Asian Betting Sites
Asia is a vast area with nearly 4.5 billion people and 48 different nations. As you might expect, the legality of sports betting in Asia varies from country to country. It also varies by type, with in-person betting legal in some jurisdictions and online betting legal in others.
This article sets out the legal status of online sports betting in the biggest and most popular betting regions on the world’s largest and most populous continent. It also details the common deposit and withdrawal methods available in the countries that have access to online sports betting. (Spoiler alert: that’s all of them, even places where online betting is not technically legal.)
Top Sports Betting Sites in Asia
Betway makes it easy to get started and then keeps you there with its huge selection and numerous ways to bet.Bonus: Up to £30 Free Bet
888sport is a fun site that makes it easy for the beginner to get started. It also offers enough extras to keep seasoned bettors interested, though some pro-bettors may be turned off.Bonus: 100% up to £100
bet365 serves millions of bettors around the world - the sheer number of international leagues they cover is unparalleled, among other perks.Bonus: Available
Established in 1983 and online since 1996, Intertops is one of the old guard when it comes to sports betting. Decent odds and enticing bonuses mean their solid stature in the market is more than deserved.Bonus: 50% up to $200
A big name that's been in business since 1934 doesn't need flashy promos as long as the service is dialed-in - William Hill is that name.Bonus: £30/€30 of free bets
Legal Status of Sports Betting by Country: A Quick Look
|COUNTRY||LEGALITY OF ONLINE SPORTS BETTING||DO ANY ONLINE BETTING SITES ALLOW PLAYERS FROM HERE?|
|China||Illegal, except via state-run sites||Yes|
|Hong Kong||Illegal, except via state-run sites||Yes|
|Philippines||Illegal, except via state-run sites||Yes|
|Singapore||Illegal, except via state-run sites||Yes, but very few|
|South Korea||Probably legal||Yes|
|Thailand||Illegal, except via state-run sites||Yes|
The laws of Bangladesh make nearly all forms of gambling illegal, including sports betting. It’s debatable whether the Public Gambling Act, 1867 applies to placing a wager online, since it was written over 150 years ago and does not expressly mention online betting, but it’s quite clear that the act is intended to ban all forms of betting in the country, so it is quite likely that placing a bet online would be considered illegal.
That said, Bangladeshi laws have no authority over online betting sites that operate legally in other jurisdictions, and the authorities do not seem to pursue residents who merely bet at foreign online sportsbooks.
As a result, many online betting sites offer their services to people from Bangladesh and many Bangladeshis take advantage of them.
But anyone betting online in Bangladesh should be aware that the Public Gambling Act, 1867 contains penalties for anyone caught contravening the act, specifically, “a fine not exceeding one hundred taka or to imprisonment … for any term not exceeding one month.”
How Do Bangladeshis Deposit And Withdraw Money?
For people in Bangladesh, the best way to deposit and withdraw to an online sportsbook is by using Neteller or Skrill, two electronic wallets (a.k.a. “e-wallets”) that basically function like online bank accounts.
Sites that accept players from Bangladesh almost all accept deposits by Visa and MasterCard, as well, but when it comes time to withdraw, Neteller is the more commonly accepted method.
Signing up for an e-wallet is relatively straightforward. Once set up, you will be able to quickly transfer money online between the account and your sportsbook. After you receive the card associated with your e-wallet, you will be able to withdraw the money in the account directly from an ATM.
The laws of mainland China (i.e. not including Hong Kong and Macau) prohibit almost all forms of gambling, including online sports betting. The only exceptions are government-run gambling terminals and lotteries.
The Chinese government has taken steps to restrict access to online betting sites, though many residents have found ways around this (usually by purchasing a VPN) and many online sportsbooks hosted in foreign countries offer their services to people in China.
Be aware, however, that people in China who are caught using online betting sites are subject to a wide range of penalties, including imprisonment and monetary fines.
How Do Chinese Residents Deposit And Withdraw Money?
Not easily, is the short answer. The authorities strictly regulate and block financial transactions with online sportsbooks. As with many countries in Asia, the best option for Chinese bettors is likely an e-wallet such as Neteller or Skrill.
