Online Betting in Sri Lanka

If you love sports and you love betting, you’re in the right place. Asiabet is the number one portal for online gambling in Sri Lanka, including sports betting. Thanks to our top guide it’s never been easier to place bets on football matches or get the best cricket odds in Sri Lanka.

We’ve reviewed hundreds of online bookmakers to find the best places to bet in Sri Lanka. Our experts have created a range of sports betting guides and strategies to help you become a winner.

We’ll also show you how to use e-wallets to deposit to online bookies with ease.

Asiabet brings you:

Join our top-rated bookies in Sri Lanka here:

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Sri Lanka Online Betting Sites

There are currently no online betting sites that support Sri Lankan Rupees (LKR) currency. Instead, we recommend using US$ as your account currency. Likewise, none support our two most spoken languages Tamil and Sinhala, so you must have a good understanding of English in order to use the sites.

While the majority of our population of nearly 21 million engages in some form of gambling, this year it is estimated that less than 4 million of us will engage in any form of personal internet usage. Until internet penetration increases and Parliament passes amendments to regulate online gambling in Sri Lanka, our only option is to use foreign online betting sites.

With some 2,000 turf agents and betting centres in our country one might wonder – why bother using foreign bookmakers?

If you read this article in full, you’ll discover there are in fact many reasons. A quick one for starters is bonus offers.

Deposits and Payouts

To use the websites above a deposit is required; online bookies do not give players credit.

If you open an account at Bet Victor your account will of course start off with a balance of $0. If you send them a Rs. 15,000 deposit, this money is added to your account balance. You can then use this money to bet on cricket, football, horse racing, greyhounds or any other sport you like.

For example, if you bet Rs. 5,000 that Sri Lanka will win a 20-20 match against India, this is deducted from your balance, leaving you with Rs. 10,000 in your account. If Sri Lanka wins that match – the Rs. 5,000 stake is returned to your account and the winnings are added too. At any time, you can cash out all or part of your winnings. To do so you need a banking method.

There are several banking methods Sri Lanka residents can use to deposit and withdraw. The most popular are Skrill (previously called Moneybookers), Neteller and EntroPay. Of these, Skrill is our preferred option as it functions just like an online bank account and comes with an ATM card you can use to withdraw your winnings.

To explain in brief: open an account at www.skrill.com selecting United States dollar USD as the currency. You then need to deposit money to your Skrill account. We prefer to use bank wires, but you may be able to use your debit card or credit card to add funds to your Skrill account. If you wire money in Rupees, when the money arrives at Skrill, they will convert it into US dollars.

Once your Skrill account is funded you can use it to deposit money to any of the betting sites listed earlier. You can also use it to withdraw your balance.

Money can be taken out of Skrill by bank wire, by requesting a paper check or by ordering a free Skrill MasterCard debit card. This debit card can be used at any local ATM machine both in Sri Lanka and overseas. It can also be used for online purchases.

Sri Lanka Bookmakers

For those who prefer betting in person, there are betting shops all over our country. The most popular chain is the Sporting Times which has a racing publication by the same name. In business since the 1950s, they have over 200 shops nationwide, over 50 of which are in our capital. This is owned by the Balasuriya family. They accept bets on horse and greyhound races as well as cricket and football matches. The next most popular is the Sumathipala family owned Sporting Star which also has its own racing publication. Both these brands telecast UK horse races from their betting centres.

Sporting Times and Sporting Star are most popular but there are other shops too. With over 2,000 licensed turf accountants we have no shortage of options. There are many standalone shops, smaller chains and agents. Again, these have all been fully legal since November 2010.

With all this being said, we still feel that online gambling in Sri Lanka is a much more convenient option. Players at our recommended sites can play whenever they feel like it on a wider range of betting markets, and the odds are usually much better than what you’ll find at local betting shops. Plus, there are usually special sign up bonuses to boot. However, if you happen to be strolling down the street and fancy some quick sports betting, any Sri Lankan betting shop will give you that fix.

Sri Lanka Gambling Law

The betting laws of Sri Lanka are contained in many documents. The most noteworthy are as follows:

Legislative Enactments of Sri Lanka:

As well as:

Most of the above documents can be found here except for the most recent which I discuss momentarily.

While this is a lot of reading it can be summed up pretty simply:

Although our nation has a rich gambling and sporting history, much of the current regulation and structure is rather new. Only in May 2009, did the civil war that for over 27-years caused great hardship for our population, environment and economy come to an end. Since then we are in a rapid state of redevelopment. Tax and levies paid by bookmakers (and Sri Lanka Casinos) contributes greatly to that objective.

Requiring bookmakers to obtain licenses began in November 2010. This involves an application and approval process and levy which is determined by the business activity. For examples:

(i) Betting Business Employing/Utilizing Agents – Rs. 2 million
(ii) Per Location with use of Live Telecast – Rs. 200,000
(iii) Per Location without use of Live Telecast – Rs. 25,000

Prior to licensing requirements turf accountants were unregulated. The major chains however kept good books and paid tax at the normal income tax rate. As they were among the highest tax payers in our country the authorities mostly turned a blind eye during periods of our history when betting was illegal.

