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Best Online Casinos for HKD Players
Hong Kong is a leading international financial and trading center with a robust ex-pat population. Most organized gambling is illegal there, but the government has provided a few ways for people to gamble since the Gambling Ordinance was enacted in 1977.
The Hong Kong Jockey Club (HKJC) controls a monopoly on race and sports betting as well as lotteries.
Assertions in this article about gambling and gambling law in Hong Kong assume that under the "12 Principles", the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China (HKSAR) will continue to be "vested with legislative and independent judicial power, including that of final adjudication".
Tips for Hong Kong Online Gambling
Residents of Hong Kong won't find any legal casinos there. Those not willing to leave the SAR for gambling fun, but desire casino floor games or slots, will probably visit an online casino.
Since authorities do not provide residents with licensed local casinos online or otherwise, players have to take extra care to be sure they are playing at a legitimate, ethical, and licensed offshore site.
Hong Kong courts will uphold and enforce local gambling debts. However, offshore operators aren't obligated to follow the local law. This means online players should keep a few tips in mind when choosing a place to play.
Read reviews from reputable sites in order to know all you can about an operation before risking your gambling budget. There are hundreds or thousands of casino listings on the internet so be sure the reviews you read are comprehensive, transparent, and honest.
In addition to this site, we trust and recommend the following sites for information on Hong Kong gambling:
Check industry blacklists including ours. Trusted gaming information portals not only highlight the best of the best operations for players in certain areas, but they also will list the worst of the worst. These brigands populate warning lists - sometimes called blacklists, sometimes rogue-lists, or simply warnings.
Sites like ours and other trusted portals are longtime participants in the industry. As such we have the leverage in various ways to hold operators to account whenever we find a poorly managed operation, predatory terms and conditions, or a slow pay or no-pay situation.
Those that don't correct their operating procedures are summarily named and shamed and relegated to a blacklist. Most will remain there forever, some will redeem themselves. The best advice is to simply avoid them - they are there for a reason.
Read the Terms and Conditions. While this just seems like common sense and many operators have nearly identical terms, each will have slight variations. A trusted review site will point out anything that seems unfair or unclear.
A practiced eye will soon begin to see things jump off the pages - these may not be unfair or predatory, rather they could be bonus terms that simply make the perceived or real "costs" of promotional considerations untenable.
For instance, a 100% match funds bonus with extremely high rollover requirements, a low maximum cashout value, or both may simply not be to your liking because the entertainment value of "twice as many spins" is not worth the potential monetary value you would give up after a lucky winning streak.
However, if you like to, and are allowed to play all games, the turnover is low, and the max cashout if any is more than 30x your deposit amount - that might be an offer you'd entertain. You'd get more playtime and more chances to win.
Whether you shop bonuses likely a thrifty coupon cutter, an advantage player, or simply like the idea of extended playtime, it's very important to know and agree with the terms before you play in order to avoid any potential disappointment.
If you are new to bonuses or simply want to brush up on the subject, please see our Guide to Online Casino Bonus Terms & Conditions for a quick primer or refresher on the basics.
Set a gambling budget. It is imperative, especially for the novice online gambler, to set a gambling budget and manage it properly.
We're not speaking of bankroll management to meet goals, but about only gambling with what you can afford to lose. The decision should be part of your total self-finance management strategy and gambling should never be seen as a way to make money except for the few seasoned, educated, capable, and highly disciplined advantage players.
Once you've done your homework or due diligence, you may wish to choose based on some or all of the following:
- A full range of casino games
- Asian games
- HKD accepted
- Hong Kong bonuses and promotions
- Licensing jurisdiction
- Live dealer games
- Multiple banking methods supported
- Reliable customer support
Gambling in Hong Kong
While it's illegal to bet on sports with a street bookie or over the phone or to gamble at any unauthorized establishment, the Hong Kong Jockey Club offers several verticals including race betting, football betting, and lotteries.
The Club generates the highest racing turnover in the world. During the 2016/2017 season, the club turned over HK$216.5 billion (US$28b).
Happy Valley and Sha Tin racetracks are augmented with more than 100 off-track betting outlets.
Legal versus illegal turnover
While the HKJC revenues are high, the club estimates that the illegal turnover is at least twice that amount. However, with the increase in junket operations in recent years the total volume for high rollers could be much higher than that.
Casinos in Hong Kong
There are no land casinos, but Macau is less than an hour away by ferry. Cruise ships also offer casino gambling offshore after entering international waters. Casino marketing is allowed so many of the casinos of Macau have recruitment offices in the city.