Hong Kong offers more government-run gambling and betting options than mainland China, but – like the mainland – Hong Kong prohibits online sports betting, including both at sportsbooks located in Hong Kong and at those hosted in foreign jurisdictions.
This means it is technically illegal for people in Hong Kong to bet at online sportsbooks, whether those betting sites are located in Hong Kong or otherwise.
In practice, many foreign betting sites offer their services to people in Hong Kong, and many Hong Kong residents use them without being prosecuted. But in theory, those who do so run the risk of nine months’ imprisonment or a $30,000 fine if caught.
How Do Hong Kong Residents Deposit And Withdraw Money?
Depositing should be relatively straightforward if you have a major credit card like Visa or MasterCard. But withdrawing could be trickier.
Unlike most other Asian regions, Neteller is not available for people in Hong Kong to make transfers to or from online betting sites. It appears, though, that Skrill is still an option for Hong Kong bettors (depending on which site is being used) and it offers its services in Hong Kong dollars.
Other Hong Kong deposit and withdraw options include wire transfers, MoneyGram, UKash, and cheque. But again, which of those are available will depend on which site you’re betting at. Be sure your site of choice offers a suitable withdrawal option before you deposit.
Online sports betting has found a home in India, even though the country’s laws ban almost all forms of gambling. None of the centuries-old betting legislation in India prohibits placing wagers online and the laws of the land have no application to sportsbooks hosted outside of the country. Therefore, placing a bet at a foreign online sportsbook appears to be perfectly fine.
Even if the laws could be interpreted as prohibiting online gambling, there is no infrastructure in place for prosecuting or punishing offenders. The end result is that online betting is massively popular in India, and Indians have access to a wide variety of online sports betting options.
How Do Indians Deposit And Withdraw Money?
The best deposit and withdrawal option for Indians at online sportsbooks is likely an e-wallet like Neteller or Skrill. Most betting sites will accept credit cards (Visa and MasterCard) from Indian residents, but Indian banking laws can lead to transactions being declined.
Between the two popular e-waller options, Neteller is preferred over Skrill because the fees associated with depositing/withdrawing Indian rupees appear to be lower, and Neteller is more widely accepted across sportsbooks, allowing bettors to easily transfer funds from one site to another.
For Muslims in Malaysia, Sharia law prohibits all betting. But for the rest of the population, online betting falls into a legal loophole, and there is nothing that makes it illegal for Malaysians to place bets at offshore sportsbooks, even though other betting-related activities are banned, such as operating a betting site/house, whether live or online.
Virtually every half-decent sportsbook accepts Malaysian players, and given the legal framework at play, the result is that online betting is massively popular in Malaysia. There is little to no risk of being arrested, prosecuted, or fined just for placing a few bets over the internet at a foreign sportsbook.
Indeed, many sportsbooks encourage Malaysian players by processing deposits and withdrawals in ringgit.
How Do Malaysians Deposit And Withdraw Money?
Like those in India, Malaysians often find it difficult to deposit and withdraw by credit card, not because betting sites don’t offer such transactions to Malaysian bettors, but because local financial institutions often decline deposits and withdrawals by Visa and MasterCard.
The better option for Malaysians, like most Asian bettors, is an e-wallet like Neteller. But it’s far from the only option available. Another option that is uniquely popular in Malaysia is EntroPay, which functions like an online bank account with a prepaid Visa Card attached to it. Since the prepaid Visa is not associated with a Malaysian bank, there’s no middleman to decline the transaction.
Macau is widely known as a gambling haven. That’s mainly for in-person betting, though, not online sports wagering. The laws of Macau actually don’t address online betting. While the lack of a legal framework is presumed to mean that running an online betting site in Macau is illegal, the act of placing a bet online at a foreign sportsbook is not.
As a result, Macanese people can generally bet online at offshore sportsbooks without worrying that they are contravening any local laws.
Online sportsbooks have long recognized the appetite for betting in Macau and made their products available to Macanese, with almost all of the top sportsbooks offering their services in Cantonese.
