Active players: 950.000
Currency: Lao kip (LAK)
Regulated gambling products: Casino games, lottery
Operator types: Casinos, state-run lottery, unlicensed online bookies & casinos
Designated authority: No respective authority is in place
Laos, officially the Lao People's Democratic Republic, is the only landlocked country in Southeast Asia. Its capital and largest city is Vientiane. It has a long history of conflict, internally and externally. Its strategic geographical position made Laos an important trade hub. Being under French command since 1893, it finally gained its independence in 1953. Nowadays it is a single-party socialist republic under the Lao People's Revolutionary Party. The martial art of muay Lao, similar to Thailand's muay Thai, is the national sport. Football and volleyball are also very popular, and sports betting in Laos attracts many players.
As a typical southeastern Asian nation, gambling has long been part of its culture. All forms of gambling in Laos are however illegal for locals; they may only participate in the state lottery. There is no specific law in place; only a reference in the country’s Penal Law citing gambling’s illegality. At the same time, thousands of tourists storm the few local casinos. Moreover, the authorities do not seem to bother with the online sector at all. As a result, local bettors are placing their bets online, as most international bookies gladly accept them.
Gambling in Laos - 5 things to know
- No betting is allowed for locals
- The state lottery is the only legal gambling option for them
- Many international bookies accept Lao players
- Law enforcement is not targeting the online sector at all
- Casinos in the Golden Triangle Special Economic Zone only accept tourists
Best betting sites in Laos
Here we list the best Laos bookmakers for you, to save you the search. They stand out for the wide coverage they offer on the major football competitions, as well as for their special bets and competitive odds.
Online betting in Laos: The law framework
Every form of gambling in Laos is illegal for locals, apart from the state lottery. There are however no specific Laos gambling laws, nor a regulatory authority in place. Only the 2001 Penal Law (that was revised in 2005) states that ‘forbidden gambling’ is illegal. However, it doesn’t clearly state which kind of gambling is considered ‘forbidden’ after all.
At the same time, some areas have been characterized as ‘Special Economic Zones’ (SEZ) since 2003. These are the only areas where players may legally gamble at the casinos and by players, we mean tourists only. The infamous Golden Triangle SEZ is located in the Mekong River region, near the borders with Thailand and China. The Kings Romans casino defines the whole area, attracting thousands of Chinese and Thai gamblers. The state tries to boost the economy through taxes and tourism; however, the emerging casinos in the Mekong area bring notoriety amid reports of drug trafficking and violence. Locals are not allowed to enter the premises, yet the authorities usually turn a blind eye. Still, when locals manage to enter, they reportedly have trouble getting their hands on winnings.
Besides that, there's absolutely no reference on sports betting. However, the authorities seem reluctant in applying the law; especially around online betting in Laos, which seems absolutely unmonitored. So, Laotians end up having absolutely no problem accessing international bookies. Yet remember that, no Laos betting sites players might come across hold any type of local license; since, there isn’t any available. So, sticking to reputable bookies is indeed the only viable choice.
If you are Laotian, you may not engage into any type of gambling, apart from the state lottery. On the other hand, authorities do not block access to bookmakers whatsoever. Plus, no law enforcement seems to be actually apparent; especially online. Remember that when placing a bet online, Laos local bookies are mainly scammers. And, since it is typically illegal to access them, you will not get proper support if a problem arises. In order to avoid all that, just stick to the ones we list in our analysis. Altogether, both players and operators are practically under no scrutiny by the local authorities. Laws target just the land-based Laos gambling places. Still, using a VPN to keep your IP safe is always a good idea.
In Laos online betting is as loose as it gets. Banks do not block transactions, while players can use bank wire or credit cards worry-free. There is no active blocking from the state in any form. However, for players who want to use e-wallets, Skrill and Neteller are not available. Lastly, internet penetration is relatively high, reaching almost 50%. Thus, if you are familiar with cryptocurrencies; a rising number of the best betting sites in Laos are gradually accepting transactions with them.
The thing is that there is still no law framework around gambling in Laos and this is definitely not an optimistic sign for the sector altogether. The government is willing to regulate the market and the special economic zones are a sign of that. However, there is still a long road until -if ever- a regulated gambling environment shapes up. There is much more than just casinos, while Lao gamblers seem to be left out of the big picture. Time will only show how things are gonna shape up after all.
Complete list of bookmakers in Laos
After analyzing the Lao gambling scene, we now list all Laos betting sites players may access. These are all trustworthy bookmakers. So, check them out and opt for the one that better suits your needs.