Other money games
Private bets and a few social games carried out in certain ways are not illegal. Mahjong and private poker games are popular. You'd be hard-pressed to find a legal consensus on whether poker is legal or illegal, but taking a chance on visiting a "poker house" is probably not the best bet. Some scholars of Hong Kong law maintain that online poker is a form of unlicensed, illegal gambling. We reserve opinion.
In 2010, after operating for 2 years in the open, all 178 people in attendance at the Hong Kong Poker House (HKPH) were detained. All but the more than a dozen organizers had their charges dropped or were never charged.
In May 2018 the Stars Group announced they would no longer allow Hong Kong real money play.
Online casino in Hong Kong
Many online casinos licensed elsewhere accept players from Hong Kong.
A gray area in the law would seem to allow online gaming from one's own home. It gets a bit sticky, but because the operator is not present in the same place as the player (their home) the player is not technically present and gambling in an "establishment", according to some legal scholars.
As always, competent local legal advice is the only way to know for sure. However, except for those who socialize and frequent underground gambling dens, we're not aware of any player ever being arrested or sanctioned for playing online, especially in their own home.
Ringleaders who organize such gambling establishments can face asset forfeiture and up to 7 years in prison on each serious count.
Again, online gambling for personal consumption from home would appear to be legal.
The Gambling Ordinance
Betting Duty Bill
Levies are high under the Betting Duty Amendment Bill of 2006 with taxes of 72.5% to 75% on net stake receipts from races, 50% on football bets, 25% of total proceeds on lotteries, and 30% of turnover on cash sweepstakes.
Challenges for Hong Kong online gambling
No DNS/IP blocking
So far, the government has taken a stance of providing harm-reduced gambling products, education, and help for problem gamblers in addition to enforcement actions against online and other unauthorized operators.
Loan-sharking, money laundering, fraud, and corruption are key enforcement areas. Becoming involved in any of these activities could move a player from criminal activity into the role of a victim. Bookies may increase incentives and even loan money to encourage bettors to chase their losses, leading to financial and other forms of ruin.
Since authorities currently don't make any attempt to block websites through DNS or other blocking of the quarter-million or so active online gamblers in Hong Kong they are free to play at ethical sites licensed offshore that do not provide loans or other nefarious incentives to deposit.
No VPN or other masking technology is needed.
No government payment blocking
Many casino merchant payment processors include Hong Kong on their list of non-serviced areas, and some big names such as Skrill and Neteller may do not allow gambling transactions with a Hong Kong account. However, the government doesn't actively block payments and does not require registered processors to do so.
Many payment cards such as Mastercard or Visa can be blocked by default if the casino operator is using the proper Merchant Category Code (MCC). MCCs 7994 and 7999 are considered medium risk, while 7995 is considered as high risk. If the online casino uses the code and your card was issued in Hong Kong or your billing address is in Hong Kong, the transaction would likely be blocked.
Alternate payment gateways
Some operators licensed under a less robust regime than the Gambling Commission in the UK or another highly regulated market may use alternate payment gateways in order to service customers in "gray areas". A gray area is assumed when there are no specific laws forbidding a citizen to play online.
A reliable rule of thumb for players in jurisdictions without DNS/IP blocking is to simply visit an online gaming portal without using a VPN or other masking technology and visit the cashier section. If you have registered an account you will have a better chance of the cashier only showing options for players in your area, based on your IP Address.
In many cases, if you see a particular local payment option you are familiar with in the cashier, you should be able to use it. Most online casinos use geolocation software in order to offer local payment gateways, a suite of games curated for your region, and region-crafted bonuses among other site enhancements.
Online games for players from Hong Kong
Every type of game you would find in Macau plus all other traditional international casino floor games can be found at online casinos in Hong Kong.
With a variety of licensing jurisdictions available to online operators, that statement is bound to remain for the foreseeable future.
While every type of game is available, not every game developer or license provider will service the region. Many of the operators accepting players from Hong Kong are licensed in the Philippines, many of the others may be licensed in the Caribbean by authorities such as those in Curacao.
While the game developer licensing can and does change from time to time, you are not likely to find games from the following studios or providers when logged in from Hong Kong. The games may appear in the lobby, but may not be available for play, depending on how the casino software is set up. If neither is true, certain other legal restrictions may apply. The following list is not exhaustive:
Live dealer games
There are a select few online operators that only offer live gaming. Most of the properties that accept players from Hong Kong simply provide one or more suites of live streaming games from studios around the world as well as live from terrestrial casino floors.
To find a live game, simply click on the Live tab and you may find a variety of games from a single provider, games from two or more providers, or even an entire lobby full of different casino suites organized by the provider.
