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Arabic Gambling Laws

Our guide provides a comprehensive overview of Arab gambling laws, offering valuable insights for gambling in Arabic countries. 


It includes information on the gambling laws of individual Arab countries, safe payment methods, and helpful tips for a seamless gambling experience.

Written by

Numa Jabara
Numa Jabara
Fact checked by Ehsan Gamal
clockReading time 12 minread

Gambling in the Middle East

Although Arabic countries, in general, are against gambling, certain countries in the Middle East, especially in Northern Africa, allow casinos for tourists looking to gamble while on holiday. As a result, there are several functional casinos across the Middle East, all the way from Lebanon to Egypt.

Despite Sharia law which is anti-gambling, gamblers in the Arab world account for a notable percentage of the money being circulated throughout gaming establishments around the world. The majority of Middle East countries choose to offer casino games to foreigners as a means of revenue generation.

Regardless, Arab players have figured out ways to gamble safely, usually with the aid of online platforms.

Online Betting

Online betting is facilitated by bookmakers who own platforms that a player can access from a mobile phone or a computer. A proper online betting sites have detailed features that allow Arab players to bet and win real money online. Depending on the platform, you might either download a betting app or use a browser.

Over time, Arab players have grown comfortable with playing at foreign online betting sites, since these platforms are not under the jurisdiction of Arabian governments.

To use an online betting site, you need a device with internet access and some money to bet with. After creating an account with the bookmaker, you will need to deposit money into your betting account which you will then use to place bets.

When betting online, Arab players use measures like VPNs and anonymous payment methods to stay hidden from the authorities.

Online Casinos

Bookmakers are not alone when it comes to delivering gambling services online. Casinos have also adopted internet access to aid players gamble conveniently, safely, and anonymously. So, if an Arab wants to avoid the attention that comes with visiting a physical casino, they can simply gamble online.

However, players should not simply choose an online casino at random. It is important to consider some crucial factors when selecting casinos, such as whether they are reputable and trustworthy licensed casinos. A casino’s license serves as a guarantee that it is a safe establishment with fair regulations to improve the quality of your gambling experience.

Other factors for Arab players to consider when selecting an online casino are banking options and the security level of the site. When an Arab player chooses a casino establishment that has these necessary factors in check, it will be much easier to gamble safely.

Just like online betting, Arab players need measures like VPNs and anonymous transactions to stay under the radar when using an online casino.

Gambling Laws by Country

In the Middle East, the general rule is that gambling activities are illegal, but the law in individual countries varies and can change occasionally. Some countries maintain zero tolerance towards gambling, while others are more lenient.

To avoid running into trouble, players in Arab countries should be aware of the specifics of the laws that govern gambling activities in whatever country they are located in.

Below, we have a list of some notable Arab countries and what their laws say about gambling.

Algeria

Algeria happens to be amongst the many Arab countries that prohibit online gambling. Both online casinos and online betting sites are not allowed within the nation’s borders. However, there are legal lotteries in Algeria that are approved by the authorities, allowing participation from Algerians.

The Algerian national lottery is legal and run by Pari Sportif Algèrien, which is a government-authorized establishment for regulating Algerian lotteries.

There are two traditional lottery games in Algeria, Loto Mohtaref and Loto Erriadhi, and they both use scratch tickets while offering different odds. To win, Loto Mohtaref requires a seven-number match out of 35, and Loto Erriadhi requires six numbers out of 49.

In Algeria, players often get involved in forms of sports betting, offering odds on both traditional horse races and a sport regarded as “trotting.”

Bahrain

Bahrain is governed by Sharia law and, as a result, gambling in the country is illegal and unaccepted. No form of online or offline betting, casino, or lottery is allowed in Bahrain at the moment. This also means that there are no regulatory bodies that oversee gambling operations in the country.

Therefore, gamblers who use VPNs to access offshore online casinos and betting sites do so at their own risk.

Egypt 

As a predominantly Muslim country, Egypt prohibits gambling. However, casino gambling has been legal for tourists since 1973. So, while a tourist can comfortably walk into an offline casino in Egypt, the country’s own citizens are prohibited from doing so.

