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Simon’s Guide to Gambling in Somalia

Gambling in Somalia


Somalia (officially the Federal Republic of Somalia) is a country located in the Horn of Africa. It is bordered by Ethiopia to the west, Djibouti to the northwest, the Gulf of Aden to the north, the Indian Ocean to the east, and Kenya to the southwest. Somalia has the longest coastline on the continent’s mainland. It has a population of approximately 10 million and a GDP of approximately $600 per capita, which makes it one of the poorest countries in the world.

Gambling in Somalia is prohibited due to the majority of the population being Muslims. Under Islamic law, all forms of gambling are considered moral and criminal offences and the religious prohibition is reflected in the gambling regulations of most countries with a predominantly Muslim population.

There are no legal gambling operations in Somalia. There are, however, some illegal gambling dens and self-organised gambling groups around the country. Somalians who are caught gambling face Shari’a corporal punishment (hodud). For minor offences like gambling, this usually entails public flogging*.

According to last years figures, Somalia has an internet penetration of a mere 1.5%**, which makes it a virtually non existent online gambling market, if the extremely limited disposable income of the populace wasn’t enough. Needles to say, this means, that most online casinos ignore the country entirely.


*Source: Somali jehadist anti-gambling force arrested men suspected of gambling and flogged

**Source: Internet World Stats: Africa



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Casino gambling in Somalia


Online casino gambling in Somalia: illegal, players are most likely prosecuted if caught


There are no casinos in Somalia, due to all forms of gambling being illegal in the country. Players if caught, face public flogging.

Online gambling is virtually non-existent in the country, but it’s safe to assume, that Islamic judges would impose the same punishments on online gamblers as in case of land based gambling.




Bingo in Somalia


Online bingo in Somalia: illegal, players are most likely prosecuted if caught


There are no reported, land based bingo halls in operation in Somalia, due to all gambling being illegal in the African state.

It’s most likely that online and offline gamblers alike, if caught, face Shari’a corporal punishments in the form of public flogging. This applies to bingo as well.




Poker in Somalia


Online poker in Somalia: illegal, players are most likely prosecuted if caught


There are no legal poker clubs or casinos with poker tables in the country.

Online poker sites are also non existent in the country. All offline and online gamblers are flogged publicly, if caught, although there are no reported precedents of that in Somalia.



Sports betting in Somalia


Online sports betting in Somalia: illegal, players are most likely prosecuted if caught


There are no legal sports betting operations, neither online, nor offline in Somalia, due to all forms of gambling being illegal according to the teachings of Islam.

The only – sort of – legal gambling-like activity in the country is a reported ‘pirate stock exchange’ in the town of Haradheere, where locals can fund the operation of pirate companies with money or weapons and in return, can receive a cut from the ransoms they collect*.

Online gambling is virtually non-existent, although if caught gambling online, Somali residents probably face the same punishments as for land based gambling.


*Source: Reuters – Somali sea gangs lure investors at pirate lair



Lottery in Somalia


Online lottery in Somalia: illegal, players are prosecuted if caught


There is no national lottery in Somalia and no other licensed lottery operators either. In fact, all forms of gambling in the African country are prohibited under Islamic law – including lottery and online lottery as well.

Somali citizens who purchase lottery tickets online can face public flogging, if caught.




Bitcoin gambling in Somalia


Bitcoin gambling in Somalia: illegal, players are prosecuted if caught


Experts suggest, that in countries with fragile economies, poor access to capital and overall poor financial infrastructure like Somalia, Bitcoin could present an alternative value exchange system*. However, nothing was done on this front in Somalia so far.

Needless to say, Bitcoin gambling is not specifically regulated in Somalia, but it’s almost certain, that in practice, it would fall into the same legal category as other forms of online and offline gambling.


*Source: Ben Parker: Bitcoin Has Potential in Fragile States



Online gambling websites accepting players from Somalia


Online gambling in Somalia is illegal (although, official information is hard to come by, there are no reported precedents, neither there are laws in place pertinent to online gambling in specific). However, some foreign online gambling platforms accept players from the country.


The following online casinos and bookmakers accept players from Somalia.


BGO casino – accepting players from Somalia

Casino Euro – accepting players from Somalia

32 Red casino accepting players from Somalia

32 Red online bookmaker, sports betting website – accepting players from Somalia

Black Lotus casino accepting players from Somalia



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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. 30.

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Simon's Guide to Online Gambling in Somalia
This online gambling guide focuses on the legal status of various forms of gambling in the Islamic country of Somalia.