In Uzbekistan, like in almost all of the Islamic countries, all forms of gambling are forbidden. Back in the days of the Soviet Union gambling was prohibited for ideological reasons – because it was considered an illegal capitalist pursuit. After the Soviet Union broke up, many of its former member states went on to loosen their gambling regulations. It was not the case for Uzbekistan and some other Islamic ex-USSR states, though.
Starting from the nineties, Uzbekistan has been gradually outlawing all forms of gambling. The official reasoning of the government for the strict regulations is that they feel, that gambling does not correspond to the spirit of the Uzbek people, and that it also leads to crime. The latter is especially ironic, as its know, that making gambling illegal always results in underground circles taking over the whole industry.
In 2002, by banning even the casual game billiard, the government showed how serious they were about the matter.
Online gambling is also considered illegal, however, with the authorities lacking the infrastructure and resources to go after individual players that play on foreign online gambling sites that still offer their services in Uzbekistan, are not likely to be caught.
The Uzbek government does have an internet censoring system, but it targets mainly political content. However, the authorities recently tightened their grip on internet cafes in the country, which were among the last access points of the populace to any form of gambling.
- Casino gambling in Uzbekistan
- Bingo in Uzbekistan
- Poker in Uzbekistan
- Sports Betting in Uzbekistan
- Lottery in Uzbekistan
- Bitcoin Gambling in Uzbekistan
- Online gambling websites accepting players from Uzbekistan
Casino gambling in Uzbekistan
Online casino gambling in Uzbekistan: illegal
Uzbekistan outlawed all forms of gambling, including casinos, although one source suggests*, that in 2013 at least, there was one casino openly operating in the its capital, Tashkent.
Until 2007, there were still some slot halls, the legal status of which were kind of questionable, but were nevertheless, as I understand, unharmed by authorities. After 2007, however, even these were outlawed by the government.
Some online casinos are accessible, but only at the players own risk, as they are technically illegal.
Bingo in Uzbekistan
Online Bingo in Uzbekistan: illegal
Bingo is, on top of being illegal, not a huge sensation amongst the Uzbek, to say the least. There is no information suggesting that any land-based Bingo hall ever operated in the country, and I wouldn’t be surprised to find out, that none ever did.
However, it is technically possible for an Uzbek to play Bingo online on a foreign platform, but as a form of gambling, it is illegal and therefore involves a certain amount of risk, even if realistically, its not a lot.
Poker in Uzbekistan
Online Poker in Uzbekistan: illegal
Poker, just like all other forms of gambling except lottery, is illegal in Uzbekistan. With the government tightening its control over illegal gambling dens, there are probably not much opportunities left for the Uzbeks to play Poker offline.
However, many of the foreign sites legally licensed in other countries do offer their services to players from Uzbekistan. Poker enthusiasts from the Central Asian Islamic country may partake in the games offered by these operators and they are not likely to be prosecuted, but its nevertheless illegal.
Sports Betting in Uzbekistan
Online sports Betting in Uzbekistan: illegal
All gambling, including land-based and online sports betting is illegal in Uzbekistan. One popular traditional form of the wagering is still blossoming, though, despite the strict ban.
Betting on cockfights was and is a popular form of entertainment in many Central Asian countries, and Uzbekistan is no exception. Underground cockfights are a huge sensation amongst the Uzbeks, even though illegal operators face penalties of up to 5 years imprisonment and confiscation of goods.
Using foreign online sports bets is not legal, but technically feasible. Although players are not likely to be able to make deposits in their own currency, nor play on these sites in Uzbek.
Lottery in Uzbekistan
Online lottery in Uzbekistan: legal, major banks conduct lotteries with a state contract
The only form of gambling that is legal in Uzbekistan is the lottery. Major banks only, that have a contracts with the Uzbek state directly are allowed to conduct lotteries.
According to various sources Citizens were at several occasions were in fact made to participate in the lottery against their will (similar to Agrobank’s “Farovonlik” (Prosperity) lottery controversy).
RFE/RL’s Uzbek Service, Radio Ozodlik was receiving calls from shocked Uzbek residents last year. They said, that when trying to withdraw money from their accounts at Agrobank, one of the country’s major financial institutions, they were ‘forced’ by the banks employees to buy lottery tickets costing up to 5,000 soms (some 2 dollars).*
The bank officials denied the accusations in a statement. Earlier, though, even an employee at an Agrobank branch in Andijon Province said, that they [the employees] were also obliged to buy lottery tickets.
To make it even more absurd, some teachers in Khwarezm and Bukhara provinces also told the anchor of the aforementioned radio station, that they too were forced to play the lottery and at times have even been given lottery tickets instead of their salaries.
Agrobank is not a standalone example. Recently, another major Uzbek financial institution Halq Bank was also caught up in a similar controversy when, allegedly, forced some of its customers to buy lottery tickets.
Playing foreign online lotteries is illegal. the same applies for these as for other forms of online gambling: individual players are not likely to get caught.
BitCoin Gambling in Uzbekistan
BitCoin Gambling in Uzbekistan: no specific regulation, counts as gambling, most likely illegal
I didn’t find any info on Bitcoin gambling in Uzbekistan, nor on the Uzbek government stance towards the cryptocurrency in general. However, the strict gambling regulations suggest, that Bitcoin gambling is just as illegal as the rest, although I don’t suppose the digital currency has a huge user-base in the former Soviet country anyway.
Online gambling websites accepting players from Uzbekistan
Even though all form of gambling – including online – are illegal, many offshore sites offer their services to players from Uzbekistan (located and registered outside of Uzbekistan).
The following online gambling websites accept players from Uzbekistan.
Last updated: 2015. 10. 14