Simon’s Guide to Gambling in Brunei

Mariam Aziz, ex-wife of the Sultan of Brunei, who lost millions of pounds gambling in London.

Mariam Aziz, ex-wife of the Sultan of Brunei, who lost millions of pounds gambling in London
Source: dailymail


All forms of gambling are illegal in Brunei, and the anti-gambling laws are quite strictly enforced. The legal system of this Southern Asian country is an interesting mix of English common law and the Sharia law; the predominantly Muslim Negara Brunei Darussalam (Country of Brunei, Abode of Peace) gained independence from Britain in 1984.

The Sultan, Hassanal Bolikah has set plans in motion to fully implement Sharia law in the country. The Islamic law (Sharia) explicitly forbids all forms of gambling.

The reasons for the prohibition are twofold:

  • It is unlawful for the Muslim to gain wealth by gambling.

According to the Islamic teaching, one ought to earn a living by honest, serious work, and relying on luck to gain money is contrary to this principle.

  • Muslims must not participate in gambling for recreational purposes.

The reason for this prohibition lies in the addictive quality of gambling, which causes the gambler to neglect his responsibilities to society and the Creator.*

Not only are several aspects of the Sharia law in effect in Brunei, the country also has its own law against gambling, the Common Gambling Houses Act. This prohibits all forms of gambling, and states that those guilty of participating in illegal gambling are liable to pay a $10 000 fine and to be sentenced to 6 months in prison.**

While the law makes no mention of online gambling, the definition of common gaming houses is considered to include online gambling sites. Brunei is one of the few countries where players are actually prosecuted for online gambling. There has been at least one report of Bruneian players arrested for illegal gambling and charged under the Common Gaming Houses Act.***


*Source: Islam Prohibits Gambling (IslamAwareness)

**Source: Common Gaming Houses Act

***Source: 30 Detained for Online Gambling (The Brunei Times)


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Casino gambling in Brunei


Online casino gambling in Brunei: illegal, players may be prosecuted


Casino gambling in Brunei is illegal under the Common Gaming Houses Act, and punishable by a fine of $10 000 and imprisonment for 6 months. The prohibition is strictly enforced and arrests are rather frequent. Naturally, there are no land-based casinos in Brunei.

In the light of the complete prohibition on gambling in Brunei it might be strange to hear about the 2014 scandal involving the Sultan’s ex-wife. Mariam Aziz has admitted to amassing a gambling debt amounting to several millions of pounds in London casinos.

Online casino gambling, while not specifically mentioned, is also considered illegal under the Common Gaming Houses Act. There have been cases of Bruneian players prosecuted and computers that had been used for illegal online gambling seized under this law.



Bingo in Brunei


Online Bingo in Brunei: illegal, players may be prosecuted


Bingo is not specifically regulated in Brunei, though playing real money Bingo games is most likely considered gambling and as such illegal under the Common Gaming Houses Act. Bingo is also practically unknown in the country, and there have been no reports of arrests of Bingo players, likely because practically no one plays it. Online Bingo is also illegal in the country.



Poker in Brunei


Online Poker in Brunei: illegal, players  may be prosecuted


Poker, while often considered a game of skill, not of chance, is also illegal in Brunei, prohibited by the Common Gaming Houses Act. Online Poker is not specifically regulated, but the same laws apply as with live Poker games. Players caught participating in Poker games of any sort may face fines of up to $10 000 as well as 6 months in jail. There are some international Poker sites that accept players from Brunei, but players would be taking a fair amount of risk.



Sports betting in Brunei


Online sports betting in Brunei: illegal, players may be prosecuted


Sports betting is illegal in Brunei, and may be punished by a fine of $10 000 and an imprisonment of 6 months. Despite this, cock fighting – and wagering on the fights – is still a popular pastime in the country, and is practically a tradition. Gamblers betting on these fights are often arrested and charged under the Common Gaming Houses Act, though several illegal sports betting venues continue to operate.

Online sports betting is not expressly mentioned in the law, but as with online casino gambling, online sports betting sites can be considered a public place of gambling, and players in Brunei may be prosecuted.



Lottery in Brunei


Online lottery in Brunei: illegal, players may be prosecuted.


In Brunei both operating a lottery and buying lottery tickets is illegal in accordance with the Common Gaming Houses Act. Those committing the offence of buying a lottery ticket – or even owning one, unless they can prove they didn’t buy it – face a fine of $2000. Naturally, there is no national or other land-based lottery in Brunei.

Online lotteries are not specifically regulated in the country, but are considered to be lotteries all the same, and thus banned in Brunei. Hence there are no online lottery sites based in Brunei, and participating in foreign online lottery draws is illegal as well.



Bitcoin gambling in Brunei


Bitcoin gambling in Brunei: illegal, players may be prosecuted


The Bruneian gambling regulation makes no mention of Bitcoin gambling (nor any form of online gambling). However, all forms of gambling is prohibited, and even online gamblers may be prosecuted for participating in illegal games. This means that while most Bitcoin gambling sites are anonymous, Bruneian players gambling in Bitcoin casinos may face charges as well.

While Bitcoin is not banned in Brunei, it is also not accepted as legal tender. There are also very few, if any, traders in Brunei where one could exchange Bitcoins for Brunei dollars.



Online gambling websites accepting players from Brunei

Even though some online casinos still accept players from Brunei, we would advise against registering on those websites! In Brunei even small gamblers risk prosecution thanks to internet censorship and surveillance by the government of Brunei.

If you live in Brunei avoid online gambling websites entirely.




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This page is part of Simon’s List – Legal Status of Online Gambling – a definitive guide to the legal status of all forms of online gambling activities in every country around the world.


Last updated: 2015.10.12.

Gambling in Brunei
Article Name
Gambling in Brunei
An overview of the legal status of gambling in Brunei and the punishments for illegal gambling.

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