How Do Macau Residents Deposit And Withdraw Money?
Macau is one of the few Asian regions where Neteller is unavailable for online deposits and withdrawals. Luckily, numerous other options are available, including credit cards (both Visa and MasterCard). Depending on which site you’re using, the following may also be listed as deposit and withdrawal options:
- Wire transfers
No matter which option you choose, if you deposit in Macanese pataca, your funds will be converted to another currency, usually US dollars, and you will likely find that the conversion results in your account having a little less than expected. Such is the nature of currency exchange.
Like many nations, the Philippines bans non-government entities from offering sports betting to residents, but it does not have any laws that directly address whether residents are allowed to place bets online at foreign sportsbooks.
In 2012, the courts found that the absence of such a ban means that betting online at offshore sites is perfectly fine, and Filipinos have no shortage of betting sites to choose from.
Many Filipinos choose offshore sportsbooks instead of the government-sanctioned options because the odds are more favorable in almost every situation. One experienced bettor recounted the following discrepancy in odds:
“the opening weekend of English Premier League, [the government option] was offering: Arsenal 1.36, Sunderland 10.00, and Draw 4.80. Shopping around with foreign betting sites I was able to find better odds on all three selections. This included Arsenal 1.40 … Draw 5.14 and Sunderland 10.13.”
How Do Filipinos Deposit And Withdraw Money?
If you’re in the Philippines and convinced that an online sportsbook is your best option, you will be able to get started and cash out in myriad ways.
Neteller is again one of the most popular options, though you may find that you can only withdraw via Neteller if you first deposited with Neteller. Credit cards are generally accepted, as well, especially for deposits and, given that the courts have said using foreign sportsbooks is legal, Filipinos are not nearly as likely to have their credit card transactions rejected by a local financial institution.
Depending on which site you’re using from the Philippines, the following deposit/withdrawal options may also be available:
- Wire transfer
Thanks to 2014’s Remote Gambling Act, online betting in Singapore is illegal except through the government-sanctioned Singapore Pools and Singapore Turf Club. Betting at any offshore sportsbooks is a contravention of local law and could land you in jail for up to six months or see you get fined thousands of dollars.
The government has taken steps to enforce its ban by blocking many online sportsbooks from being accessed within the country.
However, sportsbooks are clever and are always adapting, and people in Singapore still find online betting options, which they are highly motivated to use because offshore sportsbooks offer better odds than Singapore Pools.
How Do Singapore Residents Deposit And Withdraw Money?
Likely because of the strict government controls, you can add Singapore to the list of countries where Neteller and Skrill are unavailable for online sports betting. But options are still available for those who are willing to run afoul of local betting laws.
If you have a Visa or MasterCard, they will generally be accepted by sites that allow users from Singapore. Whether your financial institution blocks the transaction is another matter.
Because of the tight controls, Bitcoin is becoming more and more popular in Singapore due to its anonymity. With no third-party middleman, there is no one to block the transaction. Not all the accessible sportsbooks offer it as a deposit and withdrawal method yet, but expect it to become increasingly popular with the sites, themselves, because of both the anonymous nature and low fees (compared to credit card companies like Visa).
South Korean law expressly prohibits all but a few select forms of gambling. Unless using one of the state-run enterprises — Sports Toto or Sports Proto — Korean nationals are not legally allowed to wager on sports.
That doesn’t just mean when they are at home in Korea, either. No matter where they are in the world, no matter which site they are using (save for the government-run sites), it is illegal for Koreans to wager on sports online.
Obviously, Koreans can only be punished for gambling abroad after they return to Korea, but there have been high-profile examples of just that.
— Lizbeth Sanchez (@LizBeiia) June 6, 2011
Despite the pretty clear legal framework and the government’s best efforts to limit access, many offshore sportsbooks are still available to Koreans. While catching and punishing the average punter is not a big concern for the authorities, residents who use offshore sportsbooks do so at their own peril.
How Do South Koreans Deposit And Withdraw Money?
