Country Guides

On this page you’ll find a list of countries that we’ve written specific guides for along with recommendations of the best betting sites and online casinos for players from that country. If you don’t see your country on the list, rest assured that we’ll be adding more as the site grows so it could well make an appearance in the not too distant future.

You could also be forgiven for wondering why only one of the countries listed above is in Europe. The reason for this is simple, we have readers from all over the world and players from most european countries can bet and play on any of the sites on this website, whereas the above countries tend to be a bit more restrictive.

So if you’re from Germany, Sweden, Norway, Poland or anywhere else in the EU simply head to our main page for recommendations. We will, of course, be adding guides to various European countries as well, starting with those that have specific laws that affect our recommendations – such as France.

The betting market in the USA is probably one of the most misunderstood things in the gambling industry. There is much confusion, and rightly so, over whether punters in the US can wager in an online sports book. Let’s start with a short background on how this all came about, without getting too technical, before talking you through what you can and cant do in todays marketplace.

Prior to 2005, The US was fully licensed in both the ability serve sports betting customers and to host sports betting outlets. In 2006 the UIGEA (Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act) that basically pulled the plug on how punters were able to bank with online sports books. Prior to the UIGEA getting involved it was tough, if not impossible for the government to control the amount of funds that passed between punters and bookmakers, making taxing it almost impossible.

Whilst this is pretty much the tip of the iceberg, it saw the removal of US based sports bettors from the industry, which in turn resulted in many US facing bookmakers to close their doors. Now, one key thing to remember here is that at not point was a federal law passed banning online gambling. But, a federal law was passed stating that any transactions between punters and US bookmakers are illegal. Which brings us to where we are today.

Is online betting legal in the USA?

This is where it starts to get a little confusing, but hopefully we can clear things up for you. Online gambling is not illegal in the USA by any federal law. A federal law is where the government decides that something is illegal throughout the country. However, some states have banned via that of state law, which, if no federal law is in place, then this will stand throughout the perimeter of that state.

Next we want to state that there is a federal law against sports books taking money over the Internet for online betting. This law is only in place for sports bets and not necessarily casino or poker (although, as you’ve probably guesses, it gets a little more complicated than that, but for the purpose of this article we will be sticking sports betting). That being said, there is no law against anyone actually placing the bets, just simply bookmakers from taking the bets.

The key point to take from pretty much all of the legal jargon is that it is against federal law for banks to process online gambling transactions. This means they cannot take any deposits or withdrawals via the bank and process them to gambling outlets. As a result of this, a lot of sports books that have got permission to trade in US have taken to using payment methods such as e-wallets, of which we will discuss later in this article.

As a bit of recap to all this, the main problem occurs when it comes to processing the funds into your betting account. It’s legal to place a wager with a registered sports book (which is a common misconception) but it is illegal to process payments through your bank.

The main thing this all boils down to now is if each state is willing to open its doors to allow online gambling. Over the last couple of years there have been significant strides made into once again making online gambling a legal pastime for US punters, which is promising. However, it’s been a long, drawn out process which has seen certain states really struggle to get a licence with many still massively opposed to the idea.

There are three states that are currently allowing online gambling in the US which are Delaware, Nevada and New Jersey. But whilst there is only 3 states out of 50 that have passed the bill almost 10 years after the UIGEA stepped in, the future actually looks a lot brighter for US users. States such as Washington and The District of Columbia are areas in which are trying to push the bill to legalise online gambling.

Whilst the future of online gambling in the US is still relatively uncertain, you would think that over time they would be able to work out a way in which it can suit all parties. The UK for example manage to make money from the bookmakers themselves rather than tax free punters and the US are now in a huge minority when it comes to countries that legalise gambling. Whilst you just never know which way the US market will turn these days, it would be surprising to not see some sort of revival from the USA’s gambling infrastructure over the coming years.

Are winnings taxable?

Gambling winnings for US bettors are fully taxable and must be declared to the IRS within your yearly tax reports. In fact, it doesn’t matter if your winnings from gambling are in the form of a cash prize or physical price (car, holiday etc.) both must be declared and taxable as required.

Payment methods

Payment methods are a really pain in the backside when it comes to US based players. As we have already stated, it is illegal by federal law for any US bank to process any payment to a gambling related site. This basically rules out the possibility of banking with your debit card or bank account (bank transfers).

But there are ways around it, which are perfectly legal. There is no law in place to say the use of e-wallets to bank with bookmakers is prohibited. In fact, e-wallets are the perfect solution to what’s become a tricky area for US punters and it allows them to pre load an account – with cash if they chose – and deposit to a bookmaker without providing any banking details what so ever.

One of the best options for US players is that of Western Union. Both allow punters to either load a pre paid card with cash or simply get a unique payment ID from the bookmaker and literally popping down to the local shop and transferring the money that way. One thing we will say about both these options is that fees are quite high in comparison to other e-wallets, but they are reliable, safe and freely available throughout the US.

