Why Some Countries have Banned Casinos

Fredrick Awino

The mention of casinos evoke mixed reactions depending on who is listening. Irrespective of what our individual perceptions of casinos are, we have to get it that they exist among us. Across the USA for example, so many cities have their names in the map of casinos. For instance, Las Vegas (Nevada), Atlantic City ( New Jersey), Reno (Nevada) and Tunica (Mississippi) all have spaces popular for casino gaming. While casinos keep growing and being embraced by many, some countries have strictly regulated or completely banned it. The jury lies out there on whether casinos need to be promoted or curtailed but then we here try to read into the thinking behind why certain countries have moved to ban casinos. 

Also learn about Best Ways to Learn to Play Casino Games

Gambling has been a highly controversial topic

While gambling has become more conventional worldwide over the recent years, in some countries it’s considered illegal. Like drinking and partying, gambling is generally frowned upon due to morality and religion in these countries. According to some cultures, gambling is an outright sin. In others too, it’s a crime that comes with serious socio economic consequences.

A look at the majestic gambling city of Las Vegas

Gambling has been linked to socioeconomic evils such as underage gambling, gambling addiction, and suicide because of debts. Consequently, some countries have concluded that the best way to protect their citizens is by outlawing gambling. It’s also seen as the best way to ensure societal norms and virtues are not eroded. 

Brief Background on Illegal Gambling 

While some people might enjoy gambling from time to time, it comes at a price. For instance, as a gambler you risk accumulating debt. There have been cases where individuals lost all their earnings on gambling. Paying off a gambling debt might be more difficult than signing up. 

This could explain why gambling is illegal in some countries. However, keep in mind that the reasons why gambling is illegal might differ from country to country. Such countries have put different laws in place to prevent people from gambling. Despite the fact that no religion has come out to declare gambling a sin, it is considered one regardless. 

Link Between Gambling, Religion and Culture

One quick glance at the countries where gambling is illegal and you’ll notice that they all have religion in common. In most of these countries, religion and culture are at the centre of day to day activities. Thus, activities such as gambling are seen as sacrilegious and altogether sinful. Subsequently, they are frowned upon and anyone who engages in them becomes something of an outlaw. 

For instance, most of the countries where gambling is illegal, Islam is the main religion. Most Muslim communities take religion very seriously and strive to live by it. You should also remember that Islamic religious laws are strictly against gambling.  Another good example is the Vatican where gambling is illegal thanks to its close religious ties. 

Link Between Gambling and Addiction Issues

Conduct a quick google search and you will come up with various stories related to gambling addiction. Many countries have reported a surge in the number of individuals addicted to gambling especially among the youth. It therefore explains why some countries have declared gambling illegal.  

Sadly, third-world countries top the list of countries with gambling addiction issues. Research has linked the problem to the high poverty levels in these countries. One such example is Cambodia. The only problem is that even though it’s illegal, most gamblers will look for alternatives. 

Relationship Between Gambling and Morality Issues 

Gambling is illegal in some countries because of its close link to morality and ethics. In some countries where gambling is illegal, laws have cited morality and ethics issues. While casinos and overall gambling might seem harmless in most cases, others take it to new extremes. These extremes are where high gambling debts and suicides come in. 

By outlawing gambling, policy makers believe that it will protect the youth and the general population. It also aims at protecting them from factors that might lure them into the world of gambling. Though there is no proof that it has been fully effective, it has probably helped some to some extent.

Lack of Individual Safety Guarantee When it Comes to Gambling

Some countries also outlaw gambling is because there is no framework that can guarantee the safety of the individual. Well, clearly gambling is illegalized to protect individuals from the risks involved in the gambling sector. However, laws are only as effective as the number of people that follow them. So, as long as people continue to look for alternative ways to gamble, the laws will remain ineffective. 

The problem is that alternatives mean that patrons revert to illegal gambling casinos. These come with even greater risks of gambling-related harm or lose their money. In worst case scenarios, an individual might end up indebted to criminal organizations. It makes one wonder if outlawing casinos is a good or bad thing!

Countries Where Gambling is Illegal 

At the moment, there are only fifteen countries where gambling is illegal. It’s illegal to participate in any form of gambling in these countries. As a matter of fact, if one is caught gambling, they risk criminal prosecution. Don’t forget the societal perceptions in these countries regarding gambling. 

Examples of countries where gambling is illegal include Cyprus, North Korea, United Arab Emirates, Singapore, Brunei and Cambodia. However, there are others where laws are slowly transitioning to legalizing gambling. These include; the Cayman Islands, Afghanistan, Indonesia, Algeria, Vatican City, and Pakistan. 

Keep in mind that other countries such as China and Japan have a generally gung-ho approach towards gambling. Interestingly, they have been easing it up recently maybe because of the tax advantages it comes with. Gambling is in fact, a huge part of Japan’s culture, as some of the best gambling animes out there attest. 

For the longest time, policy makers viewed gambling as a way for a society to progress upwards. It is because most economies were recovering from the effects of war. In some cultures such as Japanese culture, being a good cheat is considered an admirable quality. Only time can tell whether gambling will become legal or illegal in most parts of the world. 

List of countries that have banned or strictly regulated casinos

  • United Arab EmiratesCasinos are illegal  and  Telecommunications Regulatory Authority prevents users from accessing  the online ones.
  • Brunei-gambling is extremely illegal
  • Cambodia
  • North Korea
  • Japan
  • Singapore
  • Cyprus
  • Qatar
  • Lebanon




Author Fredrick Awino