Setting aside the legality issue, e-wallets (Neteller, Skrill) are one of the best options for depositing and withdrawing money for Koreans using online sportsbooks. Given the illegal nature of the activity, payments with credit cards and bank transfers are often blocked by the third-party financial institutions involved in the process.
That said, e-wallets won’t be the only option available to South Korean players. It’s just one of the more reliable options.
Bitcoin is another safe choice for Koreans, but it’s not as widely supported as e-wallets yet.
Thailand’s online betting situation is a lot like Singapore, but less strictly enforced. That is to say, online betting anywhere other than the government-sanctioned sites is technically illegal, and authorities go so far as to block access to certain offshore sportsbooks.
However, the authorities in Thailand are much less diligent than in Singapore and much less worried about residents placing a few bets online. As such, people in Thailand have access to numerous online sportsbooks – many more than their neighbours in Singapore — and they use them with little worry about prosecution, as the government generally turns a blind eye.
One site estimates that as few as 10 people per year (all located in the capital of Bangkok) are arrested because of their involvement with online betting, whereas the number of Thai people who use such sites is in the tens of thousands. Still, though, it is illegal and there is risk of punishment if caught.
Many sites facilitate and encourage Thai users by processing deposits and withdrawals in baht.
How Do Thailand Residents Deposit And Withdraw Money?
The most popular deposit and withdrawal methods for Thai bettors are Visa, e-wallets (like Neteller and Skrill), and EntroPay (essentially an online bank account which you can connect to a prepaid credit card).
Some sites will also accept MasterCard, EcoPayz, and bank transfers.
Like other jurisdictions where online betting is technically illegal, transactions that have to go through a financial institution as a middleman are often blocked. Be sure to have a backup option in mind if you’re planning to deposit by credit card, in particular.
Proxy Betting (a.k.a. Betting Brokers)
As noted in the sections above, or as you may have experienced in real life, many Asian countries restrict access to online betting sites. This can lead to an unfortunate scenario for bettors, i.e., they are not able to take advantage of the best odds.
This can make a huge difference as state-run betting options often have a much higher vigorish than online sportsbooks, meaning bettors have to win at a much higher rate in order to be profitable.
Proxy betting (or betting brokerages) is a potential solution to this problem, but punters must tread carefully.
Proxy betting means betting through a middle-man (or middle-woman) who is physically located in a region that has access to the sportsbook you want to use. You communicate with the proxy by way of the telephone or the internet and inform him/her of which bets you would like to place.
The proxy then places the bets for you in exchange for either a set fee or a commission on winning wagers. This allows bettors to capitalize on the best odds available no matter where they reside.
Proxy betting over Skype (also known as “Skype betting”) is, in particular, becoming more and more common, and many online sites profess to offer proxy Skype betting.
Obviously, trust is paramount in proxy betting. So don’t just sign up and use the first site you see. Be sure to do your research, read reviews, and only use reputable proxy-betting services. Make sure the process for getting paid is clearly set out and makes sense before transferring any money.
Key Factors in Choosing a Sportsbook
No matter where in Asia you reside, chances are that you will have numerous options when it comes time to pick an online sportsbook.
Our research indicates that the four most important variables are the following:
- Safety/Anonymity: Since so many countries in Asia render it technically illegal to use offshore sportsbooks, finding a site that will keep your personal information secure and can process transactions in a way that doesn’t hand over banking details to third parties is often a big concern.
- Accessibility: Obviously you need your sportsbook to be available in your region. However, accessibility is about more than just bare access. Users want to be able to log-in from anywhere these days, no matter the time of day or the platform. It’s becoming increasingly common for bettors to make wagers on their mobile devices morning, noon, and night.
- Ease of Use: Does the sportsbook you’re considering have a user-friendly look? Does it offer its services in your preferred language? Is it clear how to deposit and withdraw? All of the above will affect how enjoyable your experience is as an online bettor.
- Variety of Sports: Different sports are popular in different countries. Having a wide variety of markets to choose from, including the ones that are uniquely popular in your country, is a big part of finding the right sportsbook for you.