Legality of Gambling in Hong Kong

Hong Kong, a vibrant metropolis in Asia, boasts a rich history intertwined with various leisure activities, among which gambling stands out significantly. As of 2023, gambling in Hong Kong remains a topic of both cultural significance and regulatory scrutiny. The activities under this banner have seen consistent growth over the years, making it a topic of considerable interest for both locals and tourists.

Gambling in Hong Kong has witnessed a robust growth trajectory. Between 2003 and 2022, there’s been a steady increase in the Total Hong Kong Player Gambling Market (Gross Win), jumping from HK$17,449.9 million in 2003 to a remarkable HK$45,278.5 million in 2022. Such growth highlights how deeply ingrained the activity is within the socio-cultural fabric of the region. A dip was observed in 2020, where the gross win diminished to HK$34,250.0 million, reflecting the global challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Transitioning to the main entity of our discussion, the legality and laws surrounding gambling in Hong Kong, it’s crucial to note that not all gambling activities are treated equally under the law. The Hong Kong Jockey Club (HKJC) holds a monopoly on both land-based and interactive platforms for lottery, horserace, and sports betting, with casino gambling being confined to cruise ships in international waters. This monopoly means that while many forms of gambling are legally sanctioned, others, particularly online gambling outside of the HKJC, face legal prohibitions.

Addressing the question of how popular is gambling in Hong Kong, interactive gambling, which encompasses online gambling in Hong Kong, has seen an exponential growth. This form of gambling surged from making up 13.3% of the total in 2003 to a staggering 87.3% in 2022. This dramatic rise hints at a society rapidly adapting to the digital age, with more people inclined towards online platforms, especially during events like the pandemic lockdowns of 2020.

Further dissecting the legal landscape, while the HKJC remains the sole state-regulated interactive onshore operator, offshore operators do accept players from Hong Kong. Unique establishments like licensed Mahjong clubs are permitted, and interestingly, several private establishments classify poker as a sport, neatly sidestepping gambling prohibitions.

Gambling laws in Hong Kong

When delving into the landscape of gambling in Hong Kong, one quickly recognizes its intricate legal framework. A vast majority of the Hong Kong gambling laws are meticulously curated to strike a balance between cultural tradition and ensuring that gambling activities remain well-regulated.

Who grants gambling licences in Hong Kong?

The primary authority granting gambling licenses in Hong Kong is the Hong Kong Jockey Club (HKJC). Established in 1884, the HKJC holds a unique position in the gambling sphere, retaining a monopoly over both land-based and interactive platforms for key activities such as lottery, horseracing, and sports betting. While the government has granted them this privilege, it also means that other entities are barred from hosting or promoting most forms of gambling, both traditional and online gambling in Hong Kong, without a proper license.

How strictly regulated is Gambling in Hong Kong?

Regulation surrounding gambling in Hong Kong is exceptionally tight. To maintain public order and prevent the potential pitfalls of unchecked gambling, Hong Kong online gambling laws have been specifically formulated to monitor and curtail unsanctioned activities. While the HKJC offers certain sanctioned online betting services, all other forms of online gambling in Hong Kong are prohibited. This is evident from the rigorous checks and audits the licensed entities, like the HKJC, undergo to ensure they adhere to ethical practices and maintain transparency.

Legal entities that flout the stringent gambling laws face severe repercussions. For example, promoting or operating unauthorized gambling activities, especially in the realm of online gambling in Hong Kong, can lead to a hefty fine of HKD $5 million and imprisonment for seven years. Furthermore, advertising or soliciting such services to Hong Kong residents, even if the entity is based offshore, also carries stringent penalties, signifying the government’s commitment to ensuring a controlled gambling environment.

What are the penalties for ordinary users as individuals who violate laws of Gambling in Hong Kong?

For ordinary individuals, the stakes are high as well. Participating in unregulated gambling activities can result in a fine of HKD $30,000 and imprisonment for nine months. This stands as a testament to how critically Hong Kong views the illicit participation of its residents in unauthorized gambling ventures.

Gambling laws in Hong Kong

As one navigates through the gambling scene in Hong Kong, it’s evident that betting stands out prominently, reflecting both the traditional and modern facets of entertainment in the region.


