Simon’s Guide to Gambling in Mauritania

Picture of a Mauritanian village. Gambling is illegal in Mauritania.

Guide to Gambling in Mauritania


Mauritania, officially the Islamic Republic of Mauritania is a country located in the Mahreb Region of North Africa. The country shares borders with the Atlantic Ocean to the west, Morocco to the north, Algeria to the northeast, Mali to the east and southeast, and Senegal to the southwest. The country derives its name from the ancient Berber Kingdom of Mauretania existed from the 3rd century BC to the 7th century AD. Mauritania’s capital and largest city is Nouakchott with a population almost 1 million (around one-fourth of the population). Approximately 90% of the country’s land is within the Sahara, so the population is mostly concentrated in the south. The country’s estimated population in 2015 was around 4 million. Ethnic groups in the country are the dominant Moors with 70% of the population while the remaining 30% consists of other African groups (Wolof, and Bambara for example). The official language in Mauritania is Arabic, but French is widely spoken too, due to the previous French rule in the early to mid 20th century.

Imperial France started to gradually absorb territories of present-day Mauritania in the late 19th century, making the country a French colony in the process. Mauritania became part of French West Africa in 1920 and remained under French rule for 40 years until the country’s independence. During French rule, slavery was prohibited and the capital city of Nouakchott was founded. Mauritania became independent in 1960. The country’s history is filled with military coups and dictatorships since its independence. The last coup occurred in 2008, and after that, the country became a unitary semi-presidential republic. The current constitution of Mauritania was adopted in 1991.

Mauritania is one of the last countries where slavery is practiced so the country is always in the spotlight when human rights are the topic. Slavery wasn’t illegal in the country until 2007, but even today, roughly 4% of the population is being enslaved. It is difficult to enforce anti-slavery laws in the country due to the vast desert and the belief that slavery is part of the natural order of society. The government denies slavery’s existence in the country, though. Another human rights concern in Mauritania includes female genital mutilation, child labour, and the discrimination against black people amongst others. Mauritania constantly ranks amongst the lowest in the Human Development Index (HDI), like in 2014 when the country ranked 156th. About 20% of Mauritians live under US$ 1.25 per day.

Due to the Islamic teachings gambling is completely illegal in Mauritania. Islam sees gambling as evil, addicting and a cause for people to forget their social responsibilities. These anti-gambling laws are heavily enforced in Mauritania. Online gambling is illegal too, although there are no specific laws banning it besides the teachings of the Quran.


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Casino gambling in Mauritania


Online casino gambling in Mauritania:


Gambling was always illegal in the country even under French rule hence the dominant religion of Islam. The Quran forbids all kinds of gambling because it sees it addicting and an activity, which makes people forget their social responsibilities. So there are no legal land-based or online gambling providers in the country, and possibly won’t be in the future either. Playing online is forbidden too.


Bingo in Mauritania


Online bingo in Mauritania: illegal


Bingo is a quite popular form of gambling around the world, especially in the US. However, gambling is illegal in Mauritania so you won’t find any land-based or online bingo halls in the country. The anti-gambling laws in Mauritania are heavily enforced too.



Poker in Mauritania


Online poker in Mauritania: illegal


Poker is quite possibly the most popular casino game ever created. The main reasons behind its ever growing popularity are the television broadcasts and world championships. Many would consider poker as a game of skill rather than a game of chance but in nature, poker is still a form of gambling. All forms of gambling are illegal in Mauritania due to the Islamic beliefs. Even online gambling is forbidden for Mauritanian citizens. These laws are heavily enforced in the country.


Sports betting in Mauritania


Online sports betting in Mauritania: illegal


Sports betting is one of the most common forms of gambling in the world. Sports betting is one of the most common forms of gambling conducted illegally too. In Mauritania, all forms of gambling are illegal, both land-based and online, so sports betting is forbidden too. The anti-gambling laws are heavily enforced in the country. There are no specific laws concerning online gambling besides the teachings of the Quran.



Lottery in Mauritania


Online lottery in Mauritania: illegal


Arguably the lottery is the most common form of gambling out there. The most common form of lottery is involves 6 numbers (player picks them out) and is usually drawn weekly. Almost every country where gambling is legal has a national lottery. However, Islamic countries banned lotteries too because it is a form of gambling and the Quran forbids all forms of gambling. Playing lotteries online is illegal too. These laws concerning gambling are heavily enforced in Mauritania.



Bitcoin gambling in Mauritania


Bitcoin gambling in Mauritania: illegal


Bitcoin is a digital currency often referred to as a “cryptocurrency” introduced back in 2008. It quickly became popular worldwide as an alternative mean of payment. Bitcoin gambling appeared shortly after the introduction of the currency. It continues to gain popularity as more and more online casinos started to specialize in it. Bitcoin is still a relatively new phenomenon so only just a handful of countries issued laws concerning it. Some countries see Bitcoin as an asset rather than a currency (like Norway). There are no specific laws concerning Bitcoin in Mauritania but gambling is illegal so technically Bitcoin gambling is too.



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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: 2016.01.18.

Simon's Guide to Gambling in Mauritania
Article Name
Simon's Guide to Gambling in Mauritania
An overview of gambling's legal status in Mauritania.

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