Simon’s Guide to Saudi Arabia Gambling & Online Betting Sites

This a photo of the skyline of Riyadh, the capital of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, with the 302 meters Kingdom Centre tower visible. Under the picture, on this page, you can read about the legal status of the various forms of Saudi Arabian games of chance: internet lottery, digital bingo, electronic poker, sports betting, crypto wagering. There is also info about illegal gambling, sharia law and betting on blood sports, the licensing system, taxation regime, and you can find a list of licensed online gambling websites, which accept Saudi Arabia players.

Saudi Arabia Gambling Guide (on the picture: skyline of Riyadh, the capital)

Summary: Gambling is illegal in Saudi Arabia (officially the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, an oil rich Muslim kingdom on the Arabian Peninsula, has a population of 34.2 million).

Online gambling is also illegal well, officially. However, players are not prosecuted for playing online, this is not enforced.

You can find a list of online gambling websites, which accept players from Saudi Arabia by scrolling below, or click here to jump to that list:

History of Gambling in Saudi Arabia - click to expand

Gambling has always been illegal in Saudi Arabia.

Gambling is illegal in Saudi Arabia, according to Islamic Law1, which is officially part of the legislation (Sharia courts preside over matters related to illegal games of chance).

Gambling (maisir) is strictly forbidden (haram) for Saudi Arabian citizens under Shari’a law, which is fully integrated into the legal system of this Muslim kingdom2. Saudi laws pertaining to gambling are strict and well enforced.

Gambling providers and players alike face harsh punishments, players can expect: hefty fines, incarceration up to 6 months, and expulsion from the country in case of foreigners.

In some countries Islamic laws only apply to Muslims and Muslim communities (e.g.: Eritrea), but in Saudi Arabia tourists and expats are also fined for violating gambling laws. In fact, non-Muslims tend to be judged more harshly, according to online reports.

Needless to say, there are no legal gambling opportunities in Saudi Arabia. Tourists should be careful, because you can get into trouble with the authorities for bringing any ‘instruments of gambling’ (e.g.: a deck of poker cards) into the country3. Be careful.

UPDATE 2022: Although, there have been talks since 2016 about authorizing a casino hotel in the capital, which would only be open to foreigners4. It is unlikely that the project will see the light of day prior to 2030, if at all.

The closest thing to gambling is Saudi Arabia are the horse raffles at the country’s two horse racetracks:

  • King Aziz Race Track in Riyadh,
  • King Khaled Race Track in Taif.

 

Horse raffles are legal, despite the fact this is a blatant way to circumvent Sharia laws on gambling (you can find a detailed explanation of how horse raffles work in the Saudi Arabia sports betting section below).

There are also illegal gambling dens and illegally operating bookmakers in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,  most of them are operated by migrants and are visited exclusively by migrant workers and expats. Tourists also sometimes frequent these illegal gambling establishment, many of them erroneously believe that the laws on gambling do not apply to them, which is 100% wrong. E.g.: during a police raid in 2017 17 tourists were arrested and taken to court8.

Online gambling is also illegal.

Internet censorship in the country is reported to be one of the most pervasive in the world (but not as bad as North Korea though).

The sophisticated internet filtering system of the government targets, among other things, anti-religious content, gambling platforms and porn sites. The Communications and Information Technology Commission of the country is responsible for the blocking of gambling websites (every internet user can report gambling websites, which are then blocked)5.

Players, who place bets with foreign online gambling sites in Saudi Arabia are subject to the same punishments as those who partake in illegal land based gambling.

It was reported that the Saudi religious police hired hackers to prosecute owners of Twitter accounts, which were associated with gambling, porn and other moral offences6.

Therefore, we absolutely do not recommend placing bets online from Saudi Arabia, even if you are a tourist (for this reason the usual gambling ads have been removed from the webpage).

Warning: Be very careful, most gambling blogs online claim that Saudi players are not prosecuted for playing on offshore digital gambling platforms. This is absolutely not true.

