Simon’s Guide to Gambling in Azerbaijan

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This is a picture of the Topaz Premier League Sports Betting conference in Azerbaijan. Sports betting is the most popular form of online gambling in Azerbaijan.

Sports betting in Azerbaijan – Topaz Premier League
Source: Inteltek

 

Before 1997, gambling in Azerbaijan was legal, and gamblers could play in more than 10 casinos located in Baku, the country’s capital. Since 1997, however, most forms of gambling have been banned – allegedly more for personal reasons than moral ones.

The Azerbaijani president at the time was Heydar Aliyev. His son, Ilkham Aliyev was heavily involved in gambling, reportedly owing $6 million to a Turkish gambling magnate. As a reaction to the ensuing scandal, president Aliyev decreed that gambling is contrary to the Azerbaijani values, and casinos are centers of immorality, ordering all casinos and gambling spots closed.

However, unlike most Muslim countries, not all forms of gambling are illegal in Azerbaijan.

A large majority of the Azeri population follows the Islam faith, which expressly forbids all forms of gambling under Sharia law.

 

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.*

Despite the prohibition of gambling by the Qu’ran, Azeri people are not as opposed to gambling as the residents of several other countries with a Muslim majority.

*Source: Islam Prohibits Gambling (IslamAwareness)

 

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Summary:

 

 

Casino gambling in Azerbaijan

 

Online casino gambling in Azerbaijan: illegal

 

Casino gambling thrived before the 1998 ban on gambling, but has been illegal ever since. The only alternative for Azerbaijani gamblers who wish to stick to casino gambling are online casinos.

There are several online casinos, most of which are available in Russian, that accept players from Azerbaijan.
Players may be fined, although the government tends not to prosecute individual players (no recorded case of individual player prosecuted, operators are prosecuted).

Some foreign casino gambling platforms are blocked by internet service providers at the behest of the Azerbaijani government.

 

 

Bingo in Azerbaijan

 

Online Bingo in Azerbaijan: legal (monopoly of Azerlottery)

 

Bingo is one of the few exceptions to the general gambling ban in Azerbaijan. Bingo is one of the games offered by Azerlottery, the company with a monopoly on the Azerbaijani lottery and Bingo market. Bingo is actually the most popular of the games offered by Azerlottery.

Azerlottery’s Bingo game is also available online. Another option for Azeri Bingo players are foreign online Bingo sites, though some of these may be blocked by internet providers.

 

 

Poker in Azerbaijan

 

Online Poker in Azerbaijan: illegal, players usually not prosecuted

 

Poker has been banned in Azerbaijan along with casinos and most other forms of gambling since 1998. Azeri people, on the other hand, are avid gamblers, which has led to a thriving underground gambling market. Still, currently there are no establishments in Azerbaijan to legally play Poker in.

Azerbaijan also has no online Poker sites of its own. While technically illegal for Azerbaijani people, foreign online Poker sites are still frequented, and most websites welcome players from Azerbaijan with open arms.

 

 

Sports betting in Azerbaijan

 

Online sports betting in Azerbaijan: legal

 

After 13 years, Azerbaijan finally loosened its ban on gambling in 2001 and enabled sports betting in the country. Criticised by some for having a negative impact on youth, the aim of the loosening of the law was to increase the budget of sports education programs with the tax on the sports betting company’s revenue.

The Topaz sports betting company was introduced, which currently operates over 500 brick and mortar betting shops in the country. Topaz is available on mobile as well as online, in the form of eTopaz.

The most popular sport in Azerbaijan both to watch and to wager on is football. Other popular sports include wrestling, boxing, basketball and volleyball. Topaz is the official sponsor of the Azerbaijan Premier League, the most popular sports event in Azerbaijan. The league has actually been renamed Topaz Premier League for three years as an acknowledgement of the sports betting company’s support.*

 

*Source:  Topaz becomes title sponsor of Premier League of Azerbaijani (abc.az)

 

Lottery in Azerbaijan

 

Online lottery in Azerbaijan: legal, state monopoly

 

Lottery games have been legal since 1992, legalised after the fall of the Soviet Union of which Azerbaijan was a part. Lottery was the only form of gambling not banned after the 1998 gambling scandal. In 2001, in an effort to regulate the lottery market in Afghanistan, the Azerlottery was officially founded by the Ministry of Economic Development of the Azerbaijani Republic.

Azerbaijani lottery has operated as a monopoly ever since. The games offered include Lotto 5/36, 6/40 and Bingo. The lottery draws are televised, and viewed by around 20% of the respondents of a study conducted on the gambling habits in Azerbaijan*

Azerlottery is also offering lottery games online. As no other online lottery licenses have been given out since 2001, Azerlottery’s online version is the only legal form of online lottery available within Azerbaijan. Still, Azeri players can access several Russian-speaking foreign online lottery sites.

 

*Source: ftp://212.252.212.240/BettingHabitsTracker(WaveII).pdf

 

Bitcoin gambling in Azerbaijan

 

Bitcoin gambling in Azerbaijan: illegal/unregulated

 

Interest in Bitcoin has been steadily growing in Azerbaijan the past few years. In 2014 the Central Bank of Azerbaijan issued a statement saying there are no regulations in place addressing the mechanism of the cryptocurrency. However, he stated, “In accordance with the Azerbaijan Constitution, it’s prohibited to use other means of payment in the country except the national currency: Azerbaijani manat.”*

To summarize, Bitcoin gambling and Bitcoin usage are both illegal within Azerbaijan at the moment, although the draft of a new law has been prepared that is supposed to bring a more favorable situation for Bitcoin.

However, depending on your interpretation of the law above (“in the country”) it  says nothing about placing bets on foreign online Bitcoin casinos.

 

 

Online gambling websites accepting players from Azerbaijan

Even tough most forms of gambling are illegal in Azerbaijan most online casinos accept players from the country.
These online casinos are not located within Azerbaijan and they dispute whether the laws of the country apply internationally as well.
Until this matter is settled, or at least more regulated, online gambling websites will continue to accept players from the country.

 

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BGO casino – accepting players from Azerbaijan

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BGO online bookmaker accepting players from Azerbaijan

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32 Red casino accepting players from Azerbaijan

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32 Red online bookmaker, sports betting website accepting players from Azerbaijan

black_lotus_casino_bonus

Black Lotus casino accepting players from Azerbaijan

 

 

 

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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. 13

Summary
Simon's Guide to Gambling in Azerbaijan
Article Name
Simon's Guide to Gambling in Azerbaijan
Description
An overview of the legal status of casinos, sports betting, lottery, and other forms of gambling in Azerbaijan.
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3 Responses

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    sajid channan mashe
    (email address removed to protect privacy)

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