Sports Betting Around the World

Sports betting is a hugely popular leisure activity for sports fans, making up around 50 percent of the global online gambling market, the fastest growing segment of the gambling industry. If you’ve ever wondered how sports betting looks like around the world, you are at the right place. In this article, we offer a brief overview of the sports betting regulations in countries with the largest sports betting markets in the world: USA, China, Japan, and the UK.


According to Statista “with about one third of the global gambling gross win, Asia is the biggest market for gambling and sports betting in particular.” Nevertheless, sports betting is illegal in most of China, with an exception of specially administered Hong Kong and Macau.

In Hong Kong, you can bet legally on horse races and football, but not online. In Macau,  the world capital of gambling, gambling laws are very liberal. Online gambling is not regulated, and it is currently allowed to place bets via foreign-based online casinos such as Sbobet, which offers a Sbobet 优惠码 (coupon code), and is one of the first online sports betting companies to enter the Asian market. Today, Sbobet is the world’s leader in the industry and was awarded as Asia’s Best Operator of the Year in 2009 and 2010.

The only legal form of sports betting in mainland China is the national China Sports Lottery. However, there are indications that things could change soon, especially because of the potentially huge profits that could boost China’s economic development.


Only several forms of sports betting are legal in Japan: horse racing, powerboat racing, bicycle racing, football and motorcycle racing. All other forms of gambling with an exception of the lottery are banned by Japan’s Criminal Code chapter 23. However, this hasn’t stopped Japan from being one of the nations that spend most on sports betting. In 2014, Japan was the top sports betting nation in the world, with a total gross win of €9,394.3 million.


All forms of sports betting are completely legal in the UK, as long as the operator has a proper licence. There are no restrictions on sports, online betting and betting in stadiums. This has been the case since 2005 when the UK significantly liberalized its gambling laws. The most popular betting markets include horse racing, greyhound racing and football.


The US could soon become the biggest sports betting market in the world. In May 2018, the US Supreme Court voted to strike down the 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act that banned individual states from authorizing betting on sports. Until then, Nevada was the only state where sports betting was completely legal, but after this decision, sports betting is expected to soon become legal across the US. Delaware and New Jersey already legalized sports betting and several other states are making the steps.

In addition to these new developments, horse racing is already legal in most states and the US is one of the world leaders in betting on horses.

Author: DissAthleticsClub