Is Gambling A Crime?

Every once in a while, the question “is gambling a crime?” comes up on Google search. The truth is that there are still several countries where people consider the art of gambling as a crime. If you want to understand why people think the act is a crime, you would need to look at people’s beliefs.

Gambling A Crime

The value system of people in a particular country or region would determine what they deem illegal or criminal. Some people look at gambling from a religious standpoint and believe it is wrong. Some people consider how it can wreck a person financially and do not want anyone to have anything to do with gambling.

When people with these values get into power, they automatically push for laws that would make gambling an actual crime. There are countries where the consensus is that to maintain a sane and safe community and they have to ban gambling.

Which Regions Considers Gambling as a Crime?

As of this writing, fifteen countries in the world consider gambling as a crime. In these countries, if anyone participates in gambling, the government can use such persons. Here are some of the names of countries that fall under such category: Cambodia, North Korea, Cayman Islands, Singapore, Afghanistan, Pakistan,United Arab Emirates, Vatican City, Indonesia, Algeria, Cyprus

There is a tendency that some of these countries might one day legalize gambling. This is due to the opportunities the countries would reap in taxes if gambling becomes legal.

Does it Help to Criminalize Gambling?

When one goes through years of results from countries that have banned gambling, the informed answer to this question is no. Humans have a way they always seek out forbidden desires. Countries with bans on gambling typically have higher illegal gambling venues. It is the case of people defying the law to satisfy their desires.

The government makes gambling a crime when it cannot develop a strategy to ensure our citizens are safe while they bet. It is a lot more dangerous for people to seek out illegal gambling venues because they might get cheated of all their funds.
There is also the possibility that the illegal venues are run by criminals, putting citizens at a higher risk. They could become indebted to sketchy individuals and get into trouble in the process.

Gambling A Crime

Is Gambling a Crime in Regions Where it has Been Legalized?

It might sound odd, but it is possible for gambling to be still considered a crime in a country where the government had legalized it. This happens when nefarious individuals try to play smart and use gambling as a ploy to launder money. Many gangs and crime syndicates use this method to clean up the money they get from their shady deals.

The moment activities like this occur, then gambling under such situations has become a criminal offense. So people must always be careful about the places they decide to gamble. The government has legalized gambling does not mean all gambling units are running a legal business.

In Which Countries Would Gambling Always be a Crime?

The fact is that while there are countries whose detest for gambling is so great. You can never know whether they may change their policies or not. Sometimes countries might decide to relax their ban on the activity and allow their citizens to participate a bit. A perfect case study is China. Typically, China’s laws do not encourage gambling, but the government allows its citizens to participate in lotteries.

How the Law Varies for Different Gambling Activities

As I have hinted above, several activities encompass gambling as a whole. Some of these activities are: Casinos, Lotteries, Bingo, Sports Betting

In the same way there are different activities, there are also different laws guiding them. Some countries allow their citizens to play all, while some frown at all the activities. There are also minimum age limits for these activities, which people must be adhere to. Some countries do not consider gambling a crime, but it could become a punishable offense when an underage individual does it.

Gambling A Crime

Underage Gambling

Most underage gamblers do not know the answer to the question “is gambling a crime?”. Underage gambling occurs when individuals who are not up to the stipulated age for gambling attempt to gamble either successfully or not. In most countries, the specified period for gambling is 18 years of age. The government considers any gambler under the age of 18 as an underage gambler. There are many legal consequences for underage gamblers. It includes fines of up to a thousand dollars, suspension of one driving license, and even going to prison. The mental result is usually more significant for the individual and  they do not realize it until it is usually too late.

Usually, for many underage gamblers, it becomes an obsession for them. It becomes a priority in their life and no longer a hobby or something they do to while away time. Underage gamblers usually develop addictions that make them lose interest in any activity which including eating or sleeping. They are not mentally designed to handle the stress of losing a big bet and they might end up slipping into depression or even committing suicide.

Signs of Underage Gambling

Students Missing Class

Most times, a student who gambles tends to skip class to stay online for longer hours. In their opinion, this would translate to them making enough money.

Lower Grades

Underage gamblers usually have lower grades because they would not be able to keep up with the pressure of school works like assignments and the likes and would have to pick one over the other, in this case, betting.

Unexplained Change in Behavior

There is a very high chance of the individuals behavior-changing once he becomes addicted to gambling. The individual becomes more secretive, gets agitated faster and tends to have an attitude change.

Increased Interest in Money

The individual becomes more materialistic and then exhibits increased interest in money.

Unexplained Cash

Underage gamblers can also win cash. This can lead to him buying things that are not necessary while trying to show off his newfound fortune. An underage gambler cannot explain the origin of their money, which will indicate an interest in gambling.

Criminal Punishment for Illegal Gambling

To a considerable extent, gambling is a crime in various countries. But they all have different punishments associated with gambling as a crime. However, the type of punishment the government allots to other gambling crimes depends on the type of crime and the city the individual committed the crime. Gambling can be classified as a misdemeanor offense or a felony. It all depends on the situation and position of the state law.

Jail Time

Gamblers convicted for gambling as a misdemeanor offense face up to a year in a local jail or county prison. It varies from place to place, although states would impose maximum jail sentences for a misdemeanor such as gambling. This can extend up to 20 days in jail. If you are convicted of a felony offense, the least prison time you get is a year and as much as ten years. This usually is the case when your gambling business is used to launder money, that is, to make illegal money clean. If caught, the company owner is convicted as a felony and can spend up to 20 years in prison if convicted.

National Fines

Fines for gambling are usually a norm. It ranges from a few dollars to $1000 for misdemeanor offenses. Felony offenses, on the other hand, can also attract a fine. But it is usually a more significant amount and can be as high as $15000 or more. Usually, fines can be attached to jail terms or community service or can be independent.


Sometimes, gamblers are given probation sentence for gambling offenses instead of jail terms or fines. The probation period can be 12 months or more and can extend up to 2-3 years. Usually, probation comes with court orders. This tells you activities to engage in and not to engage in. In some cases, the court may order you to stop gambling. If you show signs or admit to being a gambler, the court may tell you to participate in a gambling addiction program. More so, you would be required to regularly report to a probation officer and avoid getting into trouble with the law.

In conclusion, if you are convicted of illegal gambling, it can have a tremendous impact on your life and the life of those dependent on you. It is always advisable to get the facts right, as ignorance is not an excuse in the court of law. We hope the information provided helps you answer the question “is gambling a crime?”