When the new licensing fees were first implemented bookmakers also owed normal income tax too. However the Betting and Gaming Levy Act (No. 40 of 1988) was modified on 20 April 2013 via the Betting and Gaming Levy (Amendment) Act (No. 19 of 2013). This exempts those with over Rs. 1 million (LKR) in monthly collection from VAT and NBT. It however requires them to pay a lesser tax. This is set at 5% of gross collection.

Any site offering online betting in Sri Lanka that operates unlicensed risks consequences if caught. The Betting and Gaming Levy Act now sets the penalty at a fine up to Rs. 10 million (LKR) and/or up to six-months imprisonment.

It is worth mentioning that betting is tax free for players. Section 9 of the Betting on Horse Racing Ordinance stipulates that tax can be charged only for on-course bets. With this provision in place, the Attorney General has ruled that Provincial Councils have no authority to oppose tax on the off-course bets – as per the 13th Amendment of our Constitution.

With these laws now covered I conclude this article with discussions on our two most popular sports – cricket and horse racing.

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Cricket Betting in Sri Lanka

There is no team sport more popular for betting in Sri Lanka than cricket. Our country then known as Ceylon began competing in first-class matches in 1926. We were however underdogs in most competitions for nearly 7 decades. It wasn’t until our surprise victory in the 1996 Cricket World Cup that we emerged as one of the top cricket nations. Our national team proved this was no fluke. They went on to with the ICC Champions Trophy in 2002, and were runners up at the 2007 and 2011 Cricket World Cup and 2013 ICC Champions Trophy.

It recently appeared our domestic cricket was destined to gain a world following. The T20 competition Sri Lanka Premier League (SLPL) debuted in 2012 and in its first season all the top UK bookmakers offered betting odds. The league also profited Rs. 289 million. It came as a great shock that just before it was set to begin, the 2013 SLPL Season was cancelled in July 2013.

At the current time, no domestic Sri Lanka cricket betting is offered by Sporting Times, other betting shops or online betting sites. For One Day Internationals, Test and major tournaments our national team plays in, there are plenty of betting opportunities. Also all the websites mentioned earlier offer betting on Indian Premier League (IPL) as well as all English and Australian domestic competitions.

Make sure to use our top recommended betting sites to get the best cricket odds in Sri Lanka!

Horse Racing in Sri Lanka

As mentioned the history of Sri Lanka horse racing is both long and colourful. It started in hill-side settlements in the late 1840s and was introduced to Colombo about a decade later. Originally races where held on Galle Face Green. After Ceylon Turf Club formed (1861) a turf track opened in what was then a suburb of Cinnamon Gardens. On 22 June 1893 Colombo Racecourse opened and is where history was made. In 1922 this was one of the first locations in the East to add a tote board.

As the article I linked to covers, in 1942 this racecourse became an important part of World War II history. Racing however resumed but it ended in 1956 when the sport was banned as immoral. This is when the start of Sri Lanka’s passion for UK horse racing began.

Following the 1956 ban of Sri Lanka horse racing, agents began emerging throughout the country. They would offer tip sheets on UK horse races and the ability to bet with the official UK tote. This is when the Balasuriya family first entered the business. By the late 1980’s Rohan Balasuriya had built the business his father started into the largest betting brand in Sri Lanka. This is of course Sporting Times which has the most distributed publication, and 50 betting centres in Colombo alone that telecast races and various sports matches.

Although our turf accountants offer great discounts on horse racing, it is very difficult to beat the value Bet Victo offers as they have the best odds on the market.

Remember no matter which option you choose, both live betting and online betting with foreign sources are fully legal. There are also no special taxes owed on winnings.

Football Bets in Sri Lanka

If you want to make football bets on the Sri Lanka national team at online bookies may be disappointed. Though football has a solid following in Sri Lanka as the country’s third most popular sport, both national and local league teams have failed to make waves in international waters. Our national team’s most historic achievement was becoming champions in the South Asian Gold Cup in 1995.

So, while we encourage you to go to the local matches and maybe use domestic betting shops if you really insist on betting on local leagues, football in Sri Lanka is just not professional enough to make it to the online bookmakers just yet.

The good news is that our recommended sportsbooks do offer betting on the major football leagues around the world, so if you are an avid fan of international teams and championships, then you can easily make football bets from Sri Lanka anyway. Besides, it’s hard to top the excitement offered by international behemoths like the World Cup and the Champion’s League.

Enjoy World-Class Online Gambling in Sri Lanka

It’s plain to see that online betting from Sri Lanka is not only possible – it’s easy, convenient and a far better option than sticking with the limitations of local betting shops. There are some minor drawbacks, such as having to use a foreign currency like the US dollar, but that’s a small price to pay for premium online betting that is fun and safe.

The sportsbooks we list here offer betting on thousands of markets for the most popular sports in the country and we guarantee you’ll get the best odds and bonuses here too. If you’re about to start your online betting journey, you might as well make sure it will be the best you can get.