Canada is a country that falls under a tricky little section when it comes to betting online. A term often used within the betting industry is ‘grey area’ and this is pretty much as close as you are going to get to sum up the situation. Throughout this article we will try and break down the ins and outs of how the country works in relation to online betting.

Canada actually has a long tradition of betting. In the 1960s wagering on sports such as hockey and American Football were favoured pastimes for most. Times have changed quite dramatically since then and its clear that a lot of people are still widely unsure if you are legally allowed to bet online.

What we have found is that it would appear a lot of the problems in the US have slowly started to come into fruition within Canada. This was widely to be expected but it’s taken a fair few years for people to understand exactly what they can and cant do when it comes to online gambling within Canada.

Is online betting legal in Canada?

As a punter you are actually allowed to wager online using bookmakers that will accept Canadian bettors. This means that you can technically reside in Canada and use a European bookmaker that allows Canadians through their doors.

The flip side of this is that bookmakers are not allowed to operate out of Canadian state boundaries. The rules that are currently in place make the trading of gambling outlets prohibited from within Canada, meaning that you aren’t able to wager on sports books from within the country.

It starts to get a little more complicated again. Different rules for sports betting, poker and casino use are all in place for Canadian residents. The sports betting section states that only parlays and multiple bets are allowed, with single bets being strictly prohibited. We aren’t completely sure the reasoning behind this, but what we would guess is that it generally takes the ‘skill’ factor out of betting to make it more a recreational activity, rather than a professional one.

As a result of these types of laws, Canada has seen an influx of bettors from the US take up residency from within their country. As the US have strictly prohibited people accessing betting and gambling sites, it’s made it almost impossible for people earning a living from such recreational activities. Canada’s more relaxed laws on actually using bookmakers from outside of the country whilst still residing in Canada have proved to be a popular option for most.

How Canada differs from a lot of countries (the US in particular) is that each province can set their own gambling laws to suit their residents. The country as a whole does not determine whether online gambling within those provinces should be legal or not and as such means the laws are often more relaxed than a countrywide legislation.

With each state comes their own governing body that get the final notion on how they want to proceed with online gambling. There is one exception to this though and that’s through the Kahnawake Gaming Commission who is independent to that of Canada. What you will find is that a lot of countries around the world, US included, regulate from the Kahnawake Gaming Commission, which comes with a fair amount of irony being that they reside in a country which forbids bookmakers to trade.

The future of betting in Canada is actually a fair bit brighter than it was maybe 5 years ago. The US are slowly starting to see signs of recovery with individual states provide legal options for companies to both trade and for punters to play out of. Whilst this is essentially wont have any legal effect on how Canada continues to trade, if the US were to come back into the market in a more populated manner, then it would likely see Canada follow suit. A timescale for this hasn’t been set, but massive steps have been taken in the US over the last two years, with more states filling for the legalisation of online gambling. It appears to be a very much wait and see situation for Canada though as to how readily available they will make trading for bookmakers out of the country.

As a final point in this section we just want to make you aware that no single person has ever been prosecuted for gambling within Canada. If the situation ever occurred where you’d been playing at a bookmaker or casino that was trading illegally then it’s highly likely that that terminal would be closed down without prosecution to the punters.

Are winnings taxable?

Taxing in Canada is yet another pretty ‘grey area’ in our opinion. It is stated that you will not have to pay taxes on any gambling winnings as long as it’s gained in a non business-oriented action. This means that as long as you aren’t betting full time, then you shouldn’t be deemed to have to pay taxes on your winnings.

It’s a grey area in terms of distinguishing between what’s recreational and what’s professional. If betting is your sole income and something you do throughout your day then taxes will be deemed payable. If you place bets on the weekend and at low stakes then they wont. If you are in-between this then we would highly recommend getting in touch with a lawyer to see where you stand as you don’t want to get into a situation where the government decide that betting is more than recreational habit and they back tax your winnings.

Payment methods

There are two standout payment options when it comes to banking for Canadian punters; these are Skrill and InstaDebit.

Skrill is regarded as one of the biggest e-wallets in the world and the reason why they are so popular in Canada is basically because of their availability. There are so many companies outside of gambling that allow you to use this e-wallet to transfer funds to merchants and also make payments to your betting site. On top of that you can pick up a Skrill card that will allow you to access your funds from an ATM or pay at any MasterCard accepting shop.

InstaDebit is an interesting one as it’s an e-wallet that’s only available to Canadian users. The site works in much the same as way as Skrill, in that you load up funds from your bank account, but the restrictions means that it’s a very targeted funding source and can be quite restricting.

