Mongolia has been wrestling with the idea of legalized gambling for some time now, and have actually had legal gambling at various times, but this didn’t end up working very well, which created some very strong opposition to it that still exists today.
Gambling has historically been illegal in Mongolia, but in 1999, they decided to give this a try. There were plans of bringing in casinos, but some members of the Mongolia parliament got arrested on charges of corruption surrounding the proposed deals, and the idea died off with it, with a new law passed a year later outlawing all forms of gambling in Mongolia, which is the law that currently applies. (1)
Later, slot machines were brought into the country, a lot of slot machines, and playing them became very popular among rank and file Mongolians, which ended up causing a lot of strife by creating a lot of gambling addiction, where too many people suffered, too many at least according to Mongolian authorities, and the slot machines were removed and banned.
Later, in 2010, an idea surfaced to bring in some casinos, but at the time, fears of more corruption ended up killing the idea. There also has been some talk over this period of allowing for people to bet on horse racing, but once again, the idea didn’t have enough momentum.
Things have changed though, and the Mongolian parliament has recently approved allowing 2 casinos to be built there, and it looks like this is now going to finally happen. These casinos are aimed at tourists though, and Mongolians will not be allowed to play there, which is the case in some other Asian countries as well, so it’s really not as unusual as it may appear to be.
In particular, the goal is to target Chinese poker players and gamblers alike, and China is right across the border actually, so they have a great geographical location to take advantage of the massive gambling market there. The Mongolians are particularly excited about the fact that Chinese, as well as Japanese and Russians, can enter Mongolia to gamble without a visa, and it’s getting more difficult for Chinese to visit Macau to gamble, due to increasing travel restrictions and visa requirements. (2)
This still leaves the Mongolians out in the cold so to speak when it comes to legal gambling, but this is at least a step in the right direction, and perhaps over time, they may be allowed to participate, although given the recent history with allowing Mongolians to gamble, that may be a while.
There is some underground gambling that goes on here, and it doesn’t seem that the authorities are too eager to work on shutting it down, so it’s not as if people in Mongolia don’t have the opportunity to gamble.
Online gambling isn’t against the law here by the way, although only about 16% of Mongolians have internet access as of yet, and this is made even more challenging by the country’s sparse population and Mongolia is the world‘s most sparsely populated country in fact. Those who do have access to online gambling though and have the disposable income to play can do so without any trouble though. (3)
Poker In Mongolia
Mongolia isn’t one of the countries you would think of as a place where much poker is played at all, but surprisingly, the game is very popular here. Playing live poker is illegal, but in spite of that, there is said to be 10 poker clubs that operate here, and it seems that the police pretty much leave them alone, so Mongolians do have a place to play live poker after all. (4)
Texas Holdem is a particularly popular game here, and its said that most Mongolians know how to play the game. The poker explosion here started taking off around the year 2000, which is right at the time where the current law was passed that made it illegal. This really hasn’t stopped people from playing poker though, and the game has grown here ever since.
Mongolia even has an official poker association, the Mongolian Sport Poker United Association, whose mandate is to promote the sport of poker in Mongolia. They only have 140 members so far, but the illegality of poker here is said to be a limiting factor, and with this taken into consideration, they are doing quite well so far.
They are campaigning with the Mongolian government to have this recognized as a sport, a game of the mind as they term it, and while they have not been successful yet in changing the minds of politicians, they are at least making some progress.
There are a few Mongolian poker players that have made a splash on the Asian Poker Tour, and more are expected to do so as the game becomes even more popular here.
Since online poker is legal, that’s really taken off as well and actually has formed the backbone for the poker growth that we’ve seen here, and in spite of the low percentage of Mongolians with the means to play online, more and more are turning to the game of poker on the internet.
So things aren’t so bad here in spite of no legal live poker, there is still some, and there’s plenty of action to be had on the internet while people wait for the Mongolian government to perhaps relax their stance on real money poker, and see that it isn’t anything like people mindlessly playing slot machines, the sort of thing that is scaring them off from legalizing any form of gambling here.
Top Online Poker Rooms For Mongolians
Mongolia is fortunate to have some very good poker rooms accept players from their country, and this certainly is helping fuel the rise in the popularity of poker here. First time depositors at these sites are eligible for some nice free bonus cash as they check out the various sites, so if you haven’t tried one of these top sites, you are in for a treat from them.
888 Poker has risen to the top of the rankings from all of the hard work they have put into this site over the last 15 years, and they have been rewarded with what many consider to be the top poker site on the internet, in addition to being one of the most popular. In addition to their generous deposit bonus, this award winning poker site also has the best no deposit bonus in the business, $88 for just checking them out.
Titan Poker and Bet365 Poker are two very good ones as well, and both offer access to the very popular iPoker Network. There’s lots of traffic here as well and they have no problems at all taking Mongolians. This is also a very highly rated place to play online poker.
Black Chip Poker really wants your business, and they are the most willing of poker sites to take players from around the world, and while there is a trend for online poker sites to pull out of more and more countries as time passes, this is the last site that would be doing that, as they want everyone to be able to play online poker, and in particular offer refuge to players who are in countries that have trouble finding a good place to play. Black Chip is indeed a good place to play online poker.
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