Arabic Gambling Laws by Country
One of the most important resources we provide is our guide to Arabic gambling laws by country. The information on this page is designed to help you bet safely from the Middle East by alerting you to the laws that govern both online and offline gambling in each of the countries in the region. With our country guides to gambling laws, you’ll not only learn exactly what is legal and what isn’t, but also find out how to place bets safely and how to effectively make deposits and withdrawals. With this information and our list of recommended online casinos, it’s easy for you to gamble online safely and with confidence.
- Get the best information about Middle East gambling laws.
- Read our dedicated gambling guide for players.
- Learn how to safely and easily gamble online.
An Overview of Gambling in the Middle East
While Arabic gambling laws vary by country, there are few countries were gambling is legal in the region. For the most part, casinos, sports betting, and online gambling are illegal throughout the Middle East. Even where gambling is available, it is often heavily restricted or available only for foreign visitors, with locals prohibited from joining in on the fun.
The realities of gambling at brick-and-mortar casinos in the Middle East are different than those that face gamblers who want to place bets online, however. The following is a brief overview of the legal situation for both online and offline betting in Arabic nations.
Quite simply put, there are few places in the Middle East where you will be able to gamble legally. Much of this is due to the fact that many countries in the region recognise Islam as the official religion, and adherence to that faith leads to a ban on most or all forms of gaming.
But that doesn’t mean that the Middle East is a gambling-free zone. There are exceptions to the above rules: nations like Lebanon and Morocco do host casinos, while others – such as Egypt – have casinos that are available to foreign visitors, even if their own citizens are not allowed to gamble in them.
Even some nations that seem to have a complete ban on gambling sometimes manage to have a few exceptions that skirt the line on what truly counts as “betting.” Lotteries are tolerated in some nations, provided that they support worthy causes. In Saudi Arabia, you might win a prize if you correctly predict the winner of a horse race and your name is chosen in a raffle. And some duty free shops at airports in the region offer raffles with prizes worth as much as a million dollars in cash.
Of course, as with any banned activity, there are those who have set up illegal betting operations in almost every country in the Middle East. While these may seem like a tempting way to skirt around local gambling laws, we strongly recommend avoiding these establishments. Not only is there no regulation or oversight to ensure you will be treated fairly, but you could find yourself on the wrong side of the law if an illegal operation is raided while you’re placing your bets.
While legalised online betting is rare in the Middle East, there are some countries that allow online gambling, at least in some limited forms. In the countries with the most liberalised gaming laws in general – Lebanon and Morocco – there are government-approved sites for lottery sales and (in the case of Lebanon) even sports betting.
However, these are notable exceptions to the overall situation in Arabic countries. For the most part, not only is there no online betting allowed throughout the Middle East, but most countries have shown little or no interest in even considering it in the future. That’s understandable when you consider that land-based gambling is also entirely illegal in the majority of the region.
That said, these laws have never stopped people in the Middle East from safely placing their bets at foreign betting sites. While most governments in the region would prefer their citizens not to do so, the steps they take to prevent people from accessing overseas online casinos vary and are usually mild: only some governments actively block gambling sites, and even fewer make any attempt to prosecute players who are caught betting over the internet.
Even with the strictest measures, however, many players safely enjoy online gambling sites every day. They do so through the use of measures such as VPNs and secure banking systems, which allow them to maintain their anonymity while accessing casinos and sports betting sites. Much of the information you’ll find on this page is designed to help you learn how you can begin safely and confidently playing at our recommended Arabic betting sites.
• Online Betting: No forms of online betting are legalised in Algeria. However, prosecution of players for playing at foreign websites is rare.
• Offline Betting: There are some lotteries offered in Algeria. Illegal sports betting likely takes place at hippodromes, which host horse races throughout the country.
• Types of Legal Gambling: There are legal lotteries that benefit Algerian sports organisations. Other forms of gambling are prohibited by law.
• Regulatory Bodies: The Pari Sportif Algerien is the organisation that is tasked with operating the national lottery in Algeria.
• Online Betting: No forms of online gambling are legal or regulated in Bahrain, though many foreign sites accept players from the country.
• Offline Betting: There are no forms of gambling currently offered at land-based venues in Bahrain.
• Types of Legal Gambling: While lotteries were once legal in Bahrain, there are currently no legal options for gambling in the country.
• Regulatory Bodies: With no regulated betting, there are no regulatory bodies overseeing gambling in Bahrain.
• Online Betting: Online betting is unregulated in Egypt, with many foreign operators accepting Egyptian players on their sites.
• Offline Betting: There are many licensed casinos in Egypt, though only foreign passport holders are allowed to enter these venues. However, Intralot does offer sports betting through the Egyptian National Post Organization, which is available to locals.
