Countries where sports betting is legal: a reliable guide to sports betting around the world

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Sports betting is a popular form of gambling that involves placing bets on the outcome of a sporting event. While some countries have strict laws against sports betting, others have legalized it and regulated the industry. In these countries, sports betting is a lucrative business that generates significant revenue for the government and creates jobs for thousands of people.

At OddsMatrix, we are familiar with the countries that allow sports betting and support brands worldwide, providing reliable odds and fixtures that enable them to attract and retain bettors. We work with over 50 companies operating in the United States, Europe, CIS, and South America and are constantly expanding our footprint.

The countries we will discuss in this article include the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, and Canada. These all have a long history of sports betting and have developed a well-regulated industry enjoyed by millions of people.

The United States

In the United States, sports betting was illegal for many years, but this changed in 2018 when the Supreme Court ruled that individual states could decide whether to legalize the activity. Since then, 31 states and the District of Columbia have approved legal frameworks that allow sports betting. The practice is legal in another five states – Florida, Nebraska, Ohio, Main, and Massachusetts – but has yet to be operational. 

According to Statista, the U.S. sports betting industry registered $4.33 billion in revenue in 2021. The practice is particularly popular with the 35-44 age group. According to a December 2021 survey, 15% of these consumers participated in sports betting weekly or even more often. 

Moreover, figures the American Gaming Association recorded in September 2022 showed that almost 47 million Americans planned on placing wagers on the season’s NFL games. 

The OddsMatrix American Football Data API offer access to a wide range of tournaments and events, including the American National Football League, ensuring your platform benefits from football odds, scores and rankings updates in real time. 


Canada also has a long history of sports betting, as the practice has been legal since 1985, provided that bettors would place wagers on parlay bets run by provincial lotteries. It was only in August 2021 that the federal ban on single-game sports betting was officially lifted. Still, full-rights sports betting wasn’t launched immediately, as it took regulators months to create the proper framework. 

On April 4th, 2022, casinos and sportsbooks allowed punters to place wagers on their favourite sporting events. The first industry players to open operations in Ontario were BetRivers, BetMGM, Caesars, and PointsBet. Fanduel and DraftKings followed suit. 

In the first quarter of operations, sports betting sites and online casinos in Ontario registered $4.1 billion in revenue, making Canada one of the most successful countries that allow sports betting. 


In Europe, the sports betting sector had a market value of $23 billion in 2021. The three leading contributors were the United Kingdom (23%), France (20%), and Italy (10%). The region’s top sports betting companies are GT Bets Casino, Bovada Casino, and Cherry Jackpot. 

The legislation on sports betting differs from country to country since no single regulatory piece covers the entire region. Most countries have licensing authorities that usually require them to base some of their operations in a specific jurisdiction. 

Online sports betting is also legal in many European countries, allowing people to place bets conveniently in their homes. According to the “European Online Gambling – Key Figures 2022” report, issued by the European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) in partnership with H2 Gambling Capital, there are 225 online gambling and sports betting licenses in Europe across 21 European countries where sports betting is legal. 

The United Kingdom

In the United Kingdom, sports betting has been legal for many years and is a significant contributor to the economy. In 2021, the sports betting industry generated over $5.4 billion in revenue

The country has a rich history of sports betting, dating back to the early days when people would place wagers on horse races and rooster fights. Nowadays, the most popular games are soccer (European football), horse racing, tennis, and Formula 1, all covered by OddsMatrix

As one of the most active countries where sports betting is legal, the U.K. also benefits from a well-established regulatory framework for the industry. This landscape has made many major sports betting brands base their operations here, with two of the important names being Ladbrokes which is set to merge with Gala in 2023. 


France is one of the world’s top countries with legal sports betting. Its passionate punters are legally allowed to bet on sports and esports as long as they choose a provider licensed by French regulators. As the second most prolific market in Europe, France registered a total revenue of $4.6 billion, in 2021, according to GlobalData

The regulatory body, ARJEL (Autorité de régulation des jeux en ligne/Regulatory Authority for Online Games), is responsible for issuing licenses, auditing sports betting companies, and identifying and fining unauthorized bookies. 


