Active players: 1.000.000
Currency: Hong Kong dollar (HKD)
Regulated gambling products: Sports betting, lotteries
Operator types: Lotteries, betting shops, unlicensed online bookies & casinos
Designated authority: The Home Affairs Bureau
Hong Kong is a Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China, as its official name implies. The area maintains separate governing and economic principles from that of China under the "one country, two systems'' principle. It was once a British colony after the Opium Wars, in 1842; while later on being occupied by Imperial Japan, from 1941 to 1945.
British administration resumed after the surrender of Japan until it was eventually handed over to China in 1997. While in China all forms of gambling are strictly illegal, that’s not the case here. According to the Gambling Ordinance, gambling in Hong Kong is -principally- illegal too; except for what runs under authorization from the government, which includes horse racing, football betting and lottery.
More specifically, sports betting in Hong Kong is legal; as long as it takes place under the wings of the Hong Kong Jockey Club. The HKJC is a non-profit organization, donating literally millions of dollars back to the local society. Despite the strict laws, and they are strict indeed, many local players choose to play at international bookies. Many of which operate in the area, accepting and luring local players with a wide range of betting markets.
Betting in Hong Kong - 5 things to know
- Gambling in general is illegal, apart from a few exceptions
- Sports betting is legal only through the Hong Kong Jockey Club
- 18 is the minimum age for gamblers
- Heavy fines and up to 9 months of imprisonment await law breakers
- Authorities, however, do not block access to international bookies
Best bookmakers in Hong Kong
Sports betting is legal and there are many international bookies accepting local bettors. So we list the best bookmakers in Hong Kong, standing out for their numerous special bets and welcome bonuses, as well as for the extensive coverage of the biggest football competitions they offer.
Hong Kong Odds
When targeting local markets, it is important for international bookies to offer a localized interface. In our case, betting comes with Hong Kong odds too. Also referred to as HK odds, they are probably one of the simplest odds types out there. If you’re placing a bet at even odds, it will be shown as ‘1’.
It’s really easy to convert HK odds to decimal odds. You just need to add '1' to the number you got, and your Hong Kong odds simply change to decimal odds. Just check the table for yourself:
|HK Odds||Decimal Odds|
Betting markets on popular Hong Kong Sports & Leagues
Hong Kong online bookies who want to make a difference here, should also cover locally popular sports and domestic leagues; such as the ‘BOC Life’ Hong Kong Premier football League. Also, locals truly love cricket, which seems natural after so many years of English influence; and running (i.e. Olympic games and indoor track and field meetings).
Payment methods used in the region
Since online sports betting is legal only with the local HKJC, players avoid funding their accounts with credit/debit cards. So, international operators offer various payment options like e-wallets, such as Skrill, Neteller and ecoPayz.
The methods that HKJC offers are of course very popular locally; these mainly include: HKJC FPS, an instant payment method linked to BOCHC (Bank of China Hong Kong) or any other cooperating bank’s account; and HKJC EPS, a similar method-only with a higher minimum deposit (HK$300 instead of fps’s HK$100).
Online gambling in Hong Kong - The law framework
Someone would expect all forms of gambling to be totally illegal, as happens in China too. However, this is not exactly the case in Hong Kong, one of the two special administrative zones of China (the other being Macao). Let’s see what the Hong Kong gambling law dictates.
The 2002 Gambling Ordinance specifies in Section 2 that betting taking place over any online medium-including the internet-are illegal. So, online betting in Hong Kong is off limits. Moreover, operators of gambling sites face seven years in prison and fines of HK$5 million. Players could face nine months imprisonment and a fine of HK$30,000. Also, the Ordinance places a ban on almost every form of gambling, including online betting. It only allows a few exceptions where it is legal; these only include gambling games where: the respective game is played on a social occasion in private premises; it uses dice, dominoes, cards mahjong or tin kau tiles, and the game is played in licensed premises; such as a restaurant or a private club.
Lastly, a fee must not be paid to enter the game. However, there is the exception of the Hong Kong Jockey Club; a government-sponsored non-profit monopolistic provider that focuses its charitable projects on four key directions: Community services, education and training, medical and health, sports, recreation and culture. It originally promoted horse racing, now provides pari mutuel horse wagering, international football sports betting, and runs the lottery.
So, if you want to place a bet, HKJC is the only totally legitimate option; and players must be over 18 to gamble. Strangely enough, the authorities do not impose an active blocking of international operators; surveillance is present and the laws are strict, however, access to Hong Kong betting sites is not restricted.
