Gambling is a popular form of entertainment, and many people enjoy engaging in it across the globe. However, each country or region carries its own restrictions, regulations, and laws regarding gambling activities. This is particularly relevant in Arab countries as political, religious, and cultural factors can cause limitations on who can play in land-based casinos. When considering gambling within the Arab states, be aware of strict rules against it and a few exceptions where gambling may be permitted – notably tourist spots and luxury resorts. Here you can find a brief list of locations that support legal casinos within certain regions:
Where Is Gambling Allowed In Arab Countries?
Due to traditional Islamic law, many in Western Asia cannot partake in legal gaming and sports betting activities. As a result, the region’s citizens often travel to Europe or Eastern Asia, where they can find casinos and other forms of entertainment. But with the younger generation being less adherent to these laws, there is an increasing demand for online gambling services such as ArabicCasino.com in Arab countries. Despite still being illegal, iGaming and online betting are becoming increasingly popular betting styles among Arab populations.
Gambling and betting are strictly forbidden in the United Arab Emirates. Citizens found participating in or organising these activities face fines, while non-citizens can be deported from the country. Physical betting hubs such as casinos, lotteries, and sports books do not exist due to the harsh penalties enforced by the law (10 years imprisonment for operating).
Nevertheless, UAE citizens possess a great fondness for racing events and other sports. Popular bettors include Meydan Racecourse, Dubai World Cup of horse racing, football, basketball, Formula 1, tennis and cricket. Betting websites abroad allow Emirati residents to wager with safety measures taken into account even though access is filtered by restrictions back home, like VPNs or remote connection combos for proxies to ensure you remain anonymous when betting on UAE races or events.
In Saudi Arabia, gambling is prohibited by Sharia law and highly frowned upon by society. Various forms of gambling, such as casinos and sports betting, are not permitted in this Islamic monarchy. Despite prohibitions on traditional land-based forms of gambling, online foreign platforms have made it possible for citizens to place bets in the comfort of their homes during off-hours or on weekends.
What may surprise some is that mobile gaming has become incredibly popular in Saudi Arabia – market research reveals that people play mobile games five days a week and don’t shy away from making in-game purchases. In 2020, the revenue reached the $1-billion landmark showing just how much Saudis are playing these games – this can be a great opportunity for marketing In-App betting campaigns. Reasons to play vary but include filling spare time and looking for an escape from daily routines and competition among users.
Egypt is one of many Muslim countries where gambling is illegal. Gamblers visiting Egypt are free to gamble in land-based casinos, which can be found in Alexandria, Cairo, Sharm el Sheikh, and Taba. All monies accepted at these casinos are the US Dollar and Euro, and the services offered are for foreign guests only; locals are not allowed entrance. Regarding online gambling, no Egyptian iGaming websites exist; however, local players access foreign Arab gambling sites without fear of legal action. Popular sports choices include football, basketball, squash, handball and tennis when placing bets on these sites. Additionally, the government sponsors a National Lottery that all residents can participate in – though winners must pay a large fee to the state for any winnings they receive.
In Lebanon, the government encourages tourism and gambling. On the one hand, the Lebanese government has established and promoted Casino du Liban as the sole provider of casino gaming services to both foreign nationals and domestic users; however, on the other hand, there are strict laws prohibiting Lebanese citizens from playing or betting at this venue. Because of the official restrictions, thousands of gamblers seek online gambling via offshore casinos. The government has tried to prevent access to online gambling by blocking foreign websites; however, savvy players can use virtual private networks (VPNs) for unrestricted access.
Gambling has been technically illegal in Syria since the 1970s when several clerics expressed political disapproval. At that time, there were three full-scale casinos: Bloudan Casino, Airport and Orient Club. However, through the exertion of influence from certain wealthy individuals in recent years, a new casino has opened–the only one currently functioning in Syria.
Located near the city centre on the former grounds of the Airport hotel-casino, the establishment features all traditional games like roulette, blackjack and slot machines. Because only those with foreign passports and foreign currency – such as dollars or euros – are allowed entrance to this casino, Syrian gamblers have had to look for alternative outlets for their hobby; many have now turned to online casinos as a viable means.
Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Qatar
While Bahrain and Qatar do not accept or regulate online betting platforms, players from these countries may still access international gaming websites. In the case of Kuwait, players are allowed to use foreign websites for gambling; however, legal action may be taken if caught. As for Jordan, no legitimate and authorised domestic online gambling sites exist in the nation, but locals may use foreign gaming websites.
In Morocco, gambling activities were legalised in 1930, an outlier among predominantly Muslim countries. While online casinos remain illegal, many Moroccans access offshore websites and participate in various betting activities. It’s unclear what the legal restrictions are for participating in online casinos and sports betting. Nevertheless, this topic requires an understanding of multiple legal components and is continually up for debate.
In Tunisia, gambling activities are restricted to non-residents who possess foreign passports. When playing at a casino, only foreign currency is accepted, which incentivizes visitors. While this form of wagering is prohibited for natives, no laws prohibit them from signing up on offshore online gaming sites. Currently, the regulations concerning this form of entertainment remain absent in Tunisia.
To summarise, gambling in Arab countries is highly restricted. While there are some exceptions for foreign visitors, it is important to remember that casinos primarily cater to tourists and locals are not allowed. Additionally, online gambling websites can be accessed in some Arab nations, although this is generally prohibited and can potentially result in legal consequences or other risks.
Therefore, we urge travellers to be fully aware of the laws and regulations regarding gambling before visiting an Arab country or signing up for a gambling website. Respecting local customs and adhering to the law should always be prioritised when travelling or residing abroad.