Sports betting has been legal in Italy since the Mussolini era when all gambling activities were regulated by the Legislative Decree no. 496 of 1948. It was later, in 2006, that the country also legalized online sports betting. 

In 2021, Italy generated 10% of Europe’s sports betting revenue, bringing in $2.3 billion. 

Latin America

Latin America is an emerging market for sports betting, as the industry was assessed in 2020 at $1.3 billion. Still, the number is expected to rise to $3.4 billion by 2025, showcasing the region’s enormous potential. 

Regarding the legal framework, the issue with South America is that the betting legislation is fragmented, and each country possesses different, unclear regulations and laws dating back to colonial times. 

Still, countries like Argentina, Mexico, and Colombia are working on adopting sports betting rules that follow international standards and could benefit the industry, the players, and the local economy. Out of all, Argentina is the most betting-friendly country in South America. It could become a best practices example for the rest of the continent. 


In Argentina, sports betting has been legal for years, but each province is free to enact its legislation. More than half of the 24 jurisdictions allow online sports betting, while only a few require international operators to open headquarters in Argentina. 

The provinces enabling sports betting activities are licensed by the Lottery of the City of Buenos Aires. 


Sports betting is extremely popular with African locals that enjoy wagering on horse racing, cricket, rugby, or European football. Still, the industry is regulated in almost half of the continent’s countries, with Nigeria and Kenya providing best practices examples. 


Sports betting is legal in Nigeria, as the Nigerian Lottery Regulatory Commission regulates brick-and-mortar and online activities. The industry is quite relevant for the country, as it represents an income source for the state and provides jobs and business for small and medium local companies. 

According to 2018 reports, Nigerians placed $2 billion worth of bets annually, making the country an exciting market for international players that want to extend their footprint in Africa. 


In Kenya, sports betting was legalized in 1966 when the Betting and Licensing Board was established. Online operations were only regulated in 2011 when the federal government made them legal. 

Sports betting is the most popular form of gambling for the country’s population. The industry brings in an annual revenue of $30 million

The Asia Pacific region

Sports betting is huge in the Asia Pacific region, with APAC’s market size reaching a staggering $21 billion in 2021. 


India is one of the countries where sports betting is legal only when it comes to horse racing, considered a game of skill. 

The country’s industry is regulated by two primary laws, the Public Gambling Act of 1986 and the Technology Act of 2000. While these generally prohibit sports betting, they also foresee that individual states may make their own legislation. 

In this context, states like Sikkim, Meghalaya, and Nagaland provide laws that authorize sports betting. 

Moreover, since no form of legislation prevents offshore companies from operating in the country, Indian consumers can place bets with international brands. 

The Philippines

A destination for worldwide tourists, the Philippines is a betting-friendly country divided into two zones regulated by two different authorities. The First Cagayan Resort and Leisure Corporation controls the Cagayan-Freeport area, while the rest of the country is governed by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR). 

Retail bookies may offer their services to bettors in the Cagayan-Freeport Area, those outside them, or both. In this latter case, they need to respect the laws of both governing bodies or be based internationally, as this means national regulations don’t limit them. 

The Philippines is also one of the countries legalizing sports betting, as the practice has been officially approved since 2012. 


In Australia, sports betting is legal, provided wagers are placed before the game starts. According to the Australian Interactive Gambling Act 2001 (IGA), offering live betting options to punters via the Internet is an offense. Australia still makes the list of countries that allow in-play sports betting through the phone or in brick-and-mortar locations. 

According to Ibis World, the market size, measured by revenue, of Australia’s horse and sports betting industry was assessed at $6.4 billion in 2022.

People in Australia not only love to watch and play sports, but they also enjoy placing wagers on them. The most popular choice is golf, followed by football, American football, Australian rules football, rugby, and cricket. 

With OddsMatrix, sports betting brands make it in the countries where sports betting is legal

OddsMatrix enables you to start and expand your operations in countries legalizing sports betting. Our products and data APIs help you deliver remarkable, trustworthy experiences to users, so you can also benefit from relevant market share and make your business flourish. 

Contact us, and let’s discuss how our time-tested solution for delivering betting odds, scores, and real-time settlement, can help you make it in the countries where sports betting is legal.