Betting in Hong Kong is not just a pastime but is deeply rooted in the culture and history of the territory. Its significance transcends mere gambling, reflecting its socio-economic dynamics and evolving trends.


When asking, “is online betting legal in Hong Kong?” the answer is nuanced. The Hong Kong Jockey Club (HKJC) retains the sole rights to offer and promote online betting on horse racing, football matches, and lottery. Over recent years, horse racing and football have seen exponential growth in online betting. For instance, the English Premier League and La Liga have emerged as fan favourites for football enthusiasts, accounting for a significant percentage of all bets placed online.

On the contrary, while the HKJC operates within the legal framework, many grey-market online betting platforms target Hong Kong residents, offering them a plethora of international sports and events. Though these platforms operate in a legal gray zone and are not recognized by Hong Kong law, their existence and usage can’t be overlooked, emphasizing the importance of adhering to sanctioned platforms for ethical and legal safety.


Offline betting remains an intrinsic part of Hong Kong’s gambling culture. The physical presence of horse racing tracks and betting outlets lends an authentic experience, unparalleled by online platforms. The Sha Tin and Happy Valley racecourses are iconic, drawing millions every year. They’re not just venues for betting but have become emblematic of Hong Kong’s rich cultural tapestry.

While horse racing dominates the offline betting scene, the allure of football betting, especially during significant tournaments like the FIFA World Cup, further boosts the offline betting market’s vitality. With HKD 95.7 billion bet on horse racing and football combined in the past year, the figures underscore the residents’ unwavering passion for these sports.

Casino Games

In Hong Kong, land-based casino games are off-limits, as there are no legal traditional casinos within the city’s precincts. However, with the digital age, many residents have found a way around the rules by resorting to online platforms. As per recent statistics, approximately 42% of Hong Kong residents have dabbled in online casino games. Games like poker, blackjack, and baccarat are particularly appealing. However, this comes with a crucial caveat: while online casinos are accessible, they operate in a legal grey area, with potential risks involved for participants.

Online Lotteries

The Hong Kong Jockey Club (HKJC) stands as a pillar in the city’s gambling sphere. It’s the only licensed operator allowed to run lottery games, such as the Mark Six Lottery, a fixture that has been a favorite among the populace for decades. The lottery’s average monthly turnover is a whopping HKD 1.5 billion, reflecting its enduring popularity.

Concurrently, the rise of online platforms has made international lotteries more accessible to Hong Kong residents. Despite the strict regulatory framework around lotteries, 13% of the population partake in online lotteries not run by HKJC. These platforms, however, are unregulated, which can pose potential legal and financial challenges for users.

Casino Games in Hong Kong

What are the options for those who do want to try entertainment of Gambling in Hong Kong?

For those in Hong Kong with a passion for gambling, there are a few avenues available. The Hong Kong Jockey Club (HKJC) remains the go-to for legal betting on horse racing, football, and the Mark Six Lottery. With an average monthly turnover reaching HKD 1.5 billion from the lottery alone, it’s evident that the HKJC holds a significant place in the city’s gambling landscape.

However, the digital age has expanded horizons for many enthusiasts. Various Hong Kong betting sites and Hong Kong online casinos operate, albeit in a legal grey area. While these platforms do provide a wider array of games and betting opportunities, the pros and cons weigh heavily. On the positive side, there’s a broader variety of games, international lotteries, and sports betting options, providing more entertainment possibilities. However, the lack of local regulation means potential legal and financial risks for users. With approximately 42% of Hong Kong residents having engaged in online casino games, it’s clear that the allure of digital gambling is strong.

online sports betting sites Hong Kong
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A reminder of responsibility

It’s crucial to remember that with the freedom to access various gambling online in Hong Kong, comes the responsibility of awareness. Before delving into any platform, it’s essential to weigh the pros and cons, and most importantly, remember that every individual is responsible for their actions. Gambling, if done excessively, can be addictive.

Where can I find help in Hong Kong if I have a gambling addiction?

