Tonga Bookmakers

Tonga is a country in Oceania situated in the western part of the South Pacific Ocean, next to Fiji. This paper seeks to give details on the present situation of Tonga bookmakers, the legal framework that has been put in place in regards to gambling, history of bookmakers in the country, and the process of acquiring licenses and paying taxes. We will also look at how sports betting is carried out in Tonga and the chronology of events concerning sports in the country.

Tonga Bookmakers

Tonga enters the Rugby World Cup for the first time in the year 1987.

Boxer Paea Wolfgramm gets a bronze medal at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.

Tonga claims the Pacific Nations Cup in rugby union for the first time in the year 2008.

Extension of the Criminal Offences Act particularly Section 83A in the year 1999.

Pita Taufatofua skiing in the cross-country event in the Winter Olympics of 2018.

Gambling Laws and Legislation

Tonga is not among the countries with a legal framework that allows the gambling business. The only regulation of ‘gaming houses’ and ‘games of chance’ is provided for in the Criminal Offences Act which was first enacted in 1924 and last revised in 2016.

Key Legislation

  • Criminal Offences Act (1924, last amended 2016): The section 82 and 83 of the act also state that a gaming house means any house, room or place of whatever kind kept or used as a place of resort for playing games of chance for money or other stakes of any description what so ever and playing of any game of mere chance for money or other stakes of any description is prohibited and amounts to an offense that is punishable by a fine or imprisonment for a term which may extend to three months.
  • Act 25 of 1999: This act altered the Criminal Offences Act of the year 1960 specifically under Section 83A known as “Licensed Games” where it stated that sections 82 and 83 of the said act do not extend to any game that is played under the authority of a license granted under any piece of legislation.

Regulatory of Tonga Bookmakers

According to the country’s legal framework, the regulation of gambling and sports betting is vested in the Gaming and Lotteries Board. This body has the responsibility of assessing applications for gaming licenses as well as ensuring that the provisions of the nation’s gambling laws are followed to the letter.

Prohibited and Allowed Bets

Though, the general gambling activities are banned provided there is no licensing, the legal position of bookmakers and sports betting remains rather relative as there is no clear legislation on that.

Prohibited Activities

  • Unlicensed Gaming Houses: It is unlawful to carry on a gaming house with no permit.
  • Unregulated Betting: All forms of gambling that are not controlled are punishable by the law in some way or the other.

Allowed Activities

  • Licensed Betting: What is legal under the valid gaming license includes the following.
  • Licensed Games: Games which are played under the cover of a license granted under any piece of legislation are not considered to be prohibited under the Criminal Offences Act.

Licensing and Fees

To get a gaming license in Tonga, there is a set of requirements listed and certain fees that need to be paid. The exact fees and requirements can vary, but the general process includes:

Application Process

  • Eligibility: Certain conditions have to be fulfilled so as to get a gambling license for a business.
  • Submission: An application has to be made to the Gaming and Lotteries Board.
  • Review: The Board assess the applications to check if they are in conformity with the laid down procedures.
  • Application Submission: Make sure that you apply to the Gaming and Lotteries Board with the following detailed application.
  • Review and Approval: The Board assesses the application and if all the conditions are fulfilled the Board approves the application.
  • Payment of Fees: Licensing fee has to be paid for approval.

Gambling Taxes

Companies that deal in gambling are required to pay some taxes and fees which are collected by the government as revenue.

Tax Structure

  • License Fees: An application fee and an annual fee for the gambling license.
  • Operational Taxes: Taxes on revenue that is realized from gambling and related related activities.
  • Compliance Costs: Expenses that are incurred in the course of ensuring that the company adheres to the set legal provisions.

Sports Betting in Tonga

The people of Tonga are fond of sports, especially rugby union thus making them engage in sports betting. Even though the legal status remains rather unclear, sports betting remains popular and operates in the grey zone.

Popular Sports for Betting

  • Rugby Union: The national sport with great accomplishment on the international level.
  • Boxing: Tonga has been known to have some of the best boxers who have been able to participate in the Olympics and other international championships.
  • Weightlifting: The other sport that Tongans have done well in at the international level.

Sporting Event Glory Milestones

The Tonga sports history is colorful with many records of outstanding performances. Here are some significant milestones:

  • 1987: Tonga Rugby Team for the first time joins the Rugby World Cup Tournament.
  • 1995: The famous Rugby player ‘Aminiasi Tuimavave plays for Tonga Rugby in Rugby World Cup.
  • 1996: Boxer Paea Wolfgramm claims the third place at the Atlanta Olympics bringing home the bronze medal.
  • 2008: Tonga has emerged winner of the latest Pacific Nations Cup in rugby union.
  • 2018: Pita Taufatofua competes in cross-country skiing at the Winter Olympics.


Although the laws on gambling in Tonga are still rather strict, the changing attitude towards the legislated gambling and sports betting could open up new possibilities. Appreciating the Tonga’s legal system, methods of applying for licenses, and the great accomplishment in sports can be useful information for anyone who wants to delve into the world of Tonga bookmakers and sports betting.

FAQ of Tonga Bookmakers

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