These online gambling  sites only perpetuate such false information to make money by pushing unscrupulous (often illegally operating) online casinos. Sadly many gullible Saudi Arabian nationals and tourists fall for these kinds of websites, which can have very severe consequences for them (imprisonment, fines, expulsion).

Obviously these gambling blogs know this, and they do it regardless. That is why most of them are owned by offshore shell companies, so that their identity remains hidden and they can not be sued (often the illegally operating online casinos, which advertise on these sites, also own these blogs as well, through shell companies, quite a common practice in the online gambling sector sadly).

Be very careful with any such gambling blog, they are only trying to make a quick buck, and they are not above unethical, or in this case downright illegal means to try to get rich quick (and avoid any gambling companies, which advertise with such gambling blogs, they should not be trusted).

Do not visit gambling websites if you are located in Saudi Arabia and do no try to place bets online, there is a very real chance that you will get into trouble for it.

You can find a list of online gambling websites, which accept players from Saudi Arabia below.

 

Can tourists play online from Saudi Arabia?

Yes, the laws discussed on this webpage only apply to Saudi Arabian citizens, and they do not apply to tourists. Tourists (expats, non-citizens, migrants) can play online freely, while enjoying their stay in Saudi Arabia.

 

Betting on blood sports in Saudi Arabia

All forms of blood sports are officially illegal in Saudi Arabia. Betting on blood sports is also illegal.

 

Saudi Arabia receives a surprisingly high number of visitors, despite the geopolitical climate and its bad reputation in Western Europe and North America (as a result of this bad image not many of the tourists are from North America or Western Europe, most of them are from other Arab countries).

Saudi Arabia gets 20.2 million visitors per year5. Which is significantly above the average for an Arab country, for context: Pakistan, with a population of 227 million people gets less than 1 million visitors per year.

/Comment: Although, in all honesty, many of the travelers are poor migrant workers from India, Nepal and Bangladesh, who are worked to death, often literally, under the kafala system6. Although, some improvements have been made recently./

UPDATE COVID-19: These are pre-coronavirus numbers, the number of visitors has fallen drastically because of the global pandemic. However, the government hasn’t published any official figures since 2019.

If you are thinking about visiting the country watch the video below to get an idea of what to expect:

 

Saudi Arabia gambling licenses

N/A, gambling licenses are not issued in Saudi Arabia.

 

Free advertisement for licensed local lawyers, law firms from this country

Get featured on this website, here, just right under the taxation section. Advertise your services, get a link to your own website, or the law firm's website you work for, on a page that is visited by businessmen, company representatives looking for help with: setting up a gambling business, licensing, setting up a company, help with an existing gambling business, consulting etc....
And all this for free. Click on the drop down section if you are interested and want to get listed.

How to get featured

In order to get the free placement you must have a website (social media profile is not enough). Here is what you have to do:
  • send me a link to your website, or your employer's website
  • send me 1-2 sentences about you and/or your business etc.., something that describes the business, what you do, something that makes potential clients interested
  • send me one single picture of your company's logo, or a picture of your office, or one of your certificates, credentials which you are proud of etc... (but don't send a picture of yourself, for legal reasons I want to avoid uploading pictures of people)

The picture must be 150x150 pixels.
Contact me through the live chat, it's in the bottom right corner of the website, or in the comments section at the bottom of this page, with a link to the website you wish to advertise. If you qualify, I will give you my email address where we can discuss everything (I won't be putting my email address on the page, due to the extreme amount of spam I receive as it is).
In exchange: In order to appear for free on this website, you have to link back to this guide, from your website. It must be your website, your employer's website, a law blog or something similar. The link doesn't have to be in a prominent position, or on the homepage. It can be placed at the bottom of an unimportant page, where people don't see it, that's fine with me. And 1 sentence is enough, something like this: "We are featured on Simon's Gambling and Casino Blog, at <link here>."
That's all, if you are interested, get in touch. Looking forward to hearing from you.

 

Saudi Arabia gambling taxation

N/A, there is no specific gambling tax in Saudi Arabia.

 

For the players, taxation of gambling winnings: N/A, not officially determined.

