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Legality of Online Gambling in Sri Lanka


Nowadays, the online gaming industry is booming, emerging as a significant economic powerhouse due to its rapid market expansion. Online gambling stands out as one of the globe’s fastest-growing sectors. Despite gambling being a longstanding pastime, its migration to the digital realm gained momentum only recently. The onset of the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic further fueled this shift. With physical casinos shuttering worldwide, individuals increasingly turned to online platforms to enjoy their preferred slots and gaming strategies. Consequently, there has been a substantial surge in the number of online gambling sites worldwide.

Every day, the number of online casino players worldwide is steadily growing, accompanied by a significant market demand for online gaming platforms. Consequently, operators and gaming developers are striving to introduce cutting-edge methods to market their services effectively. Innovations like live dealer technology and crypto-integration across platforms have made the digital casino sector highly competitive in today’s landscape.

Just like elsewhere globally, the count of online casino enthusiasts in Sri Lanka is steadily rising. Despite online blackjack not being a widely discussed topic locally, the country’s rapid technological advancement and the government’s efforts to establish a gambling regulatory authority have sparked interest among players. Consequently, many Sri Lankan gamers are now exploring online blackjack on international platforms. The primary aim behind setting up a regulatory authority is to organize the gaming sector in Sri Lanka, foster business prospects for local enterprises, and introduce games tailored to the preferences of players.

Legal status of online gambling in Sri Lanka

Currently in Sri Lanka, gambling is illegal except for a few forms of gambling that are authorized and regulated by the government. However, the number of casinos currently licensed by the Sri Lankan government is slowly increasing.

In 2010, former President Mahinda Rajapaksa enacted the Casino Business Act, which provided a legal structure for regulating and licensing casinos and betting sites. However, the gaming industry in Sri Lanka underwent significant changes following the election of former President Maithripala Sirisena. His administration revoked casino licenses and raised taxes on betting shops, posing substantial challenges to the iGaming sector. President Sirisena introduced the Betting and Gaming Tax Act and implemented a $100 entry tax for casinos.

In 2023, the Cabinet approved the creation of the Gambling Regulatory Authority. This authority aims to oversee various aspects of gambling, including ensuring the proper collection of expected tax revenues, preventing crimes associated with illicit financial activities, and mitigating the adverse effects of gambling on society and individuals. The establishment of this institution is geared towards regulating the gambling sector and safeguarding the interests of players involved.


Playing Casino Games

Online casinos are currently legal in Sri Lanka. Despite the absence of specific online gambling laws to regulate such activities, the government holds a positive outlook on gambling. Players in Sri Lanka can freely engage in online gambling on secure and government-approved gambling websites without encountering any issues.

In 2019, the Sri Lankan government took action to close down several illegal casinos operating in Colombo. Additionally, unauthorized online casinos have been banned in the country. However, there are a variety of safe and government-approved casinos in Sri Lanka, such as MCW Casino Sri Lanka. These establishments ensure players have a fair opportunity to win and offer an enjoyable and engaging gaming experience.

MCW Casino is the number 1 online casino market in Asian countries since 2015. MCW Casino Sri Lanka is a fully licensed establishment and their prime objective is to provide users with a safe and enjoyable gaming experience as clearly stated in their terms and conditions.

Sports betting

Online sports betting is the process of placing bets on different sports on different outcomes over the internet. This modern form of gambling ranges from betting on sporting events such as football and basketball to playing casino-style games such as poker, slots and blackjack. The main advantage of online betting is the ability to engage in betting activities through a digital platform such as a website or mobile application that allows bettors to connect and play their favourite sport from anywhere.

Online betting platforms are user-friendly and designed to be easy to navigate. People of all ages and backgrounds find it easy to participate in betting because of the clear instructions and seamless play.

The Sri Lankan government has strict laws to regulate sports betting. All other sports betting, including online betting, is illegal, and only the state-run horse racing industry is legal. Those found guilty of illegal sports betting can face up to three years in prison and a fine of up to 100,000 rupees (approximately USD 550).

The lottery

The Sri Lanka National Lottery is the only legal lottery in the country. The lottery is run by the state-owned National Lottery Board and includes a variety of games such as scratch cards and instant games. The lottery has been operating since 1963 and is a popular form of gaming in the country.

Online gambling

The Sri Lankan government enforces strict rules to prevent online gambling. The government has blocked several online gambling websites and those involved in banned online gambling can be fined and jailed. In addition, the government has enacted legislation to prevent the use of cryptocurrencies, which are often used in online gambling transactions.

Penalties for illegal gambling

Severe penalties have been instituted in Sri Lanka for individuals engaged in illegal gambling endeavors. These penalties encompass fines, imprisonment, and the government’s seizure of all assets and profits obtained from illicit gambling operations. Additionally, deportation of foreign nationals convicted of illegal gambling serves as a punitive measure.

It is imperative to familiarize oneself with Sri Lanka’s gaming laws and regulations before partaking in any form of gambling. This knowledge serves as a crucial safeguard against incurring legal penalties or other adverse consequences stemming from unlawful gambling activities.

Be careful with online games. Avoid playing illegal games

Illegal gambling establishments such as unlicensed casinos and sports betting are prevalent in Sri Lanka. Be careful when choosing an online gambling site as such entities may be involved in illegal activities and may pose a risk to your security.

MCW is a website that operates lawfully and fairly in Sri Lanka, following Sri Lankan laws and regulations. MCW website will never share users’ information with third parties and they have ensured that all your information will be kept confidential except in accordance with their privacy policy.

If you wish to engage in gambling activities in Sri Lanka, you should ensure that you only play in authorized, highly trusted and safe establishments. That way you can play successfully with high winnings and safety.

In summary, understanding Sri Lankan gaming laws and regulations, avoiding illegal gambling establishments and gambling responsibly will help ensure a safe and enjoyable gaming experience in the country. Keep the above-mentioned points in mind and ensure that you play responsibly and abide by the rules by visiting only authorized gaming establishments.