Don’t forget that you can still use your credit/debit card to deposit in CAD (Canadian Dollars) if you choose not to use the e-wallet option. This is often the cheapest way to bank as fees are minimal if not none existent, but it can sometimes take a day or two to get funds in and out of your account, which can be frustrating.

The UK is one of the biggest sectors in the world when it comes to online betting. Their betting history goes back to the 19th century and you will find that it’s very much something that’s a part of their culture. Gambling is seen very much as an accepted pastime in the UK and there is very little ‘frowned’ upon when it comes to placing bets.

One of the main reasons to this is that gambling laws are pretty relaxed for the average punter. Most of the larger European bookmakers allow you to wager in GBP using your bank card and you can have an account set up within just a couple of minutes. Whilst we will go into much more detail about how the UK betting economy works throughout this article, you can be pretty much safe in the knowledge that gambling is fully legal but also fully regulated.

As a result of all this, the UK has a high number of professional gamblers who reside in the country. This is again a result of not only the relaxed gambling laws, but also the culture that surrounds betting within the UK.

Is online betting in the UK legal?

The top and bottom of the this answer if yes, gambling is legal in the UK providing you are 18 years of age or older. It probably will come as little surprise to hear this for most; especially if you are from the UK and see how readily online gambling is advertised on TV, radio, newspapers and online. This is also the reason why so many professional bettors reside in the UK, as we mentioned previously.

It must be noted that the powers that be are extremely strict in bookmakers maintaining that no person under the age of 18 be allowed to gamble online or at any other establishment. Whilst there are many rules and regulations for betting within the UK, the clamp down on underage gambling is probably the most vigilant of the lot.

The UK’s gambling sector is run and legislated by the Gambling commission. These guys were put in place via a bill that was passed in 2005 and basically oversee everything that goes on within the industry. They are in place to make sure that bookmakers are abiding to certain rules and regulations, but more importantly to make sure that bookmakers aren’t extorting punters or betting sites. They are run on behalf of the governments Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

The Gambling Commission will also oversee all licenses that are handed out within the industry. Bookmakers in particular must meet a stringent range of criteria before they are accepted. Again, this type of regulation is in place to protect the punter and if you ever need to find out if a bookmaker has been regulated or not then you check their website to see a full list (http://www.gamblingcommission.gov.uk/default.aspx)

Since the introduction of the Gambling Commission in 2005 the number of fraudulent acts by rogue bookmakers has dramatically decreased. These days they are very quick to crack down on non-conforming bookmakers making the UK one of the safest places in which to place your bets.

The future of the Gambling Commission looks set to continue, as the good work they have carried out thus far seems to be keeping the rogue bookmaker at bay. That being said, what a lot of people may not realise is that many of the larger bookmakers that you see on your TV screens are actually based out of British territories that are known as ‘Tax Havens’. One of the most popular places is that of Gibraltar.

The Gambling Commission are in fact currently trying to push an act that see’s bookmakers charged a 15% tax on online bets along with any bookmaker wanting to advertise in the UK having to apply for a license within the UK. This means that companies such as Bet Victor and 32 Red (two companies that reside and are licensed in Gibraltar) will have to either pay for two licenses (one from Gibraltar and one from the UK) or be forced out of the UK market.

If this regulation is passed it’s unlikely that companies whose bread and butter markets are from the UK are going to jump ship. But it’s likely that there will be cuts in place to cover the 15% hike taxes the company will now have to pay. Essentially, the ploy is down to UK getting back the betting companies that make them so much money over years gone by. Whilst some do still reside within the UK, many have moved to seek tax relief from British Territories around the world.

Are winnings taxable?

As with a lot of the legislation when it comes to betting in the UK, the tax situation for bettors is very black and white. Basically, any winnings that are made from betting online or from brick and mortar betting establishments are not taxable.

The removal of tax on winnings came into place in 2001 by the then Prime Minister, Gordon Brown. Previous to that players had to pay a 9% on winnings to cover taxable winnings but in 2001 it was deemed that the ‘art’ of betting was more of pastime than a taxable trade.

The removal of tax obviously had to hit someone and this came in the form of an additional 15% tax on all profits made from the bookmaker. This was the primary reason why many bookmakers moved to tax havens within the British Territories, as mentioned above, but those who decided to stay took the brunt of deficit in lost revenue from taxable winnings. But, as the famous saying goes, you never see a poor bookmaker!

Payment methods

One of many advantages to betting within the UK is that there are very few limitations. As you will have learned by now, whilst the government work closely with bookmakers to make sure everything is above board, they have made life considerably better for punters who regularly place wagers with these bookmakers.

Another sector that has been addressed is that of the financial sector and more importantly, the way in which we can transfer money too and from player accounts. The UK is lucky in that there is very few payment types that are prohibited from use for UK based citizens. Granted, a bookmaker may not offer certain payment types, for whatever reason, but most are available should the user choose to use it and the bookmaker provide the option.