 

Free advertisement for local accountants, CPAs and accounting firms from this country

Get featured on this website, here, just right under the taxation section. Advertise your services, get a link to your own website, or the accounting firm's website you work for, on a page that is visited by gamblers looking for help with their gambling winnings, and gambling companies looking for consultants and help with their projects.
And all this for free. Click on the drop down section if you are interested and want to get listed.

How to get featured

In order to get the free advertisement you must have a website (social media profile is not enough). Here is what you have to do:
  • send me a link to your website, or your employer's website
  • send me 1-2 sentences about you and/or your business etc.., something that describes the business, what you do, something that makes potential clients interested
  • send me one single picture of your company's logo, or a picture of your office, or one of your certificates, credentials which you are proud of etc... (but don't send a picture of yourself, for legal reasons I want to avoid uploading pictures of people)

The picture must be 150x150 pixels.
Contact me through the live chat, it's in the bottom right corner of the website, or in the comments section at the bottom of this page, with a link to the website you wish to advertise. If you qualify, I will give you my email address where we can discuss everything (I won't be putting my email address on the page, due to the extreme amount of spam I receive as it is).
In exchange: In order to appear for free on this website, you have to link back to this guide, from your website. It must be your website, your employer's website, a law blog or something similar. The link doesn't have to be in a prominent position, or on the homepage. It can be placed at the bottom of an unimportant page, where people don't see it, that's fine with me. And 1 sentence is enough, something like this: "We are featured on Simon's Gambling and Casino Blog, at <link here>."
That's all, if you are interested, get in touch. Looking forward to hearing from you.

 

Gambling age in Saudi Arabia: N/A, no officially set gambling age.

 

Other:

Virtual sports betting and fantasy football are most likely illegal in Saudi Arabia (all forms of gambling are illegal, but it’s not specifically regulated).

Social gambling is also illegal in Saudi Arabia.

Loot boxes, or similar digital gambling like activities with virtual goods are not regulated in Saudi Arabia, at all.

 

Sources, and main pieces of the Saudi Arabian gambling legislation:

1Islam Awareness – Islam Prohibits Gambling

2University of Minnesota, Human Rights Library – 2000 Law of Procedure before Shari’ah Courts

3Blue Abaya – Items Banned from Bringing into Saudi Arabia

4Global Traveler – Saudi Arabia to Build its Own Casino City

5Reporters without Borders – Saudi Arabia: prime centre of content blocking (Archived)

6Religious Police Hires Ethical Hackers to Arrest Promoters of Adult Content on Twitter

5The World Bank – International tourism, number of arrivals – Saudi Arabia

6AlJazeera – Saudi Arabia announces changes to Kafala system

8Gulf Insider – Saudi: 17 expats caught over gambling in Riyadh

 

List of online gambling sites, which accept players from Saudi Arabia

The following online gambling websites accept players from Saudi Arabia:

We do not recommend placing bets online from Saudi Arabia, it is illegal and there is a very real risk of getting into trouble with the authorities. Do no attempt to visit offshore gambling websites if you are located in Saudi Arabia.

 

Summary:

 

Casino gambling in Saudi Arabia

Casinos in Saudi Arabia: illegal, players are prosecuted

Online casino gambling in Saudi Arabia: illegal, players are prosecuted

 

Casinos are illegal in Saudi Arabia. There have never been any casinos in the country.

Although, there have been talks since 2016 about building a casino hotel in the capital, which would only be open to tourists. However, it is unlikely that the project will see the light of day prior to 2030, if at all.

Online casinos are also illegal, players, if caught, face monetary fines and possible prison sentences.

The online casinos below accept players from Saudi Arabia.

Online casinos, which accept players from Saudi Arabia - click to see

The following online casino websites accept players from Saudi Arabia:

 

We do not recommend playing online from Saudi Arabia, it is illegal and there is a very real risk of getting into trouble with the authorities. Do no attempt to visit offshore gambling websites if you are located in Saudi Arabia.

 

Click here for more info on casinos in Saudi Arabia.