However, Egyptians still have some access to gambling options, as there are two different types of legal gambling available for citizens. The Lottery Coalition in Egypt provides lotteries for Egyptian players, while the Egyptian National Post Organization regulates sports betting.

On the other hand, casino gambling for tourists is regulated by the Egyptian Tourism Authority.

Iraq

In Iraq, all forms of gambling, whether provided by offline or online establishments are illegal and considered a criminal offense.

Iraqi authorities take significant steps to prevent gambling, including blocking access to online gambling sites and cracking down on illegal gambling operations. Punishment for violating gambling laws in Iran can be severe, including fines, imprisonment, and even the death penalty in severe cases.

Jordan

Gambling has always been illegal in Jordan and it still is. In Jordan, gambling is known as Maisir, and it is totally forbidden, whether online or offline.

As such, there are no regulatory bodies for gambling in Jordan, even though Jordanians can visit online gambling establishments from foreign countries. Gambling licenses aren't issued to land-based establishments, and guilty operators are liable to be punished if caught.

Kuwait 

Just like in Jordan, Iran, and Bahrain, gambling is illegal in Kuwait. The rich Muslim country on the Arabian Peninsula frowns at every form of gambling, whether online or offline.

There are no legally operating land-based gambling establishments in the country, and there are also no regulatory bodies or national lottery options for Kuwaiti players.

In a bid to prevent citizens from playing, the Kuwait government has at many times blocked susceptible websites liable for gambling use. While Kuwaiti players can access foreign online gambling sites, they can be prosecuted if caught.

Lebanon

Offline gambling has been legal in Lebanon since 1959, and online gambling became accepted in 1995. However, while gambling activities are allowed in Lebanon, the extent of their operation is heavily regulated.

The Lebanese government runs a gambling monopoly in the country and maintains a tight grip on forms of gambling such as lotteries, casinos, and sports betting.

While casinos were generally legal in Lebanon, the instability during the civil war led to the shutting down of most casino establishments.

Currently, the only establishment that is legally permitted by the government to provide land-based casino services is the Casino du Liban. Lebanon has a national lottery, and the Lebanese government permits only one company to provide online betting services - La Libanaise des Jeux.

A Lebanese player can decide to use a foreign casino or betting site, but such an act is regarded as illegal by the government.

Libya

According to the Penal code of Libya, all forms of gambling and lottery games are considered illegal. To prevent citizens from gambling, Libya uses internet censorship to block access to online gambling sites based in other countries.

Morocco

Morocco is perhaps the most lenient country when it comes to gambling in the Arab world. The Moroccan government allows most forms of gambling, including lotteries, casinos, and online gambling.

As a result, players in Morocco can choose from land-based casinos and lottery options in the country. There is a national lottery in Morocco which is managed by Loterie Nationale. 

In general, the Moroccan Organization of Gaming Control (OMRC) governs and oversees all forms of gambling in the country, including casinos, horse racing, and lotteries. Foreign betting sites function in Morocco, but the authorities are not in support of their services.

Oman

Oman is one of the Arab countries that prohibit gambling, as all forms of gambling, like lotteries, online gambling, and physical casinos are illegal. Omani players can access gambling through foreign sites.

However, the Omani government has regulations and enforced punishments for citizens who violate the anti-gambling law.

Qatar

Qatar outlaws gambling in both online and offline forms, and illegal gambling practices in the country can attract punishment.

Qatar Duty Free offers raffle draws that are similar to lotteries, and this is the closest you can get to gambling legally in Qatar.

Saudi Arabia 

Like Qatar, Saudi Arabia has strict anti-gambling laws with no state-licensed casinos, bookmakers, or poker rooms.

Potentially, the penalties for gambling in Saudi Arabia can include caning and imprisonment. Therefore offshore casino gamblers are advised to remain discrete to avoid these punishments.

The only form of gambling that you can get in Saudi Arabia is raffles for horse racing.

Syria

Gambling laws in Arabic nations, including Syria, are typically stringent, with both physical and online casinos currently prohibited in the country, however, this was not always the case, as gambling was legal in Syria until the 1970s, and even a casino operated near Damascus in 2010 before facing closure in 2011.

