Gambling in Yemen
Gambling is not popular in Yemen. There are no casinos in Sana’a, Ta’izz, Al Hudaydah, Aden or any of our other cities. There is nothing in our penal code to make opening one a crime, but it would never be tolerated. We are an Islamic country with most residents following the Sunnah on this issue. Some gambling does take place in private and the risk of any penalty is minor. Some potential for penalty does exist. In cases where our penal code is silent on a matter, Islamic law (sharia) can be used. Though no one would go to prison, or be fined, being lashed is a potential penalty. Again, this is rare. In other Arab countries online casinos and online poker are somewhat popular. This is true even in ones that are very strict. There are many Saudis that gamble online at sites like Spin Palace, 888 and Cloudbet. They use UK based e-wallets such as NETELLER, Paysafecard and Skrill to deposit and get paid. That is not possible from Yemen. Cloudbet and most other UK gambling websites do not service our country. Neither do the popular e-wallets NETELLER and Skrill. For those adamant about finding a way to play casino online from Yemen, it can still be done. I discuss how in this article.
Bitcoin Online Casinos
Bitcoin (BTC) is a unique currency, you can learn about at www.bitcoin.org. I discuss it more in this article. First, for readers who already understand what bitcoins are, there are many great options for playing casino games online using this currency. The websites below operate exclusively in bitcoin. This means deposits, account balances, bets, and payouts are all bitcoin (BTC) currency. These are all highly recommended and accept residents of our country.
Best Bitcoin Casino for Yemenis
If the websites above don’t work you will need to use a proxy services or VPN to access them. The reason for blocking is because our Ministry of Information instructs our ISPs YemenNet and TeleYemen to restrict access to gambling material. This is done manually. If you click each link, chances are at least one is unblocked. If not, you can do an internet search to learn about VPN and proxy services for getting around the blocks.
How Online Casinos Work
At online casinos you can only gamble using your account balance. This starts with making an initial deposit. Each bet you win causes your balance to increase. Each bet you lose causes your balance to decrease. At any time you can withdraw money out of your casino account. The websites I listed pay very fast. Withdrawals will reach your bitcoin wallet in minutes. Of course, using Yemeni rial (YER) to obtain bitcoin and converting bitcoin back to rial takes some effort. I conclude this article by explaining that as well as how bitcoin works.
As I already mentioned bitcoin is a unique currency which you can learn about at www.bitcoin.org. That website is available in English, Arabic and many other languages. To comment here quickly this is a cypto-currency that is primarily used online. It holds an exchange rate against all major currencies, yet operates without a central bank.
Bitcoin is very much like cash (paper money) in that whoever controls it owns it. However, as it is not cash there is a system in place that prevents people from creating fake bitcoins. The system that accomplishes this is highly robust and is the heart of how the technology works.
On the technological level a bitcoin transaction is a complex math problem. A network of computers operated by what the industry calls miners work to solve the math. Their doing so is what verifies transactions. They collect optional fees and can win rewards. The system is set up in such a way that everything can only go forward when all miners agree on a public ledger called the blockchain.
If someone tries to fake a transaction, the network of miners will see the math doesn’t work out. On a simplified level, this is because there are hundreds of other bitcoin transactions connected to the same math. It takes the computing power of all miners combined about 15 minutes for just one of them to solve the math associated with transactions. It is competitive as being the first to solve is how they earn profit for their role in the system.
In order to fake a transaction successfully, it would take the fraudster beating all other computers in solving complex math several times in a row. The odds of doing this equate to winning the lottery multiple times. It is not possible. Therefore a fake transaction only hangs up the system for a brief moment. The network soon moves on ignoring that transaction as it has been proven fake.
As a user, all you really need to know is that bitcoins are always associated with a bitcoin address. If you control that address you own the bitcoins. The ledger called the blockchain keeps track of the balances of every bitcoin address and of transfers made from one address to another. That information is all public but who each address belongs to is not.
You can create an online wallet for free that will manage your bitcoin addresses. You can generate new addresses at the click of a button. To send someone bitcoin you go to your wallet, click send, and enter the bitcoin address you are sending to. To get paid bitcoin you give the person or company an address you can find or generate in your wallet. The first step to getting started is setting up a bitcoin wallet.
Which Bitcoin Wallet?
The bitcoin wallet I personally use and recommend is MyWallet by Blockchain. It supports many languages but unfortunately Arabic is not one of them. Others available are listed on the Finding Your Wallet Page of bitcoin.org. Though the traffic is limited, it is also possible to ask for advice in Arabic, to see what wallet others are using. I personally use MyWallet because blockchain is extremely trusted by the bitcoin community. Remember bitcoin is like cash. Hacking is a big issue so you need to make sure the wallet you use has good security and is trustworthy.
In Yemen the options to buy bitcoin are somewhat limited. One of the easiest ways is to buy them from a private individual in exchange for Cashu. This is a service you can learn about at cashu.com. If you go to their top up page you can find locations for buying cashu in person using rial. Most of the merchants selling them in Yemen are located in Sana’a. If you live there, this method is easy. If you live in another city you’ll need to navigate some more.
Once you have Cashu you can check the exchange named Local Bitcoin for BTC for Cashu listings. These are private sellers but you can see their feedback ratings and Local Bitcoin helps facilitate the transactions. The biggest issue is the price. This is set by the seller. You will want to look at another website such as coindesk.com to see what the actual price of bitcoins in USD is now. You can then do the YER/USD conversion math and decide if the markup being charged by the private seller is too much or not. If it is, you can create a profile on Local Bitcoin offering to buy bitcoin for Cashu, and wait it out. This will allow you to purchase them for less than the fair value, but it takes longer to purchase them.
There are other payment methods that can be used to purchase bitcoins on the same exchange. For example Bitcoin for Webmoney and Bitcoin for PerfectMoney are two options that most often have less markup than Cashu. It is not impossible to obtain WebMoney and PerfectMoney in Yemen. Just Cashu there are retail merchants. With the other two you’ll need to search the web to find an exchanger.
Buying bitcoin in Yemen is challenging, but can be worked out. Changing bitcoin you own to Yemeni rial (YER) you have in your hand or in your bank account takes a little more effort. At localbitcoin.com there are plenty of listings for people who will buy bitcoin in exchange for Cashu, PefectMoney and Webmoney. The price offered is often low, but you can convert from bitcoin to regular currency via these methods quickly. Once you have done so, there are many ways to convert Cashu back to rial (see their website). You can also find WebMoney and PefectMoney services that offer prepaid debit cards. Once funded these can be used to take cash out at a local ATM.
If you want the most from your bitcoin the best way is to start a profile at Localbitcoin.com as a seller and wait it out. Though you might not get any buyers, you can list an offer to sell bitcoin in Yemen for rial paid in person. If there are buyers out there, you will likely get well over the fair value. More realistic, is listing to sell your bitcoin for Cashu, WebMoney, and PefectMoney. That then works the same as I wrote about in the previous paragraph. The difference is that by being the seller (rather than taking existing offers posted) you can get more for your bitcoin. The disadvantage is you’ll need to wait until someone shows up wanting to purchase them.