 

Bingo in Saudi Arabia

Bingo halls in Saudi Arabia: illegal, players are prosecuted

Online bingo in Saudi Arabia: illegal, players are prosecuted

 

Bingo is illegal in Saudi Arabia.

There are no bingo halls in the country.

Online bingo is also illegal.

The following bingo websites accept players from Saudi Arabia.

Online bingo websites, which accept players from Saudi Arabia - click to see

The following bingo websites have live bingo and accept players from Saudi Arabia:

We do not recommend playing bingo online from Saudi Arabia, it is illegal and there is a very real risk of getting into trouble with the authorities. Do no attempt to visit online bingo websites if you are located in Saudi Arabia.

 

Poker in Saudi Arabia

Poker halls in Saudi Arabia: illegal, players are prosecuted

Online poker in Saudi Arabia: illegal, players are prosecuted

 

Poker is illegal in Saudi Arabia.

Shari’a law does not distinguish between semi-skill games (non-banking poker) and games purely based on luck (slot machines), they are both considered maisir (gambling9 and therefore illegal haram (forbidden for Muslims).

There are no poker clubs in Saudi Arabia.

Online poker is also illegal.

The majority of foreign poker sites are blocked and players, if caught, face legal action.

The following online poker sites accept players from Saudi Arabia.

Online poker networks, which accept players from Saudi Arabia - click to see

The following online casino websites have poker and accept players from Saudi Arabia:

We do not recommend playing poker online from Saudi Arabia, it is illegal and there is a very real risk of getting into trouble with the authorities. Do no attempt to visit online poker websites if you are located in Saudi Arabia.

 

Sports betting in Saudi Arabia

Bookmakers, betting shops in Saudi Arabia: illegal, bettors are prosecuted

Online sports betting in Saudi Arabia: illegal, bettors are prosecuted

 

Sports betting is illegal in Saudi Arabia.

Gambling is not allowed in Saudi Arabia. However you can “bet’ on the horse races at the country’s two racetracks (King Aziz Race Track in Riyadh, King Khaled Race Track in Taif).

You can buy tickets for 5 SR (around € 2) and put them in the hat/box of the horse of your choosing. Should that horse win then you are in the raffle with the other winning tickets, if your ticket is drawn you will wing a huge sum of money.

This is obviously gambling, but the authorities of Saudi Arabia are fine with this, even though this is clearly against the Quran’s ban on gambling.

This is the only legal form of gambling in Saudi Arabia, and it attracts quite a huge crowd.

All other forms of sports betting are banned. There are no legal bookmakers in the country (apart from the two race tracks of course).

Online sports betting is also illegal and it is in no way exempt from the prohibition. The horse raffle is not available online.

The Communications and Information Technology Commission of the country blocks most of the major foreign, online bookmaker sites, and players, if caught, face harsh penalties.

The online sportsbooks below accept punters from Saudi Arabia.

Online bookmakers, which accept bettors from Saudi Arabia - click to see

The following gambling websites have sports betting sections and accept registrations from Saudi Arabia:

We do not recommend placing bets online from Saudi Arabia, it is illegal and there is a very real risk of getting into trouble with the authorities. Do no attempt to visit offshore digital sportsbooks if you are located in Saudi Arabia.

 

Lottery in Saudi Arabia

Lottery in Saudi Arabia: illegal, players are prosecuted

Online lottery in Saudi Arabia: illegal, players are prosecuted

 

Lottery is illegal in Saudi Arabia.

Since all forms of gambling in Saudi Arabia are illegal, there is no state lottery in the country and no other licenced commercial lottery operators either.

Online lottery is also illegal.

Many of the foreign online lottery sites are blocked by the authorities and players, if caught using such platforms, can be subjects to hefty fines or even prison sentences.

The following websites allow people from Saudi Arabia to purchase lottery tickets online.

Online lottery platforms, which accept players from Saudi Arabia - click to see

The following internet lottery sites allow players from Saudi Arabia to purchase lottery tickets online:

We do not recommend purchasing lottery tickets online from Saudi Arabia, it is illegal and there is a very real risk of getting into trouble with the authorities. Do no attempt to visit offshore lottery websites if you are located in Saudi Arabia.

