Singapore Punishes Illegal Gambling Worse Than North Korea

April 19, 2023 | Government

(April 17, 2023) — In many countries around the world gambling is prohibited and bettors can face serious consequences if caught. Every country has separate laws with different levels of punishment issued if found guilty.

At Bitcoin Casinos, we have researched from various sources (see bottom of PR), the countries across the world with the highest punishments for getting caught when illegal gambling.

Below is a list of the top 10 worst places in the world to get caught in illegal gambling – ranked by maximum jail time

Highlights from the data:

  • Singaporean gamblers face 10 years in jail and £700,000 fine
  • North Korean citizens will be prosecuted for gambling, only tourists allowed at licensed casinos
  • 22 year old man from Hong Kong arrested and seized over £150,000 in betting records
  • Popular internet figure in Thailand jailed for 54 years for gambling crimes

Full story here:

10. Poland

Offshore gambling is illegal in Poland and only Polish-licensed gambling is legal under the country’s Gambling Act. Over 15,000 gambling websites are blocked and unable to be accessed due to the country’s strict laws.

In 2021, Poland’s Ministry of Finance and National Revenue Administration issued a warning to residents that illegal gambling could carry a fine of up to £850,000.

Penalty: Up to £850,000 fine

9. Qatar

No locally authorised casinos or betting sites exist in Qatar. The law penalises gamblers with a term of imprisonment for up to three months and a £700 fine.

Running a gambling organisation is punished with up to a year of imprisonment and a £1,000 fine. If you are caught with gambling apps on your phone or electronic device, it is likely to be confiscated.

Penalty: 3 months imprisonment, £700 fine

8. Malaysia

Malaysia’s Police Force announced that they had arrested 905 people across the country in a two-week period for gambling crimes earlier this year.

Authorities seized over £100,000, but didn’t specify what type of gambling or betting was taking place. Gambling is illegal in Malaysia except for one casino – Resorts World Genting.

Kedah, a state in Malaysia, banned all forms of gambling including lotteries at the start of 2023. The Common Gaming Houses Act 1953 states that gamblers can receive monetary fines and up to six months in jail, even if they’re gambling in their own homes or at the home of a friend or family member.

Penalty: 6 months in jail and a fine

7. Thailand

In December 2022, a popular internet identity was sentenced to 54 years in prison on illegal gambling offences.

30-year-old Siapo Po-arnon was one of 21 defendants charged with violating the Gambling Act and the Money Laundering Act by encouraging people to gamble on websites that he either ran or owned.

461 people were arrested In Thailand in 2022 for involvement in illegal online gambling websites. Betting is illegal in the country outside of the official lottery and a small number of horse racing tracks.

Penalty: 1 year in jail, £25 fine

6. United Arab Emirates

In the United Arab Emirates, Islam is the official religion of the country meaning gambling is prohibited and illegal in all forms.

Illegal gambling carries a maximum sentence of up to two years in prison and/or a fine of £13,000. Although offshore websites are blocked by the country’s internet providers, residents are still able to access illegal gambling through proxy servers.

Anyone who runs an illegal gambling operation will be punished with imprisonment for a maximum period of ten years.

Penalty: 2 years in prison and/or £13,000 fine

5. North Korea

Despite being banned for North Korean citizens, two casinos exist in the country for the Chinese tourist market in Rason and the capital city Pyongyang.

Police in a Chinese city on the border with North Korea arrested ten North Korean trade workers for illegally gambling. The trade workers were reportedly betting 100 yuan (about £10) each.

Penalty: 3 years hard labour

4. China

Since the Communist Party took power in 1949, gambling in China has been illegal. All forms are outlawed, but illegal gambling is common throughout the country.

Gambling on anything, whether it be poker or other card games, sports betting, horse betting and lotteries are all illegal in China.

In 2010, The Telegraph reported that an estimated one trillion yuan (£117 billion) is wagered in illegal gambling every year in China.

Penalty: 3 years in prison and a fine

3. Japan

Most forms of gambling in Japan are illegal, however several exceptions apply including betting on horse racing and certain motorsports. ‘Kōei kyōgi’ are public races that can be gambled on legally: horse racing, bicycle racing, powerboat racing and asphalt speedway motorcycle racing.

Illegal gamblers will face a fine of up to £3,000 whilst anyone who runs or operates a gambling ring faces imprisonment with a minimum period of three months and maximum five years.

Penalty: Minimum 3 months and maximum 5 years in prison, £3,000 fine

2. Hong Kong

During the recent World Cup, Hong Kong police arrested a 22-year-old man on suspicion of promoting bookmaking and seized over £150,000 in betting records during a raid on his home.

Officers discovered at least 16 accounts of an illegal gambling website on his phone and computer and bets were as high as tens of thousands of pounds. In Hong Kong, the offence is punishable by up to seven years in jail and a fine of up to £500,000.

Penalty: Up to 7 years in jail, up to £500,000 fine

1. Singapore

Under the Gambling Control Act 2022, anyone who is found to be involved in unlawful betting operations in Singapore shall be liable on conviction to a maximum fine of £200,000 and imprisoned for up to five years. Repeat offenders can be jailed for up to ten years and fined up to £700,000.

Under the same Act, any person who gambles with an unlawful gambling service or provider shall be liable on conviction to a maximum fine of £10,000 and imprisoned for up to six months.

As of December 2022, over 2,400 people had been arrested in Singapore for illegal gambling since 2019. Large gatherings of punters have been reported in the past year for illegal gambling on horse racing, often taking place in coffee shops and car parks.

Penalty: Up to 10 years in jail and up to £700,000 fine


A spokesperson for Bitcoin Casinos commented on the data, “Illegal gambling is a serious crime in many parts of the world which comes with harsh punishments. Singapore shows no mercy when it comes to this and repeat offenders are looking at a maximum of 10 years in jail and a fine of up to $700,000.

EU member Poland is a surprising addition to this list and any residents caught using offshore sites can face a fine up to $850,000”

AUTHOR: Liam Solomon.

Liam is a content writer for Bitcoin Casinos. He has 7 years of experience writing articles on trending topics including sports and finance. Liam has a passion for analysing trending data and has had his data shared in publications including New York Times, BBC and 1000’s more.

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Sent by: Max Barlow, Data Analyst,, E:

SOURCES: Bitcoin Casinos via