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The Best Countries to Play Online Poker or Bet Sports

Poker Refugees
  • The world’s first & only relocation company for online players and sports bettors, Poker Refugees, has helped 500 players move to 25+ different countries.

Online poker players, sports bettors, and all sorts of “digital nomads” have been traipsing the globe since laptops became a thing. However, the question of where to live can be pretty overwhelming for most.

The world’s first and only relocation company for online poker players and sports bettors, Poker Refugees, has helped 500 players move to 25+ different countries in the years since Black Friday. They know a thing or two about the pros and cons of where to live for online poker and why.

Although there is no one-size-fits all answer, below are some of the more popular destinations. (All countries on the list have access to e-wallets Skrill/Neteller for depositing/withdrawing unless otherwise noted.)


If time zones aren’t an issue for you, head down under! Australia has an ultra high standard of living and many of the things a player could be looking for:

  • Developed infrastructure, stable, safe country full of amenities and great food
  • Travel Visas up to 6 months
  • Diverse selection of cities, lifestyles, climates
  • Casinos and live poker events
  • Friendly locals
  • English-speaking
  • Cons: High cost-of-living and far from North America & Europe

Costa Rica

While some offshore gaming sites were ejected from Costa Rica in the Black Friday fallout, poker players themselves set their sights on the land of pura vida. And for good reasons – some being:

  • Direct 2-3 hour flights from the US
  • Arguably the best Internet in Central America
  • Extensive rental market for furnished rentals
  • Westernized culture and amenities; English spoken
  • Ranked as the happiest country with the best climate in the world, also the #1 ecotourism destination on earth
  • Bank accounts in USD with online wire transfers
  • Cons: More expensive than its neighbors and poker has a bad reputation as a result of Black Friday.


Few people outside the gaming industry could probably find Malta on a map, yet the island nation is a gambler’s paradise with low taxes and a regulated environment. More benefits:

  • Mild climate year-round
  • Internet is fast and cheap
  • English widely spoken
  • Low cost of living compared to Western Europe
  • Ocean views, boating and water sports
  • Pubs and nightlife
  • Portomaso Casino & EPT Malta
  • Cons: Small & isolated in the Mediterranean, 90-day max visa for non-EU citizens, hard to open a bank account


Just over the border from California, Rosarito/Tijuana is an attractive place for those who want to eat, sleep and play poker. People also love Playa del Carmen. Highlights of playing poker from Mexico:

  • Huge country with beaches, cities & mountains
  • Direct flights from the US, Canada and Europe
  • English spoken in border and tourist towns

Playa del Carmen

  • Cancun is the biggest airport in Latin America
  • Tropical weather, white sand beaches & a lively party scene where everything seems open 24/7
  • No car needed – walk everywhere
  • About 100 poker “refugees” living here year-round
  • The cost of living can be quite low
  • Round-the-clock delivery services
  • Cons: Forex conversion fees to Pesos. The weather and Internet can be fickle. Rental prices skyrocket during high season. Gaming legislation is possible in the near future that could impact online pros.


Online gambling (โป๊กเกอร์ออนไลน์) isn’t actually legal in Thailand and e-wallets are restricted. Regardless, Thailand has long been attracting poker players for these reasons and more:

  • It’s really cheap
  • Thai food
  • Surprisingly fast internet
  • Full moon parties
  • City, beaches, mountains, islands - it’s all here
  • International online poker community
  • Cheap international flights in and out of multiple airports
  • Cons: Strict laws and monarchy. It’s hard to get a long-term travel visa. Beware of tsunamis.

United Kingdom

Famous for being one of the rare countries that doesn’t tax gambling winnings. If you can afford the cost of living, it’s a great place to be because...

  • Cheap and plentiful international flights; Heathrow is one of the busiest hubs in the world
  • First-world living, global superpower with something for everyone
  • Tourist Visas for up to six months
  • Culture! Never get bored
  • It's relatively safe around these parts
  • EPT London, casinos
  • Multi-currency bank accounts & PokerStars debit cards
  • Cons: It’s prohibitively expensive and the average weather conditions are less-than-ideal

If you want to move to one of these or virtually any other country, contact Poker Refugees. Sports bettor? Contact Sports Refugees.

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