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Sri Lanka (Sri Lanka Wikipedia) has a long history with gambling and it is a country which has truly embraced online betting over the last few years. Betting on horse racing is believed to have taken place as early as the 1840s and although it has largely been unregulated for a number of decades, it hasn’t stopped Sri Lankan’s quench for wagering.
Online Betting in Sri Lanka
Economic hardships generally dampened the enthusiasm for online wagering throughout the 20th century but there were still numerous ways of placing a bet. The last eight years have seen a boom in online gambling and there a number of sports which are hugely popular in Sri Lanka.
The online betting industry has upped its game in recent years and it has been properly regulated from 2010 onwards. This is in stark contrast with many other Asian countries and a number of Sri Lanka’s neighbours.
Whilst online gambling is going from strength-to-strength, there are still a number of people who rely on low-speed internet connections and therefore are not able to enjoy wagering on sports.
Is Online Gambling Legal in Sri Lanka?
Yes, it is. It was legalised in November 2010 and the law has remained unchanged ever since. Wagers are tax free and online gambling is actively enjoyed by the population.
The government does not restrict players from accessing foreign betting sites (for example BetWay) and punters are able to sign up for a number of different firms without any penalties or risk of prosecution.
Prior to 2010, it was illegal but it was a significant grey area and many Sri Lankans worried about possible penance and therefore abstained from the past-time.
The government have recently (as of Jan 2019) clamped down on some casino betting but this has not affected online sports betting.
With a popular of over 20 million people, there are plenty of online firms who are aiming to corner the market and a number of new operators have launched in the last five years. Some reports suggested that the increase in online was also aimed at boosting tourism in the country.
What Sports are Popular in Sri Lanka?
Unsurprisingly, cricket is the most popular sport in Sri Lanka and has the monopoly on any other past-time. It is the national sport of the country and is taught in schools from a very early age. Sri Lankan bettors love to explore the different markets and they are particularly keen on International fixtures.
The countries unexpected victory in the 1996 World Cup sparked a renewed interest in the sport and the recent introduction of the Sri Lanka Premier League has also helped increased the popularity of the domestic game as well for a short period. Bookmakers offered markets on both and they attracted significant money from punters although the SLPL was subsequently cancelled in 2013. The Indian Super League and Big Bash have soaked up some of that money and there is even a small interest in the Caribbean Premier League.
Horse racing is one of the oldest and most popular sports in existence and it has always been a big draw in Sri Lanka. Following the banning of horse racing in the country, interest in the UK markets increased and Australian action has also seen begun to undergo a resurgence recently.
There is a smattering of interest in racing from the USA, France and Hong Kong but it’s UK racing which is primarily of interest for Sri Lankan sports fans.
Soccer is another popular sport and has slowly grown in popularity over the past decade or so. The global interest of the Premier League has certainly helped add to its appeal and sports fans can follow all of the action on TV. There are numerous betting markets available on these games as well as the Championship, Ligue 1, Serie A and La Liga.
Rugby Union is another sport which is taught at schools from an early age and it has become popular with bettors. The Rugby World Cup and the Rugby World Championship are both popular betting events and there is even some interest in the Six Nations each year.
There are some tennis events which now take place in Singapore and this has helped increase the appeal of the sport. Several ATP and WTA events are priced up on a daily basis and many punters in Sri Lanka enjoy an in-play flutter on these events. Tournaments in the Southern Hemisphere are usually very popular alongside all four Grand Slams.
What Markets are Popular in Sri Lanka?
Match Winner – The simplest of all markets. This is a case of predicting which team will win the match. In cricket, the prices can alter substantially throughout the match and this is popular with high-rollers and those who wager big money.
Top Batsman/Top Bowler – A market in which punters can specify which player will score the most runs or claim the highest number of wickets. It’s always advised to look through the batting order to calculate where the action may occur. These are usually decent odds and it allows players to place multiple bets in this market and still make a profit.
Player to Score a Century/Half a Century – Players will often produce standout performances and if there is a player who is in-form playing a poor bowling side, this is the market to explore.
Each-Way Betting – Exclusive to horse racing markets, this allows punters to hedge their bets and predict a horse to finish in the top two/three/four (depending on the amount of runners)
Total Runs/Goals/Points – This is a bet which can be placed on either football, basketball or cricket markets. It is very popular because it doesn’t require players to predict the outcome of the contest. This market will determine whether it will be a high-scoring affair or a low-scoring cagey match.
Double Chance – Ideal for the most cautious bettors, this market allows two separate outcomes on the match outright market. Players can predict Team A to win or the game to end in a draw. The price is significantly lower but it only takes a couple of these selections in an accumulator to produce a decent pay-out.
Types of Bet
Single – This is the simplest way of betting and is still the most popular. It’s very simple to understand and just requires players to make one selection. If your chosen team is victorious, you will be paid out.
Accumulators – Accumulators are for more ambitious players who wish to win big for small stakes. Accumulators can contain upwards of four selections and all bets will need to win in order to receive a pay-out. It is possible to win life changing money betting on accumulators but it is incredibly difficult.
In-Play Bets – In Play betting has become increasingly popular over the past few years and this allows punters to place a wager once the game has begun. This is handy for players who wish to study the flow of the game and spot patterns of play.
Popular Payments in Sri Lanka
All players must be required to make a deposit in order to get started. All betting firms will require some money to be added to accounts in order to start wagering.
E-Wallets are the most popular way of depositing into an account and it’s incredibly easy to get started. Skrill is the most prominent of these but Neteller, Entropay and PayPal can also be used with the majority of firms.
Bank transfers are also possible and these are a good way of transferring money directly between your bank account and betting wallet. This is often used by those who wish to deposit large sums.
Credit and debit cards are also accepted by the majority of Sri Lankan betting firms.
Sign Up Bonuses in Sri Lanka
A number of the most popular bookmakers in Sri Lanka offer incentives for players to sign up to their product. Offers such as 100% deposit bonus on initial deposits are very common and these allow new players to increase their funds immediately.
It is a great way of getting started and players should take full advantage of these.