 

Bitcoin gambling in Saudi Arabia

Cryptocurrency wagering in Saudi Arabia: illegal

 

Virtual currencies are not regulated in Saudi Arabia.

/Comment: However, they are not illegal, unlike in some other Muslim countries, unlike in some other Muslim countries, e.g. Egypt’s Dar al-Ifta issued a fatwa (official interpretation of sharia law) banning the usage, selling, mining of bitcoins./

Bitcoin gambling is not specifically regulated as a result. However, it is illegal, because the general ban on games of chance apply to it as well.

The use of bitcoin is not restricted in Saudi Arabia. Despite some interpretation of Islamic teachings, which state that having money, which doesn’t represent value in itself and only used for speculation does not comply with the teachings of Islam, and it falls under usury.

However, in Saudi Arabia digital currencies are perceived as more ‘Shari’a compliant’* for now.

Interesting fact: At one point the controversial Houthi government in the disputed territory of Sana introduced a digital currency, the Digital Riyal*. However, this project only lasted 8 months and it was not officially sanctioned by the government of Saudi Arabia. This further illustrates that cryptocurrencies are seen in as Sharia compliant in the country, unlike in Egypt.

The bitcoin casinos below accept players from Saudi Arabia.

Online casinos, which accept crypto and players from Saudi Arabia - click to see

The following online casino websites accept bitcoin, litecoin and ethereum, and accept players from Saudi Arabia:

We do not recommend placing bets online from Saudi Arabia, it is illegal and there is a very real risk of getting into trouble with the authorities. Do no attempt to visit offshore bitcoin gambling websites if you are located in Saudi Arabia.

Sources:

*Reddit – Bitcoin in Saudi Arabia

**Al Estiklal – Digital Riyal, Houthis Propose Digital Currency

 

If you have questions or any feedback don’t hesitate to drop a comment below. Please let me know in the comments section if you think we might have gotten something wrong or if you have additional information, clarification about the legal status of online gambling in this country.

 

FAQ – frequently asked questions about Saudi Arabia internet gambling platforms

 

FAQ section

The following are some of the frequently asked questions about gambling in Saudi Arabia. Click on the dropdown menu below to see the questions and answers.

Q&A

Is gambling legal in Saudi Arabia?

No, gambling is illegal in Saudi Arabia, it has always been illegal in the country.

Is online gambling legal in Saudi Arabia?

No, online gambling is illegal in Saudi Arabia.

Is online bingo legal in Saudi Arabia?

No, online bingo is illegal in Saudi Arabia.

Is online poker legal in Saudi Arabia?

No, online poker is illegal in Saudi Arabia.

Is online sports betting legal in Saudi Arabia?

No, online sports betting is illegal in Saudi Arabia.

Is online lottery legal in Saudi Arabia?

No, online lottery is illegal in Saudi Arabia.

Is bitcoin wagering legal in Saudi Arabia?

No, it's illegal. Cryptocurrency gambling is not specifically banned in Saudi Arabia, but all forms of gambling are illegal regardless of what type of currency is used.

Can you play online from Saudi Arabia?

No, you can not legally play online from Saudi Arabia, it is illegal. Players are sometimes prosecuted for playing on offshore gambling websites, we do not recommend it.

Can you play bingo over the internet in Saudi Arabia?

No, playing bingo online is illegal in Saudi Arabia.

Can you play poker online from Saudi Arabia?

No, playing poker online is illegal in Saudi Arabia.

Can you bet on sports online from Saudi Arabia?

No, placing bets on sports online is illegal in Saudi Arabia.

Can you purchase lottery tickets online in Saudi Arabia?

No, purchasing lottery tickets online is illegal in Saudi Arabia.

Can you use bitcoin wagering websites in Saudi Arabia?

No, online gambling is illegal in Saudi Arabia.

Are there gambling websites, which accept players from Saudi Arabia?