Despite the legal restrictions and the opposition to gambling under Islamic law due to Syria being a predominantly Muslim country, the civil unrest since 2011 has further hindered the establishment of casinos.

Online gambling persists in Syria, with players turning to foreign-based online casinos, as the government seldom pursues legal actions against online gamblers.

Sudan

In numerous countries worldwide, including Sudan, there exists a substantial community of gambling enthusiasts, and despite being situated in Africa, Sudan's Northeast location, Arabic as its dominant language, and Islamic influence often associate it with the Middle East.

Sudan, predominantly influenced by Islam and Sharia law, incorporates Islamic principles into its legal framework, exemplified by the 1983 Public Order Laws that imposed restrictions on moral offenses, including gambling.

Due to the risks associated with physical gambling in Sudan, many players opt for online casinos, employing Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) to bypass restrictions imposed by Internet Service Providers, ensuring a safer alternative for engaging in gambling activities.

Tunisia

While casino gambling is a legal form of gambling in Tunisia, it is open only to foreigners. So tourists must always present their passports to gamble at casinos and pay in only foreign currencies.

As of now, there are four land-based casinos in Tunisia which are Casino La Mèdina, Grand Casino Djerba, Casino Veneziano, and Grand Casino Kantaoui. These four casino establishments offer a variety of games to foreigners.

Sports betting and lotteries are also allowed in Tunisia, but their range is limited and monitored by the authorities. Promosport is the only platform through which players in Tunisia can access sports betting. Also, all gambling activity is regulated by the Ministry of Youth, Sports, and Physical Education.

Yemen

In Yemen, there is a total ban on every gambling form, including online and offline platforms, and lotteries. As such, Yemeni citizens can only play online using foreign gambling websites, while maintaining caution to avoid government attention.

Since gambling is illegal in Yemen, there is no regulatory body that governs the function of gambling establishments, and there are no national or private lotteries either.

Usually, only illegally operating domestic gambling websites are targeted by the Yemeni authorities. Players who place bets on international online casinos can avoid prosecution.

Pros and Cons of Online Gambling

Over the years, the influence and scale of online gambling have grown, as more players worldwide are choosing to gamble digitally instead of physically. As online gambling spreads steadily, some people avoid it totally since it comes with its own disadvantages.

So, if you want to begin online gambling, here are some pros and cons to consider so you can make an informed decision.

Pros IconPros
  • Anonymity
  • Multiple Payment Options
  • Bonuses and Promotions
Cons IconCons
  • Addiction
  • Lack of Regulation
  • Limited social interaction

Pros

When gambling online, players tend to benefit the most by being able to stay anonymous, access multiple payment methods, and gamble conveniently.

Let's take a detailed look at some of these advantages:

Anonymity

Anonymity in online gambling refers to the ability of players to participate in gambling activities without exposing their personal information such as their full name, address, and financial details.

One of the main ways that online gambling sites protect a player’s anonymity is by allowing them to create an anonymous account. This means that a player can sign up for an account and start gambling without providing personal information. Instead, they may only need a username and password.

Another way that online gambling sites protect player anonymity is by using secure encryption technology to protect player data. This ensures that personal information is transmitted securely and is not accessible to third parties. Additionally, many online gambling sites have strict privacy policies that prohibit them from sharing player information with third parties without their consent.

The importance of anonymity is never over-emphasized in online gambling. For one, it allows players to keep their gambling activities private, which can be particularly important for those who prefer to keep their gambling activities separate from the rest of their lives.

Additionally, it also provides a sense of security for players, as they know that their personal information is protected and not at risk of being shared or misused. Since gambling is prohibited in most Arab countries, it's only normal to avoid activities that can attract the authorities.

Multiple Payment Options

Having multiple payment methods when gambling online can be beneficial to both the players and the operators.

Firstly, several payment methods provide additional security for players. For instance, some players may prefer to use e-wallets because they can keep their personal and financial information separate from gambling sites.