• Types of Legal Gambling: Sports betting and lotteries are fully legal, while casino gambling is legal for foreigners.
• Regulatory Bodies: The Lottery Coalition operates lotteries in Egypt, while the Egyptian Tourism Authority oversees casino gambling.
• Online Betting: Online betting is illegal in Iran, and many foreign gambling websites are blocked.
• Offline Betting: There are no forms of land-based gaming available in Iran.
• Types of Legal Gambling: All forms of gambling are outlawed in Iran.
• Regulatory Bodies: There is no regulation of gambling in Iran.
• Online Betting: There are no online betting sites based in Jordan, but players are not blocked from accessing foreign gambling sites.
• Offline Betting: While casino gaming has been considered in the past, there are no offline betting facilities currently operating in Jordan.
• Types of Legal Gambling: At the present time, all forms of gambling are illegal in Jordan.
• Regulatory Bodies: There is no regulation of gambling in Jordan.
• Online Betting: There is no online betting available in Kuwait, and players who participate on foreign sites can be prosecuted for doing so.
• Offline Betting: There are no forms of brick-and-mortar betting available in Kuwait.
• Types of Legal Gambling: All forms of gambling are considered illegal in Kuwait.
• Regulatory Bodies: There is currently no regulation of gambling in Kuwait.
• Online Betting: Legal online betting is limited to an officially licensed site, while the Lebanese government attempts to block access to foreign betting sites.
• Offline Betting: The Casino du Liban is the only venue allowed to offer gambling legally in Lebanon.
• Types of Legal Gambling: Along with casino gambling at the Casino du Liban, a national lottery and a regulated online sports betting site are also legal.
• Regulatory Bodies: The Lebanese government regulates gambling through monopolies, allowing only the Casino Du Liban to offer land-based gambling, while La Libanaise des Jeux is the only company permitted to offer betting online.
• Online Betting: Online betting is not legal in Libya, with the government banning online gambling sites.
• Offline Betting: There are no land-based betting facilities available in Libya.
• Types of Legal Gambling: All forms of gambling are considered illegal in Libya.
• Regulatory Bodies: There is no regulation of gambling in Libya.
• Online Betting: Online lottery tickets are legally available for purchase in Morocco. Players can also access online gambling sites in foreign countries.
• Offline Betting: Several brick-and-mortar casinos are in operation in Morocco. In addition, lotteries and sports betting are available in the country.
• Types of Legal Gambling: Almost all types of gambling are legal in Morocco, including casino gambling, sports betting, and lotteries, both online and offline.
• Regulatory Bodies: Online gambling is not regulated in Morocco. The national lottery is run by Loterie Nationale.
• Online Betting: There are no forms of online gambling offered in Oman, and the government attempts to block gambling-related content, though many foreign sites are still available.
• Offline Betting: There are no brick-and-mortar gambling establishments available in Oman.
• Types of Legal Gambling: There are no forms of legal gambling offered in Oman.
• Regulatory Bodies: There is no regulation of gambling in Oman.
• Online Betting: Online gambling is considered illegal in Qatar, though many foreign sites accept players from the country.
• Offline Betting: Qatar does not allow for any form of land-based gambling in the country.
• Types of Legal Gambling: There is virtually no legal gambling in Qatar, though Qatar Duty Free does run several raffles that work similarly to lotteries.
• Regulatory Bodies: With no legal gambling, there are no regulatory bodies overseeing betting in Qatar.
• Online Betting: There are no legal forms of online betting in Saudi Arabia, and the government attempts to block foreign gambling sites, though some do accept Saudi players.
• Offline Betting: There is virtually no legal land-based betting in Saudi Arabia, though prizes can be won by predicting winners at some horse racing tracks in the country.
• Types of Legal Gambling: Strictly speaking, there is no legal gambling available in Saudi Arabia, though some would consider the horse racing raffles to be betting.
• Regulatory Bodies: There is no regulation of gambling in Saudi Arabia.
• Online Betting: All online gambling is considered illegal in Tunisia, though many foreign sites accept players from the country, and the government does not block access to betting sites.
• Offline Betting: There are four land-based casinos in Tunisia, though only foreigners are allowed to play at them. Some limited sports betting is available through Promosport.
• Types of Legal Gambling: Casinos are legal for foreign visitors, and some limited sports betting and lottery games are also tolerated.
• Regulatory Bodies: Sports betting through Promosport is regulated by the Ministry of Youth, Sports, and Physical Education.
• Online Betting: All forms of online betting are considered illegal in UAE, and the government has prosecuted players for betting online in the past, so discretion is a must.
• Offline Betting: There are no offline betting facilities available in the United Arab Emirates.
