Sports Betting in Oman
The internet has many articles about sports betting in Oman that seem to be written by authors not familiar with our country. They lead readers to believe dhow racing, horse racing, camel racing, bull fighting and falconry are our most popular sports. While those are our significant traditional sports, many other sports are present here. The majority of them are on the rise. Cricket is our fastest growing sport. In July 2015, our national team obtained 4-years of guaranteed T20l status and qualified for the 2016 T20 World Cup! Beach handball is another sport we are great at. In the past 5 Asian Beach Handball Championships we finished 1st, no medal, runner-up, runner-up, and runner-up. For football, our refs and clubs have had some issues with organizers, but it is still very popular and competitive. It uses four import players per team and has many great ones from Brazil.
Popular Sports in Oman
Speaking on football, our national team’s goalkeeper Ali Al-Habsi is to many the heart of our nation. He spent 8 years in the English Premier League (EPL), the final 3 of them as a starter, before signing to play with Reading F.C. of the United Kingdom’s Football League Championship for the 2015 season.
There are many other sports here too. The European PGA (golf) added Oman as a stop on the Challenger Tour in 2013, and in 2015 it became the tour’s grand finale. The Tour of Oman (cycling) draws international attention. In April 2015, Oman Fighting Championship (OFC) sanctioned by the World Kickboxing Federation was launched. Junior ITF tennis tournaments are now regularly scheduled here. Meanwhile, on the professional level, women’s tennis player Fatma Al Nabhani has become the biggest female sports star our country has ever had. We have a basketball league that has been sponsored by the likes of Samsung and Pepsi too.
As I just covered there is much to be excited about in the world of Oman sports, but if making a list… domestic betting opportunities wouldn’t make the cut. As an Islamic country, Oman gambling law has sports betting as a crime punishable by 1-3 years in prison. Those looking to bet despite the law are advised to do so online. That can be a bit lonely because it is not wise to discuss betting here with others. It is however rather easy to do, and when done correctly… the chances of being caught are small. This is what I discuss in this article.
Oman Online Bookies
When betting online from Oman it is best to look for websites located outside of our country. Though local bookies deal in Omani rial (OMR) and settle in person, these are risky. If a bookie is busted by authorities, there is a considerable chance his clients will be next. Plus, there is no guarantee the bookie will pay when you win, and where can you turn for help if that is the case? There are sites located abroad where gambling is legal and regulated that we can use. The list below are some of the most popular.
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Because foreign bookies don’t offer OMR currency, it is best to open your accounts in US dollar (USD). Our rial is pegged to it, 1 OMR = 2.6008 dollars. This means no volatility in exchange rates when using dollar. Understand an account balance is required to place bets. If you have US$100 in your account and bet US$40 on a match, your balance right away becomes US$60. If that bet wins the US$40 stake is returned, and the winnings from that bet are added too. You can take money out of your betting account at any time, but of course to get started you need to make a deposit.
The banking options for deposit and withdrawal to betting websites are many. Most accept credit card, debit card, wire transfers, and paper cheque. It is however advisable to use e-wallets. www.neteller.com is a UK e-wallet similar to PayPal that is gambling friendly. It can be funded with Cashu which has top up locations as well as e-cards sold in person in Muscat. See their website for details.
NETELLER can also be funded with bank wire, credit card, debit card and bitcoin. Another similar service is EntroPay.com. This website sells UK issued prepaid VISA cards. You get the card for free just for signing up, and then can load money on to it using an Omani debit or credit card. Using intermediaries such as these keeps gambling related transactions off bank statements.
Using a VPN
E-wallets such as NETELLER and EntroPay are a great way to avoid detection from the banks. To avoid detection at the internet level a Virtual Private Network (VPN) can be used. This routes internet traffic through a foreign server. It makes it almost impossible for anyone including the government and your internet service provider to know what type of websites you are visiting. These are very easy to set up and the companies offering them have full instructions.
The challenge in recommending a VPN service is that our ISPs are required to block access to websites that are pornographic, promote homosexuality, are critical to Islam, promote illegal drugs, or help circumvent ISP blocks. Some VPN sites themselves are blocked. If I listed which ones work, chances are they would become blocked. To find one try searching “Best VPN for Oman” with the current month and year added at google.com.om.
Betting on Omani Sports
The list of bookies I gave earlier are all reputable brands licensed in countries such as the United Kingdom where betting is legal. It is very easy for residents of Oman to use these sites. The good news is their betting coverage is global. In addition to all major leagues from around the world, you can also bet on many local sports. A breakdown of this is as follows.
For many years foreign online betting sites have offered odds on Oman Professional League (دوري المحترفين عمان) now known as the Omantel Professional League, or Oman Mobile League for sponsorship reasons. The 2015 season was however filled with a lot of controversy with referees refusing to officiate the opener over a holdout and teams boycotting some matches too. Though it seems to have mostly been worked out, this chaos did see the number of bookies offering odds decrease.
Chances are all will be restored soon. The Professional League is very popular with fans and is also competitive. Teams are allowed three imports, plus an AFC import. All four imports can be on the field at the same time. While elsewhere leagues are filled with players from Nigeria, here it is much more diverse. Most seasons around half of the imports come from Brazil. Right now www.10bet.com is one of the best sites for betting Omani football, but odds can be found elsewhere. If internal matters are finally resolved, chances are all bookies on this page will have odds.
Of course it is also possible to bet leagues from all over the world. As many of our imports are from Brazil, which is a top football nation, there is a lot of interest in their leagues. English football is #1 because it is well-televised and is where local hero Ali Al-Habsi plays. We can bet on him when he is wearing a local uniform too. All betting sites offer odds on matches involving our national team in Friendly, Gulf Cup, Asian Cup, and World Cup qualifier matches.