The most common methods are still using credit or debit cards to make transactions. These are generally pretty much instant to deposit and will not cost you anything for the pleasure of doing so. Withdrawals to the same card are again usually free but can take up a short period of time ranging from 1 to 5 working days.

The e-wallet industry is also an area that is very popular with UK based bettors. E-wallets allow you to deposit finds almost anonymously and without the need of supplying the bookmaker with any banking details. The bigger companies in this market come in the form of PayPal, Neteller and Skrill. Whilst payments are often processed within just a few minutes (withdrawals included) you will likely have to pay some sort of nominal fee to continue with these types of purchase.

Australia is one of the worlds leading sporting nations. The whole country revolves around sports such as rugby, Aussie rules, cricket, hockey, soccer and so many more. Sports betting is always going to be a pastime that is popular in countries where general sport participation is high, with Australia being no different.

There have been a few issues and confusions about where Australia sits in terms of betting legalities. As we are heavily part of the betting industry we have seen numerous bookmakers ban Australian users whilst others have embraced them. Admittedly, before conducting the research for this article we were puzzled as to why, but from the information we have gathered we can see that, not too dissimilar to the US market, a lot of confusion remains around betting in Australia.

Is online betting legal in Australia?

The act in placing a wager is Australia is not prohibited at all. There are no laws that state that you can’t place a bet on a horse race or similar prior to that event taking place. But, there is a ban in place to prevent the use of ‘real-money’ interactive gaming.

The definition of this is relatively simple in that the Australian Commonwealth Party who passed the Interactive Gambling Act in 2001 state that bookmakers cannot take bets on live events. This means that as soon as a race or match starts bookmakers are prohibited to take bets from punters.

One thing is worth noting is that whilst the government oversees laws and legislations about what needs to happen, it’s actually up to each state to decide how best to go about introducing these laws. Each of the 8 states have their own gaming committee and, much the same as the US, it’s up to them to oversee, interpret and uphold the laws set by the national government.

If you are familiar with Australian sports books then you may be aware that some sites still include live betting sections. Whilst this may be puzzling, they actually go via a bit of workaround for this in that if you look closely, they will often ask you to phone a number to place a live bet. This will likely be because they are getting someone to place the bet outside of Australia, before then taking your wager and paying out accordingly. Now this is actually one of the bigger grey areas in the industry and it is argued that it’s technically against the rules, although no bookmaker or punter has actually be prosecuted for this feature.

Over the years a lot of bookmakers have had hard times accepting Australian punters because of them not being able to bet directly on live sports. The likes of Betfair have pulled out of the Australian betting market before re-emerging. The reason behind this is not because of any ban for Australian punters, but mainly because the policing of Australian punters on their site to stop them placing live wagers would be too great.

The main thing to really take from this is that as a punter you wont be breaking the rules when betting in Australia or with an Australian bookmaker as long as you aren’t betting on ‘real-money’ interactive services (essentially, live betting).

The bill was now passed nearly 15 years ago at the time of writing this article and the fact that there are still grey areas as to what can and cant be done shows a certain amount of neglect from the Australian government. The future of the bill looks unlikely to change any time soon although there are politicians trying to lobby a complete ban on gambling. It would seem unlikely that this ever happens however, although there seems like a strong push from the banning of ‘pokies’ (interactive poker machines), which are reported to be one of the biggest reasons why Australian punters tend to go broke.

Are winnings taxable?

There are no taxes on any winnings from gambling in Australia. The country run much the same as that of UK when it comes to taxation and luckily the government see all forms of gambling as luck and more of a pastime than a serious profession.

They make their money from charging tax to that of the operators rather than the bettors, which is handy! The amount in which they charge depends on each state and there is no federal law into what needs to be charged for each, just who needs to be charged.

Payment methods

One of the major advantages of placing wagers in Australia is that you aren’t limited to certain payment methods. You can use pretty much anything you like and whilst there are a number of e-wallets, which we will discuss below, you really can’t beat using credit or debit card.

There are two main reasons why we think that these are the best in the business. The first is that they are accepted pretty much anywhere. Everyone (pretty much) has access to at least a debit card which means you shift your money directly into your sports betting account without having use any third party sites. The second is that these card types often endure the least fees per transaction. You will actually find that most bookmakers don’t charge anything to deposit or withdraw your funds using debit or credit cards and if they do, they will likely be for a nominal fee. The only real downside comes in that the withdrawal processing time is much longer than most e-wallets, but rarely more than 5 working days.

The e-wallet is the increasingly popular way to bank, mainly because you don’t need to include any banking details on a bookmaker. The likes of PayPal, Neteller and Skrill and your three main sites, with their standout feature being speed of their transactions. You will incur larger fees with e-wallets, but nothing that is unmanageable, at least not with these three.