PAGCOR (POGO) operators licensed in the Philippines are often the best bet if you prefer to play live games in the Chinese language rather than in English.
Some of the most popular live dealer games are baccarat, roulette, blackjack, and poker. Look for games with a wide range of bet limits. High rollers can find bets of up to HKD200,000 and beyond in the private salons, at VIP tables, and within "Platinum" lobbies.
Minimum bets for live games are usually set at HKD10 to HKD40.
Some of the more prolific providers also offer money wheel games, Fan Tan, Sic Bo, Pai Gow, craps, number draw and lotto games, as well as many other types of games.
Table and card games
Virtual table games are another popular commodity at Hong Kong online casinos. These games are digital renditions of live games with the results determined by a random number generator (RNG).
Many players prefer this game format because they can play at their own pace. Deal blistering fast blackjack hands or take all the time you want between rounds - it's up to you, the player. Roulette can be played at breakneck speed with preprogrammed bets, or one chip at a time with as much time as you like between spins.
Players who choose this sort of game also have more variety in low table limits games with micro bets available on roulette from several providers. Keno, RNG bingo, video poker, and some scratch card games are also good choices for small bankroll or other low limit play with potentially high rewards.
Progressive jackpot slots have an allure for a lot of players. Much like playing the Hong Kong Mark Six lottery, a small stake can turn into a record-breaking win if it is your lucky day.
Online casinos in Hong Kong offer a good variety of big-money progressive jackpot games. The chances of winning a progressive jackpot on one of these games are poor, but that is always the case with huge prizes. The odds of winning the Mark Six lottery jackpot are 139,838,160 to 1.
With only a few exceptions, the vast majority of games you'll find at online casinos in Hong Kong are slots. The number may vary from a few dozen at a live dealer-focused site to several thousand titles in a full casino suite.
All games mobile-ready since 2021
In the early days of Hong Kong online gambling, you could only find single-software gaming platforms and you would need to download an entire gaming client onto your desktop in order to play a single slot title. This was true whether it was Playtech, Microgaming, Wagerworks, or any other provider software.
Instant play games were initially delivered in Java, then Macromedia (Adobe) Flash format, which required a plug-in or browser extension. Mobile games were only available if you installed an app.
The Flash software was inefficient, not fully secure, and prone to failures such as lagging spins or data drops on games like roulette. Some browsers did not support it in their native format. Flash has been discontinued since January 2021, effectively killing off all Flash casino games.
Now, except for the rare mobile app, all games, including those with live dealers, are now instant-play, web browser-based, HTML5 for mobile or desktop use, and can be played on any modern web browser regardless of the operating system.
Remote gaming servers (RGS) also allow platform providers to mix and match, bundle, or otherwise aggregate games from any number of developers into a single front-end experience for players.
While some of the games previously found in the Flash format may never be converted to HTML5, all new games are delivered in the newer mark-up language and are "future-proof" as long as we use web browsers to visit the internet.
Hong Kong Bitcoin casinos
Hongkongers who already use virtual currencies such as Bitcoin will find BTC casinos a welcome addition to their options. Many online operators now accept virtual currencies for deposits and withdrawals while still allowing gameplay in HKD, USD, EUR, or any other currency. A few also offer games staked with fractional coins such as mBTC (millibitcoin, 0.001 BTC).
However you prefer to stake a game, most of these operators offer step by step guides on how to get started. New players will find links to currency exchanges, wallet options, and more. Most players can be up and running with their first transactions in very little time.
Popular exchanges such as Coinbase currently serve players in Hong Kong.
On the casinos' end, players will find fast and easy (near-immediate) deposits and withdrawals, no transaction fees, no taxes, security far beyond any other payment method, and privacy, not to mention the potential for much larger bonuses.
Problem Gambling for Hong Kong
The Hong Kong Jockey Club provides a central place to learn about responsible and underage as well as other problem gambling.
Players with any questions about their own or someone else's behavior will find a variety of tools and resources including a self-assessment, gambling calculator, financial planning tools, and ultimately counseling and referrals if needed.
Immediate help can be requested by calling the Ping Wo Fund hotline at 1834 633 or by accessing the online counseling service.
The HKJC multimedia center offers several videos in four main categories - credit gambling, underage, illegal, and excessive.
Choosing an offshore site with the help of our Tips for Hong Kong Online Gambling above can help solve most of those issues before they have a chance to become a problem.
