The prospects of gambling legalisation in Arab countries

The worldwide interest in gambling is increasing considerably by the day. Many countries are beginning to change their perspective on the industry to avoid gambling addiction and loss of profits.

With so many new legal frameworks having been created in the past few years for casino play and sports betting, it’s worth asking whether the Arab countries have any chances of doing the same.

Betting regulations for Arab countries

As opposed to the current state of affairs in other countries, Arab people forbid gambling for religious purposes. Since regulations were established based on religious beliefs, there is more to this prohibition than just seeing gambling as a vice. In the Quran, games of chance are described as a grave sin and are named “abominations of Satan’s handiwork.” It is challenging to change the legal framework of something considered to be haram. Thus, casual gambling will most likely lead to legal consequences

Are there any clues of imminent change?

Currently, there are four Arab countries where casino play is permitted to attract tourists: Morocco, Egypt, Tunisia, and Lebanon. However, it’s no surprise that such establishments attract not only tourists: locals can also take part in games of chance if they have dual citizenship, and many of the wealthy ones do so.

Sharia law is applied differently in most countries, including:

In Morocco, many gambling activities were legalised in 1930. It is an exception among Muslim countries, as it permits tourists and locals to engage in such activities. While online casinos remain illegal, residents can still register on offshore websites and place their bets. This topic remains up to debate, as it requires extensive legal knowledge. Thus, there are no clear rules regarding online casino play, but it’s clear that numerous Moroccans engage in it. On the other hand, online sports betting is legal, with a few exceptions.

The Casino du Liban offers citizens of Lebanon the chance to gamble legally. However, people can still access online casinos and sports betting platforms under certain conditions. According to the country’s law, only unauthorized types of gambling are forbidden. Therefore, as long as the state controls it, any gambling activity can be accessible to locals.

Things aren’t as optimistic in Egypt, but they’re still somewhat better than in other Arab countries. Land-based gambling is allowed under specific rules, while remote betting is illegal. There are over 20 land-based casinos on the country’s territory, but locals can’t access them. For them, this activity is still prohibited, as these establishments are only meant to attract tourists.

Like in Egypt, most gambling activities are illegal for residents but accessible to tourists. More specifically, you need a foreign passport to be able to gain access to Tunisian gambling establishments. To encourage this, players can only use foreign currencies during gameplay. However, as opposed to the laws in Egypt, Tunisia doesn’t expressly prohibit online casinos. Since this area remains unregulated, many residents register on offshore gambling websites.

Are there alternatives for Arab gamblers?

They are not explicitly following the law. Most Arab gamblers choose to remain in a grey area by betting their money at offshore online casinos, which are not regulated in several Muslim countries. Even so, this also takes place where online gambling is illegal. Since playing on foreign sites can fall under the incidence of one or more distinct jurisdictions, the activity is challenging to classify from a legal standpoint, especially if it involves international law.

Those who care about safety, though, don’t access the first online casinos they can find:

  • Several independent audit companies compile lists of reliable online casinos that provide gambling services, and they’re relatively easy to find
  • Such companies review the platforms thoroughly before recommending them, analyzing the most critical aspects of an online casino
  • These aspects include software quality, payment method reliability, game accuracy, loading time, and more
  • While no gambling authorities are established in any Arab country, several have gained a good reputation globally. One of them is the UKGC
  • As long as the casino where you register as a well-reputed licence, you can keep your funds and data safe.

Small steps are being taken among the Arab countries toward gambling legalisation, but they don’t have much force against the Islamic Sharia law. Until one of the countries discussed permits gambling activities thoroughly, there isn’t any example of a religious State that the Arab countries can follow.


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