• Types of Legal Gambling: There are no legal forms of gambling allowed in UAE, though Dubai Duty Free shops do sell a variety of raffle tickets at airports.
• Regulatory Bodies: Gambling is not legal in UAE, and as such, there are no regulatory bodies overseeing the industry here.
• Online Betting: Online betting is considered illegal in Yemen, and many foreign sites are blocked in the country.
• Offline Betting: There are no brick-and-mortar betting facilities in Yemen.
• Types of Legal Gambling: All forms of gambling are considered illegal in Yemen.
• Regulatory Bodies: Because of the total ban, there are no regulatory bodies overseeing gambling in Yemen.
Why You Should Bet Online
Given that there are virtually no safe ways to gamble offline in the Middle East, the best and safest option for most Arabic players is playing at online casinos. Many illegal options for land-based gambling in the Middle East are dangerous, and even the limited legal options can’t offer the odds and convenience that players get when they play online.
In contrast, there are many trusted, safe online casinos and bookmakers based in overseas nations where they are subjected to strict regulations. This ensures that these gambling sites offer fair, secure games to Middle Eastern players. These online casinos also offer a number of security methods that will help you play discretely and anonymously, including encrypted payment methods. They also employ dedicated customer support teams that are available 24/7 to help you solve any problems that you might encounter while you play.
How to Be Secure When You Gamble
By sticking to our list of recommended gambling sites, you should have no trouble being safe while you enjoy your online gambling. However, it’s still important to follow some tips to ensure that you will be able to gamble discretely and work around any legal issues that may exist in your country.
The following methods are two of the most important steps you can take to maintain your safety while you gamble online. By following the advice found here, you’ll be able to focus on your play rather than worrying about your privacy or safety when playing at online casinos.
Using a VPN – a virtual private network – is a critical step for those who want to gamble discretely in countries where gambling is illegal. A VPN allows you to mask the location from which you are playing, making it impossible to trace your online gambling or other internet activities to your device.
Simply put, a VPN allows your computer or mobile device to connect to a remote network securely. All of the traffic to and from your device will appear to be coming from the other network, which could be located elsewhere in your country or anywhere else around the world.
There are many ways to set up a VPN, but the easiest way is to use one of the many popular and trusted VPN services available online. These vary in pricing, with some offering limited service for free, though almost all offer more options and faster service if you are willing to pay for it. Some of the most popular VPN protocols include CyberGhost, NordVPN, and PrivateVPN, though there are dozens more to choose from.
Once you’ve signed up for a VPN service, you’ll download the client on to your computer or mobile device. Once you’ve logged into that program, you will be able to choose from a number of different servers from around the world that you can use to connect to your casino of choice. The location of the casino you are playing at and your country may determine what server you’ll want to use for your VPN.
While connected to a VPN, you’ll notice that other websites believe that you are connecting from the location of the network, rather than your actual physical location. This ensures that nobody will be able to trace where your activities are actually coming from. Once you are done playing at the online casino and you no longer wish to disguise the source of your traffic, simply disconnect from the VPN, and your browsing will return to normal.
The fact that online gambling is illegal in most Middle Eastern countries does create some obstacles when it comes to making deposits and withdrawals. But while that means that you won’t be able to simply transfer money from a local bank account to an online casino, there are still safe and easy ways to get money to and from internet gambling sites.
The easiest way to handle your banking at online casinos is through a trusted e-wallet system. These services allow you to create a wallet where you can store funds online. That allows you to use this wallet as an intermediary between your bank and the gambling sites. These e-wallets encrypt your personal information and provide a level of privacy: your bank will only see money going to and from the wallet, with no indication that you are using those funds for online gambling.
There are a number of reliable and trusted e-wallets that are both available to players throughout the Middle East and are widely accepted at our recommended betting sites. The most popular of these e-wallets are Skrill and Neteller, both of which are accepted at most online casinos and bookmakers.
Another great option is Bitcoin. This cryptocurrency can be used in the same way as an e-wallet, and can be used for both deposits and withdrawals at a great number of online casinos in the Middle East. In order to use Bitcoin as a banking method, you’ll need to sign up for a wallet at a cryptocurrency exchange sites such as Coinbase, and then purchase some digital currency. Once your wallet is set up, you can quickly process deposits and withdrawals with the anonymity that comes with Bitcoin transactions.
Play Safely at Our Recommended Sites
Now that you have a better understanding of Middle Eastern gambling laws, you might feel ready to start playing at an online casino. However, if you’d like more detailed information on the legal situation in your nation, you can check out our dedicated guides on Arabic gambling laws by country. If you’d rather jump right in and start playing now, you can choose from our recommended top sites.