Simon’s Guide to Gambling in the United Arab Emirates

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Gambling is forbidden in the United Arab Emirates. There are no gambling establishments even in the tourist hubs like Dubai.

Gambling in the United Arab Emirates

In almost all of the Islamic countries all forms gambling are illegal for religious reasons. The Quran prohibits gambling,because firstly, it is seen as a source of addiction, an activity that makes people neglect their duties towards society and the Creator. Secondly, according to the Islamic teachings, material wealth can only be obtained through serious and hard work, and gambling is not considered any of that.

The United Arab Emirates is an Islamic country with strict anti-gambling laws – amongst most strict, actually. Moreover, as one of the richest nations of the world, they don’t just prohibit all forms of online and offline gambling but actually have the tools and resources to enforce these laws.

In the country, prison sentence and/or monetary fine is imposed on those caught gambling, running a gambling establishment, or advertising gambling in any form online or offline.

Since 2012, when the president Sheikh Khalifa issued a decree that has been described as the most comprehensive cyber-crime law in the Arab world, the regulations are even stricter.

The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority implements an “Internet Access Management” policy*. The policy requires internet service providers to block access to websites providing illegal content or services. That includes, for example pornography, anti religious content or content related to terrorism and all online gambling websites. The authorities also block websites offering internet tools for bypassing the censor system, such as proxy servers or VPN sites.

*Source: Opennet Initiative – United Arab Emirates

 

The United Arab Emirates is one of the 4 countries, where players are actively prosecuted for playing online. People were arrested for online gambling and therefore we do not recommend playing online from this country (or while you are residing in this country).

Source:
Gulf News Courts – 16 jailed for online Casino and Poker

Dubai Police – Using VPN can get you to jail

 

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Summary:

 

 

 

Casino gambling in the United Arab Emirates

 

Online casino gambling in the United Arab Emirates: illegal

 

In the United Arab Emirates, both online and offline forms of casino gambling are illegal and are strictly penalised. Both parties – the provider and player – will receive a penalty if the authorities get to them. There are no brick and mortar casinos, not even in the big tourist hubs, such as Dubai and Abu-Dhabi and the vast majority of foreign licensed and operated online casinos are blocked as well by the authorities.

 

 

 

Bingo in the United Arab Emirates

 

Online Bingo in the United Arab Emirates: illegal

 

Bingo, just like all forms of gambling is illegal in the United Arab Emirates, therefore there are no legal Bingo halls. Moreover, in the Arab world in general, even in countries where at least some forms of gambling are legal, Bingo is still not a very popular game.

Online Bingo is in no way different and online bingo sites fall within the scope of the internet censoring system of the authorities, which works a lot more efficiently than the ones operating in poorer Islamic countries.

 

 

Poker in the United Arab Emirates

 

Online Poker in the United Arab Emirates: illegal

 

Poker is considered a form of gambling, and is therefore illegal in most of the Arab world, and the United Arab Emirates is no exception. There are no casinos, not even in tourist resorts, so one cannot find any legal establishments to play Poker in the country.

Online Poker sites are blocked, although some unofficial sources suggest, that the censoring system is not operating equally in every part of the country.

 

 

Sports Betting in the United Arab Emirates

 

Online sports Betting in the United Arab Emirates: illegal

 

The United Arab Emirates has some of the largest and most luxurious thoroughbred tracks in the world. One example is the Meydan Racecourse in Dubai, which opened its gates to visitors in 2011, replacing the Al Sheba Racecourse that formerly occupied the same site. The Meydan Racecourse is quite a classy establishment – in 2014 and 2015 Lady Gaga an Kylie Minogue both had concerts there and the Dubai World Cup is also organised here annually.

Legally though, people are only allowed to watch the races. Placing bets is considered illegal, even though foreign online bookmakers, the majority of which are blocked by ISPs on government order.

Other kinds of sports betting are illegal as well, both online or offline and are penalised by the authorities. Even the use of VPNs is prohibited by the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority.

 

 

 

Lottery in the United Arab Emirates

 

Online lottery in the United Arab Emirates: illegal, no state lottery

 

The United Arab Emirates consists of seven separate emirates, namely Abu Dhabi (which serves as the capital), Ajman, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras al-Khaimah, Sharjah, and Umm al-Quwain. However, there is no state lottery in any of these and as all forms of gambling, lottery is illegal.

The closest thing to a lottery in the country is the one organised by the Dubai Duty Free called ‘Multi Millionaire’ and even this is a raffle. Tickets are sold in the duty free shops on the airports in Dubai and Abu-Dhabi (there is no option to buy them online). It is an international lottery, people are free to participate, regardless of nationality. The prize of the main lottery is $1 million, but there are several other draws, where players can win luxury cars and motorbikes.

 

 

 

BitCoin Gambling in United Arab Emirates

 

BitCoin Gambling in the United Arab Emirates: illegal

 

The United Arab Emirates recognises Bitcoin as a legal currency and as all forms of real money gambling are strictly forbidden, Bitcoin gambling too is illegal. Foreign-operated Bitcoin casinos fall within the scope of the Internet Access Management policy and are therefore blocked by the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority just the same as other online gambling operators not specialising in the cryptocurrency.

 

 

 

Online gambling websites accepting players from the United Arab Emirates

 

All forms of online gambling are illegal in the United Arab Emirates and are blocked by ISPs on government notice, so not many foreign operators offer their services to residents in the country.

The few online gambling sites that do accept players from the region claim that they lie outside the jurisdiction of the UAE and therefore their laws do not apply to them.

Even tough this is actually true – as the final authority on these is the gambling licensing board behind a casino and many support this claim -. So it depends, where the online casino is registered.

The United Arab Emirates is one of the 4 countries, where players are actively prosecuted for playing online. People were arrested for online gambling and therefore we do not recommend playing online from this country (or while you are residing in this country).

 

 

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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

Summary
Simon's Guide to Gambling in the United Arab Emirates
Article Name
Simon's Guide to Gambling in the United Arab Emirates
Description
An overview of the legal status and popularity of various forms of online and land based gambling in the United Arab Emirates.
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