Some online gambling websites accept players from Saudi Arabia. However, they do so illegally. Saudi Arabian citizens and tourists visiting the country can not paly legally online. Avoid such websites, players can face hefty fines and imprisonment up to 6 months for playing online.

Which internet gambling apps can I use from Saudi Arabia?

None, online gambling is illegal in Saudi Arabia.

Which online bingo sites accept players from Saudi Arabia?

Online bingo is illegal in Saudi Arabia.

Which online poker websites accept players from Saudi Arabia?

Online poker is illegal in Saudi Arabia.

Which online sportsbooks accept bettors from Saudi Arabia?

Online sports betting is illegal in Saudi Arabia (the only exception are horse raffles, details can be found at the Saudi Arabian sports betting section).

Which online lotteries accept registrations from Saudi Arabia?

Online lottery is illegal in Saudi Arabia.

Which internet gambling platforms have a Saudi Arabian licence?

There aren't any digital platforms with Saudi Arabian gambling licences, because gambling licences are not issued in the country.

Which crypto gambling platforms accept players from Saudi Arabia?

Bitcoin wagering is illegal in the Islamic Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

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: 2022-05-12

Gamble responsibly,
SimonTheSorcerer

Thank you for visiting:
This is a selfie of the author and owner of Simon's Casino Gambling Blog, me, Simon András Péter, a.k.a. by the internet pseudonym SimonTheSorcerer, owner of Simon's Online Marketing Kft. This is the homepage of my online casino gambling blog, you can see what's on the website, the links to all the different sections of the website.

That's me, Simon, thank you for visiting.

Don't worry, this is not an ad! ;) Just wanted to make sure to tell you that I'm glad you visited this gambling blog. I'm Simon, the only author and the man behind this blog (if you are interested, my unusual life story can be found on the homepage, under the "About me" dropdown section).
I'm an independent gambling blogger since 2012. In this sector dominated by huge media companies, casino operators and online marketing networks, who can easily spend $ millions on their online gambling blogs, it's not easy for an independent nobody like me to survive. It took me about 6 years, working my ass off, to even have a chance to be noticed by visitors like you. I'm lucky enough that for a few years now, I make enough money to be able to do this full time (before that, I had part-time jobs, ghost writing gigs, online marketing this and that).
Now I can finally do this full time, thanks to visitors like you! And it means a lot! If you are interested, please bookmark this site (no social media profiles, I no longer have any, but please feel free to share anything on any social media networks, if you still use them). I don't have any money to advertise, and if you have a personal blog, any social media profile, please mention my gambling blog and link back to it. This the only way for a small website like this to grow. Thank you!

Logo of Kiva.org. You can read about my non-profit activity right next to the picture.
Charity: As a way to help others, to give back, I sometimes donate to Kiva. If you click on the ads on the website, I make some money. And in a good month, if I make more than my expenses, I donate to people and projects on Kiva.
Kiva helps young entrepreneurs in developing countries, which is an issue close to my heart for obvious reasons. If you have the means, please sign up with the revolutionary non-profit company Kiva.org and help people lift themselves out of poverty, through hard-work, and an initial investment (non-profit loan). These non-profit loans encourage entrepreneurship and hard work instead of creating a dependent class that is afraid to get a job, or start a business (because if they did, they would no longer get support and free money, disincentivezing hard work and entrepreneurship). This is the right way to fight poverty in developing countries (or anywhere else really), and if this is something you are interested in, and if you would like to know more, or to help out, please check out Kiva.org here. Thank you!
By being on this site, you agree to terms and conditions, and privacy policy. You must be at least 18, and if you are a gambling addict, or a citizen of Hungary, please leave the site.
Summary
Simon's Guide to Saudi Arabia Online Gambling Websites
Article Name
Simon's Guide to Saudi Arabia Online Gambling Websites
Description
This guide focuses on the legal status of the various forms of online gambling: bingo, lottery, poker, sports betting and bitcoin wagering in Saudi Arabia. The guide also includes a list of Saudi Arabia licensed gambling websites, which accept players from the country.
Author
Simon's Online Casino Gambling Blog

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.