The prevailing question here remains; is online gambling legal in Hong Kong? Well, despite the general ban on online gambling, many international betting sites accept local players. The use of a VPN is of paramount importance though when betting in Hong Kong. Covering your tracks could literally prove vital; laws do apply, and they are very strict indeed. Players risk getting arrested and even imprisoned up to 9 months if caught placing bets online with any operator other than the HKJC (either being a local or a tourist).
Also, there is no tax on online gambling winnings; the law of course only refers to the HKJC bet online service; since all the rest is typically illegal. Of course, if one does actually play at international bookies, subsequently gets to keep all possible winnings. Players however need to stick to e-wallets and avoid traditional banking methods at all cost. Even better, if you got the know-how, do reside to cryptos; keeping your online activity as private as possible could not be more important here.
Players must avoid depositing funds to their account via credit/debit cards issued by local banks like BOCHK, Hang Seng or Standard Chartered banks). The most popular payments the local bookie offers, include: PPS instant fund deposit, cash vouchers, and the aforementioned HKJC FPS & EPS transfers.
A great alternative when betting with international betting sites in Hong Kong, are e-wallets. Skrill, Neteller and ecoPayz all accept local players. PayPal accepts sign ups, however, it does not allow gambling related transactions in Hong Kong.
Last yet not least, we got crypto gambling. As reports have it, cryptocurrency regulation is not exactly in place in Hong Kong; however, there is a rather relaxed stance towards this strongly emerging market. Locals are also embracing this new technological innovation, as more and more bookies also do. Getting to familiarize yourself with it, amidst the current law framework , could only prove beneficial. The anonymity that comes through cryptos is really valuable in the online betting Hong Kong environment.
Funding your betting account in your local currency eliminates exchange fees. We hereby list all Hong Kong bookmakers offering HKD betting.
As it stands, the situation is not expected to change dramatically. The Hong Kong betting environment is already way ahead of China; people are free to engage in online gambling in Hong Kong, including sports betting, despite the prohibition of free choice.
However, some reports indicate that, in order to combat the still ongoing illegal gambling, it could lax its laws even more, in an attempt to try to reach neighboring Macao’s levels. That would turn Hong Kong into yet another paradise for gamblers. Yet, for the time being, it’s too early to speculate; we’ll just have to wait and see how things will eventually unfold.
Summing up, we list all Hong Kong betting sites that accept local players. Once again, we need to stress out the importance of keeping your online betting as private as possible, to avoid any problems with the-strict-law enforcement. Pick your bookies and safely enjoy your betting.
Gambling in Hong Kong is illegal in all its forms, apart from one exception; football betting, horse racing and lottery are considered legal when played through the Hong Kong Jockey Club, a local non profit organization. So, online betting is generally not allowed; however, plenty of international bookies accept local players.
Despite the general ban on online betting in Hong Kong, local authorities do not block access to online bookies. They mainly focus on applying the strict laws to offenders. So, while always being cautious with your online betting activity, bear in mind that top renowned bookies accept Hong Kongese players. You may also find a full list of available operators in our analysis above.
Using credit cards and bank wires, would almost certainly land you in trouble when gambling online. E-wallets are a great alternative, offering fast and secure online transactions. PayPal accepts local players; however, it does not allow gambling transactions when accessed from Hong Kong. Therefore, we would suggest Skrill or Neteller instead, both reputable top notch e-wallets operating in the area.
The Gambling Ordinance does not contain any chapter on taxing winnings; which is normal when you think that most of what HKJC receives from players’ bets goes back to the local economy through donations etc. Then again, if you do bet with international Hong Kong bookmakers, you will get to keep all your winnings too; just remember to always keep a low profile since gambling outside the HKJC’s offering is illegal.
Gambling in Hong Kong is illegal in all its forms to begin with; players can join international bookies, however, they will be breaking the law; and laws are strict here. Typically, the only legal way to gamble is through what the Hong Kong Jockey Club has on offer; lottery games, horse race betting, and some international football betting too. All other online gambling activity is up for grabs, yet illegal.
The fact that many players think it is a complicated procedure does not mean it actually is such. The basic steps are easy and common at most bookmakers, simply including: providing a name and address, your email address, and uploading some proof of ID. You then choose a deposit method to fund your account, and basically that’s just about it; pretty easy, rest assured.