Kangwon Land Casino is only accessible to tourists.

But in practice, locals regularly make the long journey to play games at the gambling establishment. Online gambling is illegal due to South Korean laws not-making a distinction between online gambling and land-based gambling.


Singapore has the second-most popular and profitable gambling establishments in all of Asia, next to Macau. The two official casinos in the country are the famous Resorts World Sentosa and Marina Bay Sands. Lottery and sports betting are also legal in Singapore. But online gambling is prohibited. You must be at least 18 years of age to gamble in Singapore, and at least 21 years of age to gamble in a casino.

The Philippines

Gambling is prevalent in The Philippines. Indeed, various legal and illegal forms of gambling are found in all areas of the archipelago. Illicit forms of gambling include Jueteng and Masiao, but the vast majority of gambling activities are legal. Casino gambling is especially popular. There are over twenty casinos in the Metro Manila area alone. Visitors must be 21 years of age to enter. Online gambling is also legal and thriving in The Philippines.

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