Credit gambling - These simply don't exist in any licensing jurisdiction serving players in Hong Kong. Any gambling operator or bookmaker who would offer credit should be avoided at all costs. It is a predatory practice and would not be tolerated by anyone in the legitimate online gambling industry.
Underage gambling - This also does not occur online at any site linked from here or any of the other Trusted Portals above. The minimum age to visit and place a bet ranges from 18 to 21, but never lower than the allowed age in your country of registration. Document verification, know your customer (KYC), anti-money laundering, and underage gambling protocols are required for any licensed operator, regardless of the location of the regulator.
Illegal gambling - While we can't offer a qualified legal opinion or advise on whether online gambling from your own home is explicitly legal, a reasonable reading of the law would indicate that is not explicitly illegal as of the time of this review. This observation is bolstered by the fact that extensive research has not shown a single case of a recreational online casino player being prosecuted for playing their own home.
Excessive gambling - This is the one area that players need to be very aware of themselves and their limits because most operators will continue to accept your bets even if you are chasing losses - just like the HKJC would if left unchecked.
If you ever experience impulse control problems or have had trouble in the past playing within your limits, it might be time to take a self-assessment or contact one of the helping professionals at the Ping Wo Fund hotline. At a minimum, please check any responsible gambling link provided at the bottom of the casino's web page to see what is offered.
Look for the ability to set:
- Loss limits (maximum potential loss in a period of time)
- Lower loss limits immediately but only raise them after 24 hours or more
- Extended loss limit period
- Your account to self-exclusion indefinitely or forever
Some sites will have built-in tools to help you manage your experience without the need to talk to a customer service representative.
You may be able to set limits based on time for:
- Session time
- Total wagering
Hong Kong Online Casino FAQ
Is gambling legal in Hong Kong?
Yes. The not for profit Hong Kong Jockey Club holds the absolute monopoly on real money gambling in the HKSAR. Horse race betting, football betting, and the Mark Six lottery are all offered.
Under current Hongkongese law, a legal loophole may exist allowing residents to play at online casinos from the comfort of their own homes. We are unaware of any forfeiture of funds, prosecutions, or other penalties ever being imposed for the practice.
Can I play at any online casino in Hong Kong?
No, unfortunately. Due to the SAR's unique position in the financial world, players there face many of the same restrictions US gamblers face. Due to licensing restrictions, some operators may not accept players from your area and some game providers might not either. There are still plenty of highly esteemed gambling sites with every type of casino game open to you.
Are online casinos safe in Hong Kong?
Yes, they can be. As long as you know how to choose a proper site this is licensed offshore, there should be no problem enjoying a safe and secure experience and collecting your money in a timely manner as described in the terms and conditions
How long does it take to get paid when I win?
0-200 hours, depending on the operator and the payment method.
In the best-case scenario, you will have won at a site that offers instant eWallet or Bitcoin payments with no pending or processing delays, and your KYC or other documents have already been approved.
Somewhere in the middle of the spectrum may be a site with 72 hours pending, 24-hour processing, or a few days to approve your documents.
On the extreme end may be document approval and the time it takes for a bank wire transfer to clear in your bank account.
Do I need a VPN or alternative payment methods?
That depends. The government doesn't block online casinos but they do monitor all traffic. There is also not any overt payment blocking by the authorities. However, some payment processors will block payments to or from Hong Kong residents and online casinos. You may need to consult the options offered by a particular site to know what will work best for your specific situation.
Can I get online casino bonuses in Hong Kong?
Yes. At a minimum, you should be eligible for the same welcome bonus and ongoing deposit incentives as players anywhere else are offered.
What sort of games are available?
Everything under the sun. There are literally thousands of real money game titles available on the internet. This means that alternative iterations of every conceivable casino games are available. Anything you could play in Macau or Las Vegas, including live dealer baccarat and other classic games, can be played online.
Can I play on my mobile?
Yes. Most online gaming is done right in your native browser nowadays so you won't even need to install an app, regardless of your operating system. You can go straight from your mobile to a laptop, or a big screen projection without changing the format.
Can I play in HKD?
Probably. One of the best ways to avoid exchange fees is to play in your native currency. Another option may be to deposit in Bitcoin or another cryptocurrency, play in casino coins (HKD, USD, or EUR, etc.), and then cash out to a BTC wallet.
Can I play for free?
Yes. Most games are available in demo mode or practice mode. The main exception is live dealer games. In most cases, you have to be logged in to enter the live dealer suite and no practice play is available.
However, you can find an animated random number generator (RNG) version of the live game with the same or similar rules, and practice a strategy in demo mode. When you're satisfied with your plan, you can return to play for real money with live streaming games.
Written by: Lars Jones