Gambling in Algeria is forbidden for religious reasons, as about 99% of the population is Muslim, a vast majority of whom practice the Sunni Islam branch of the faith. Algeria recognizes the Sharia law as the basis for the country’s legal system. Gambling, or maisir is strictly forbidden by the Quran, and is considered the Satan’s handiwork.
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. Interestingly, gambling is mentioned in conjunction with drinking, emphasizing the similarities between gambling addiction and alcoholism.*
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- Casinos in Algeria
- Bingo in Algeria
- Poker in Algeria
- Sports betting in Algeria
- Lottery in Algeria
- Bitcoin gambling in Algeria
- Online gambling websites accepting players from Algeria
Casinos in Algeria
Online casino gambling in Algeria: illegal, players usually not prosecuted
There are no casinos in Algeria whatsoever, as casino gambling is forbidden by Islamic law.
Algeria introduced internet censorship in 2010, blocking mainly political websites, blogs and online radios. It is unknown, which foreign online gambling sites are blocked at the moment, if any. Even if a specific website is blocked, gamblers need not despair: legislation has been proposed as to outlaw the use of VPNs, but has not been passed as of yet.
As such, accessing foreign online casino gambling sites is possible, especially as there are online casinos that accept players from Algeria. However, it bears repeating that all forms of gambling is illegal in Algeria, and although there have been no reported cases of prosecuted gamblers, it is still a risky hobby.
Bingo in Algeria
Online bingo in Algeria: illegal, players usually not prosecuted
Bingo is largely unknown in Algeria, and thus isn’t specifically mentioned in the regulation. As Bingo is a game of luck, it is forbidden by Sharia law.
Foreign online Bingo sites may be accessed by Algerians same as online casino sites, possibly even more easily, as fewer websites might be blocked, simply for lack of interest. Internet penetration in Algeria is rather low, only 14% of the population have access to the internet, and the Algerian internet connection is one of the slowest in the world.
Poker in Algeria
Online poker in Algeria: illegal, players usually not prosecuted
While Poker is strictly speaking not a game of luck but a game of skill, it is still forbidden by Islamic law.
Some foreign online poker sites are accessible for Algerian players. Among these websites many are either French online poker sites, or French versions of international companies. (The French poker market is regulated so that French players are not allowed to play on international poker sites. However, French websites accept players with residence in other countries.)
Sports betting in Algeria
Online sports betting in Algeria: illegal, players usually not prosecuted
Although sports betting belongs to the games of chance, the Algerian laws are somewhat laxer when it comes to this type of gambling. There are some hippodromes in Algeria where horse races are organised, the most famous of these being the Hippodrome de Caroubier. While betting on the horses is, in fact, illegal, it is safe to say that some sports betting occurs. The races are organised by the Société des Courses Hippiques et du Pari Mutuel Algérie.
As for online sports betting: the situation is similar to those of online Poker and online casino games. Illegal by word of the law, sometimes blocked, but very rarely, if at all, prosecuted.
Lottery in Algeria
Online lottery in Algeria: illegal, players usually not prosecuted
The Algerian national lottery is organised by the Pari Sportif Algerien. Along with scratchcards, two types of lottery are available: Loto Erriadhi, which is 6/49, and Loto Mohtaref, which is a 7/35 game. The greatest reported winning on the Algerian lottery was 47 million dinars, won by two colleagues, Naïma and Mohamed. The Algerian lottery is heavily taxed: about 40% of the money collected goes towards furthering the sports education of Algerian youth, while the organizers retain 20% of the amount.*
The Algerian national lottery, organised by the Pari Sportif Algerien, does not offer any online lottery games. Algerians who want to participate in online Lottery can only do so, by accessing foreign online lottery sites.
Some types of lottery where there is a lack of monetary exchange (that is, giveaways) are not forbidden by the Quran, therefore Algerians may participate in such games. Still, the Quran advises that Muslims should stay away from all sorts of gambling and games of chance, in order not to become addicted.
/However, even free lotteries, raffles and giveaways are seen by many as some as a form a “gateway drug” towards gambling for monetary gain (or loss)./
Bitcoin gambling in Algeria
Bitcoin gambling in Algeria: illegal, players usually not prosecuted
BitCoin, while not completely unheard of in Algeria, is known to only a fraction of the population. This is in part due to the low internet penetration in the country. Consequently, BitCoin gambling, while theoretically possible, is not at all prevalent in the country.
There have been initiatives to use BitCoin in Algeria, particularly when it comes to transferring money from the Europe back to the workers’ families in Algeria, as a significant amount might be saved on the costs. The method faces some difficulties: at the moment there is practically no way for Algerians to convert BitCoins to Dinars.
Online gambling websites accepting players from Algeria
Even though online gambling is illegal in Algeria, still there are many online gambling sites accepting players from Algeria.
/This is because even tough online gambling is illegal within the borders of Algeria, these online casinos operate legally abroad and are licensed to accept players globally./
There is literally no info on the internet, on whether players are prosecuted or not. However, it is highly unlikely, that a developing country with such a low internet penetration would posses the infrastructure or the resources to find and prosecute individual online gamblers.
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Last updated: 2015.09.23.