Recognizing the potential risks associated with gambling, there are organizations in Hong Kong that offer support. The Ping Wo Fund, established under the Home Affairs Bureau, offers counseling and treatment services for those struggling with gambling addiction. Globally, organizations like Gamblers Anonymous and Gambling Therapy provide online resources and support groups, catering to users from Hong Kong and around the world.

Whether you’re just looking for entertainment or find yourself struggling with the complexities of gambling addiction, it’s essential to stay informed, be responsible, and seek help when necessary.

TL:DR: Legality, laws, markets, and opportunities of gambling in Hong Kong

  1. Legal Landscape: In Hong Kong, gambling activities are primarily governed by the Gambling Ordinance. While some forms of gambling, such as mahjong, remain legal, the major legal outlet for gambling is the Hong Kong Jockey Club (HKJC) which has a monopoly over horse racing, football betting, and the Mark Six Lottery.
  2. Economic Impact: The HKJC holds significant economic weight, with an average monthly turnover reaching HKD 1.5 billion from the lottery and horse racing bringing in even more significant revenue. This positions the HKJC as a key player in the city’s leisure and entertainment sector.
  3. Digital Ambiguity: Approximately 42% of Hong Kong residents have engaged in online casino games, showing a strong inclination towards digital gambling avenues. However, the online sphere represents a legal grey area, with many platforms operating in a somewhat ambiguous space.
  4. Market Trends: Popular markets for gambling in Hong Kong include betting, both online and offline, and casino games. The HKJC, in particular, has dominated the local betting scene, ensuring that horse racing remains the most popular form of betting in the region.
  5. Opportunities for Gamblers: There are avenues available for those passionate about gambling, ranging from the legal options provided by the HKJC to the “grey market” platforms online. It’s essential to weigh the benefits of broader gaming varieties against potential legal and financial risks.
  6. Personal Responsibility: Gambling, by nature, can become addictive. With the vast array of gaming options available, Hong Kong residents are reminded of their personal responsibility and the potential consequences of excessive gambling.
  7. Support Systems: Organizations like the Ping Wo Fund offer support and resources for those struggling with gambling addiction in Hong Kong, ensuring that help is available for those in need.


Navigating the complex world of gambling in Hong Kong requires a clear understanding of its intricate legal framework and the opportunities it presents. With the Hong Kong Jockey Club dominating the legal gambling scene, residents have found solace in both the exhilaration of horse racing and the chance thrills of lotteries. However, as the allure of online casino games and offshore platforms grows, so does the importance of being informed and vigilant. While the vibrant market promises entertainment, it’s essential to remember personal responsibility and the available support systems in place. In essence, for those seeking to partake in the myriad gambling opportunities in Hong Kong, staying informed and grounded ensures a rewarding and safe experience.


Is Online Gambling legal in Hong Kong?

No, online gambling remains illegal in Hong Kong, except for betting on horse races, football matches, and lotteries operated by the Hong Kong Jockey Club. Engaging in unauthorized online gambling is a legal risk.

Which laws and acts regulate Gambling in Hong Kong?

Gambling in Hong Kong is primarily regulated by the Gambling Ordinance (Cap. 148), which outlines the legal frameworks and restrictions on various gambling activities in the region.

What are the penalties for Gambling in Hong Kong?

The penalties can be severe, with fines reaching up to HK$5 million and imprisonment for up to 7 years, especially for those operating illegal gambling establishments.

Are there any penalties for using offshore sites for Gambling in Hong Kong?

Yes, using offshore sites for gambling is also considered illegal. Those caught participating or promoting such activities might face legal repercussions, including fines and imprisonment.

Is it safe to use cryptocurrencies for Gambling in Hong Kong?

While cryptocurrencies offer a degree of anonymity, using them for illegal online gambling activities in Hong Kong can still lead to potential legal consequences.

What local services are available to help people with addiction of Gambling in Hong Kong?

Hong Kong provides several support systems, including the Tung Wah Group of Hospitals, which offer services for individuals struggling with gambling addiction, ensuring they get the necessary help and guidance.

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Minato Jung

The core team of content creators at Asian Bookies consists of two people: Minato Jung, serving as the Chief Editor and CEO of, and Natsuo Takeda, who holds the positions of Tech-CEO and Chief of the testing team for bookie sites and casinos.

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