The popularity of cricket has exploded in Oman. While nearly 71% of our population is Omani, another 24% comes from the India-subcontinent where cricket is by far the most followed sport. Our cricket national team is primarily comprised of naturalized Omani citizens who were born in India or Pakistan. In July 2015 they qualified for 4-years of T20l status and for the 2016 T20 World Cup! This has made it popular nationwide and more Arabs are now taking up the game.
Betting on Tennis
In our region tennis is a rapidly developing sport. Regularly scheduled ITF junior tournaments came to our country only a few years ago and we’ve already had decent success on the women’s side of pro tennis. Omani player Fatma Al Nabhani was the first player from a Gulf Country to break the top 450 in world rankings. She has ranked as high as 362 in singles and 238 in doubles and has won four singles and four double ITF titles. Unfortunately on men’s side we have not had the same success. Our most recent members of the Omani Davis Cup teams have losing records on the current ITF tour with only limited experience.
Still tennis is only really just getting started here. With strong ITF junior tournaments introducing the sport to our youth, it is likely there will be an additional Omani tennis player ranked in the future. For now whether it is backing Fatma or any other players, tennis is an excellent sport to bet online, especially thanks to the in-play betting opportunities. It is possible to bet specific sets and match winner, over and under for both, who will win the next point, correct score of set, correct score of the match, and so much more. As it is an international sport, at almost all hours of the day there are opportunities to bet both men’s and women’s tennis online.
Professional basketball in on the rise in Oman. Our Men’s national team has been mostly non-existent on the international scale without much success to speak of. However, our country is taking the sport seriously. Serbian basketball specialist Filip-Luetic Neven was hired to coach our national team, and played a big part in helping the Oman Basketball Association (OBA) promote the sport to youth. The OBA League is a professional one using the same clubs found in other Omani sports. While that is the top-level, it is a second OBA sanctioned league that has shown the most potential to attract sponsors.
This second league essentially kicked off in 2009, and for the 2010-2011 season was sponsored by Samsung as the Samsung Basketball League. This is where the current competition that since the 2011-2012 season is known as OCCI-CBC came from. That name stands for Oman Chamber of Commerce & Industry Companies Basketball Competition. The Companies part of the name is key. All teams are named after a sponsoring company. It is a competitive league that uses import players mostly from the West. There are some Europeans and Filipinos in the league, but most imports are former NCAA college basketball division 1 players from the United States playing with local Omani players.
Late 2015 marks the sixth installment of the OCCI-CBC Championship tournament. Daleel Petroleum is the main sponsor who also has a team named after them. Pepsi is a core support sponsor who likewise has a team, while Japanese sports drink Pocari Sweat is a support sponsor without a team. The other 4 teams are WAB Enterprises, Oman Cement Company (OCC), Shams Al-Tafani, and Sultan Center. Though international bookies haven’t offered much betting on Oman domestic basketball to date, with all the sports developing here, Oman is on the map. The OCCI-CBC is the Omani basketball league most likely to get their attention. Though not as prestigious, so much of the marketing mimics PBA basketball from the Philippines, which is massively successful.
Betting on Golf
The Challenge Tour is the second tier of men’s professional golf operated by the PGA European Tour. In 2013 our course Almouj Golf, The Wave in Muscat was added as a tour stop. In 2015 this was chosen to become the season finale. This is a beautiful 72-hole championship course that has potential to host championships for any tour. It also has a PGA academy for local students interested in learning the game. This exposure has already increased the popularity of golf in our country and this is likely to continue. All betting sites listed earlier on this page have plenty of opportunities for betting this championship and all others that are part of sanctioned professional golf.
In most places of the world handball refers to the indoor version. This is played in Oman but many are not familiar with it. Our men’s national team had previously only qualified for the Asian Championship a single time in 2004 and finished ninth. In 2014 we qualified for our second time in history and managed to reach the quarter-finals finishing in eight. When our national team does play, odds can be found online. The reason many are not familiar with this version is because handball in Oman most often refers to beach handball.
Our country has been the host for 3 of the past 5 Men’s Asian Beach Handball Championships. In those we were champions in 2004, didn’t medal in 2007, and then finished runner up in the past 3 installments in 2011, 2013 and 2015. We lost to Qatar in each of those, failing to prevent them from becoming back-to-back-to-back champions. So while perhaps we’re not as good as Qatar, we’re one of the best men’s beach handball teams in the region. While near impossible to find Omani league handball matches for online betting, we can bet our clubs in Asian Champions League, and our national team in various competitions. As this is not a popular bet sport globally it takes some shopping around to find odds.
Matches from Oman Volleyball league are often televised locally, and our clubs also participate in the GCC tournament. On the club-level we have not yet attracted international attention. It is very rare an online bookie will take interest in offering odds on our domestic competition. For our national teams it is however different. It is very often that www.1xbet.com and sometimes even 10bet have odds on matches our national teams play in, including even our under-18 teams. If a site is covering volleyball from here, it is their site doing so.
Tour of Oman
The Tour of Oman is a 2.HC cycling race that has been held here annually since 2010 as part of the UCI Asia Tour. The competitors are of course not locals, but it is a good opportunity to watch a sporting event in person that can be bet online. As the majority of cyclers are European there are betting odds offered by many global online betting sites. Searching around, you shouldn’t have any trouble finding odds.
This article merely touched on some of the sports that can be bet online from Oman. We also compete in beach soccer (beach football), and various boat races. We have championship bred horses that compete here and in other places where betting is allowed. Some in our country also follow sports from around the globe. No matter if betting any I discussed in this article, or others such as Formula 1, hockey, baseball, rugby, UFC, boxing, etc. these can all bet at the bookies listed earlier on this page. Again, all of those sites are reputable, and are licensed and regulated from a location where sports betting is legal.
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