Additionally, specific payment methods like cryptocurrencies can offer an extra layer of security and privacy as they are decentralized and allow for anonymous transactions.

It also makes online gambling more accessible to players from different regions. Some payment methods may not be available in certain countries or areas, so having multiple options to choose from can ensure accessibility for all players worldwide.

Bonuses and Promotions

Bonuses and promotions are a significant advantage of online gambling, as they can help to attract new players and keep existing players engaged. Here are some common online gambling bonuses and their advantages.

  • Welcome bonuses: Many online gambling sites offer welcome bonuses to new players as an incentive to sign up and make a deposit. These bonuses can be free spins, cashback offers, or match deposit bonuses and can help new players get started and try out different games.

  • Reload bonuses: Reload bonuses are offered to existing players to encourage them to make a deposit and continue playing. These bonuses can be a percentage of a deposit, a set amount of free spins, or a cashback offer.

  • Free spins: Many online gambling sites offer free spins as a bonus, which can be used to play a specific slot game or a selection of slot games. Free spins can help players to try out new games or increase their chances of winning.

  • Cashback offers: Some online gambling sites offer cashback offers, which can help offset any losses a player may incur while gambling. Cashback offers can be a percentage of a player's losses or a set amount of money credited to a player's account.

Cons

As always, nothing is ever perfect. There are some flaws associated with using gambling platforms that are internet-based.

Addiction

Online gambling can be highly addictive since you can easily access an online gambling platform from the comfort of your home. This can lead to financial problems for a gambling enthusiast in the long run.

Lack of Regulation

Online gambling is not as heavily regulated as land-based gambling, which can lead to issues with fairness and transparency.

Limited social interaction

Online gambling does not provide the same amount of social interaction that a land-based betting establishment does. Since you will be gambling alone on your device, there is little excitement compared to what you get at a physical casino.

How to Securely Gamble Online?

Since many Middle East countries restrict gambling-related activities, you need to employ specific protective methods so you can gamble securely.

Protect Yourself With A VPN

Using a virtual private network (VPN) to gamble is a great way to bypass restrictions that prevent access to online gambling sites in Arab countries.

A VPN encrypts your website traffic and reroutes it through intermediary servers. That is, your device's IP address will be masked and replaced with any country of your choice, preventing third parties from tracking or monitoring your activities.

Some notable VPNs that you can install and subscribe to include NordVPN, ExpressVPN, and Sufshark. After registering on the VPN platform, you can then select a VPN server location and login into your preferred online gambling site.

Find A Safe Payment Method

There are a lot of payment methods that online gambling sites adopt, and choosing the right one can either make or mar your gambling experience. Here's a list of payment methods for gambling online.

Cryptocurrency

When it comes to online gambling, cryptocurrency is the holy grail of payment methods. Since cryptocurrency uses a decentralized system, it guarantees maximum security and prevents third parties from accessing your financial details.

Cryptocurrency also offers the leverage of being completely anonymous and promotes transparency. In addition, a crypto transaction is convenient, fast, and untraceable, making it the ultimate choice for gamblers.

E-wallets

Using an e-wallet, such as PayPal, Skrill, or Neteller, for online gambling can be a convenient and secure way to manage your gambling funds. E-wallets allow you to store your funds in one place, making it easy to make deposits and withdrawals to and from online gambling sites.

They also provide an additional layer of security, allowing you to keep your financial information separate from the online gambling site, reducing the risk of fraud or identity theft.

Transactions made through e-wallets are often faster than traditional methods such as bank transfers or credit/debit cards. An e-wallet help you stay partly anonymous, making it the second-best payment option after cryptocurrency.

Bank Cards

Using bank cards, such as credit or debit cards, for online gambling can be a convenient way to manage your gambling funds since they’re widely accepted. However, Arab players should avoid using their bank cards since bank transactions can be traced easily.

Numa Jabara
Numa Jabara

Main writer for Habibibet

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Numa is a writer who is passionate about everything that is related to gambling. With 5 years of experience in gambling industry, he finds the drive to write about it- ...continue reading

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checkCircle Fact checked by: Ehsan Gamal
clock 12 min read

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