The legality of sports betting varies significantly from country to country, with some nations embracing it as a legitimate form of entertainment and others prohibiting it outright. In this article, we’ll provide an overview of the legal status in several major countries and regions worldwide.

United States

In the United States, the legality of sports betting has undergone significant changes in recent years. Until 2018, PASPA limited sports betting to Nevada and a few other states. However, in May 2018, the Supreme Court struck down PASPA, allowing states to legalise and regulate sports betting. Since the Supreme Court decision, many states have taken advantage of the opportunity to legalise sports betting, either online, in-person, or both. As of 2021, over 20 states have legalised gambling, with more expected to follow. However, the specific regulations and requirements vary from state to state, so checking your state’s laws is essential.

United Kingdom

In the United Kingdom, sports betting is fully legal and regulated. In the UK, sports betting is legal, with a well-established and mature market. The Gambling Act 2005 set the framework for sports betting and other kinds of gambling, and the UK Gambling Commission oversees the industry. British residents can legally place bets online or at physical bookmakers, and the industry is regulated to ensure fair gambling practices.


Australia has a regulated market allowing online and in-person wagering. Each state and territory has gambling laws and regulatory bodies which oversee the industry and set the rules for sports betting operators. However, the Interactive Gambling Act 2001 prohibits online gambling operators from offering certain types of betting products, such as online casino games and poker, to Australian residents. On the other hand, sports betting is permitted as long as the operator is licensed in Australia.

European Union

The legality of sports betting in the European Union varies from country to country, as each member state has the authority to regulate gambling within its borders. Some countries, like the United Kingdom, have fully legalised and regulated sports betting markets, while others have more restrictive laws. In general, many EU countries allow some form of legal sports betting online or through licensed physical bookmakers. However, the specific regulations, licensing requirements, and tax rates can differ significantly between countries.


As of August 2021, single-event Apostas esportivas legal in Canada following the passage of legislation known as Bill C-218. This bill amended the Criminal Code to allow for single-event sports betting, expanding upon the previously legal parlay-style betting. Each province and territory determines how to implement and regulate single-event sports betting within its jurisdiction. Some provinces, like Ontario, have already launched regulated online sports betting markets, while others are developing their frameworks.


Asia’s legality of sports betting varies greatly. In some nations, like Japan and South Korea, betting on sports is prohibited. However, other countries like the Philippines have legal and regulated sports betting markets. In some Asian countries, sports betting operates in a legal grey area or through unofficial channels. For example, in China, where gambling is mostly illegal, many residents still engage in sports betting through offshore websites or underground bookmakers.

Make sure you check the laws regarding sports betting in your country to ensure compliance and to understand any restrictions or legal requirements. Regardless of where you live, staying informed about sports betting laws and prioritising responsible gambling practices is essential.


Clare Louise