Qatar is a small peninsular country that is surrounded by the Persian Gulf and shares its sole land border with Saudi Arabia to the south. Giving a clear description of the gambling environment in Qatar is exceptionally easy as a ban is introduced on all gambling activities one might think of. Thus, if you are currently on the lookout for a land-based or online casino or a sportsbook in Qatar, you will certainly be disappointed as such are unavailable.
Even though some would say that Qatar has what it takes to turn into a gambling hotspot, engaging in all forms of gambling is against the law because Islam is the official religion in the country. There are no signs that authorities will change their stance on this important matter and will allow Qataris to freely engage in gambling activities.
Best Casinos in Qatar
It is important to note that there are no legal online casinos where Qataris can place real-money bets on slots, table games, or jackpot games, for example. As it turns out, offshore casinos also conform with the prohibition on gambling activities in the country and do not accept betting action from that territory. Since the demand for such activities is not really met, it is only natural that some people will look for ways to gamble anyway.
Even if some residents of the country choose to play at overseas casinos that operate illegally in the country, they should not forget that this might incur risks to their personal information or funds. Not to mention the penalties law carries for participation in illegal gambling.
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Best Casino Bonuses in Qatar
Considering that the number of overseas operators that overlook the ban on gambling activities in Qatar is exceptionally limited, players should not expect to see such a great diversity of bonus deals as is the case with legally operating online casinos.
As Qataris cannot bet legally over the Internet, some of them choose to take the risk and join the communities of offshore casinos. As is the case with other online casinos, the offshore casinos that accept betting action from Qatar look to set players’ pulse racing by giving them the chance to claim different bonuses.
No Deposit Bonuses
Rounds of Free Spins
Match bonuses are the most frequently available bonus types among online casinos, including the ones that have chosen to accommodate players from Qatar. Such special incentives might be introduced upon registration or after players spend some time at the casino, and no matter what the case is, the way such bonuses work is generally the same.
When players top up their accounts with cash, the deposited amount will be matched at a specific percentage up to a maximum amount. Typically, there is also a minimum deposit requirement players need to meet in order to activate such bonus offers. The wagering requirements of such bonus offers, together with the maximum amount gambling enthusiasts are allowed to withdraw, are also among the things they should look into before they take part in match bonuses.
No Deposit Bonuses
No-deposit bonuses are exactly what it says on the thin as such special incentives are triggered without adding any funds to the balance of your gaming account. Most of the time, such special incentives are offered when players create their accounts. Yet, what is worth noting about bonuses of this kind is that the perks they offer are far less impressive.
Rounds of Free Spins
Rounds of free spins are also frequently introduced by casino operators, and such special deals might be included in sign-up deals or can be presented independently. No matter the case, the rounds of free spins are typically available on a single game, and each spin of the reels has a preset value. As with other casino bonuses, free spins offers also come with wagering requirements players should pay attention to in advance.
Bonuses that are gettable exclusively by players who keep on returning to online casinos also cause a stir as the offered perks tend to be quite eye-catching. While some online casinos allow their users to participate in different loyalty match bonuses, with others, gambling enthusiasts collect special points or receive different freebies. It all depends on the online casino.
As far as legislation goes, although there is no specific law that refers exclusively to gambling, a blanket prohibition is in place. One of the most important things to consider about Qatar is that the Sharia Law is the chief source of legislation in the country. The Islamic System of Law applies to a number of aspects of people’s lives, and under the ambit of these religious laws, gambling and drinking alcohol are all illegal activities.
Qatar’s Penal Code
Penalties for Taking Part in Gambling Activities
Raffles and Prize Draws
Qatar’s Penal Code
Qatar’s Penal Code, and more specifically Articles 274 through 277, state in an ambiguous way what gambling is and what punishment infringers will face. Drinking alcohol in a public place is also considered a crime, and is described as such in Article 270 of the Penal Code.
The description of such activities that is provided in Article 274 is: “Gambling means any game in which the probability of gain and loss depends on uncontrolled chance and each party agree to give an amount of money or any other benefit to be agreed upon, in case of loss, to the winning party”. Although one can argue back and forth whether specific games are based on skill or luck, the authorities in the country are firm that all types of gambling, including playing casino games, betting on sports, bingo, poker, and lotteries are forbidden in Qatar.
Penalties for Taking Part in Gambling Activities
The punishments infringers will face if they engage in gambling activities can be imprisonment of up to three months or a fine that can reach up to 3,000 Qatari Riyals. The penalty citizens will face becomes harsher if they take part in gambling activities openly in a public place or a specifically designed place, as the fine is increased to 6,000 Qatari Riyals, while imprisonment is extended to six months.
Those who are found to organize gambling activities in a public place or open or run a place, where gambling activities are held, might face a fine of up to 5,000 Qatari Riyals or imprisonment of up to one year. If offenses are found, all materials, equipment, and money will be confiscated by the court.
Considering that all forms of gambling are prohibited in Qatar, it makes sense that there is no authority that issues licenses or oversees the work of casino operators. In view of this, there are hardly any player protection measures. Since no forms of gambling are tolerated in Qatar, it makes sense that advertising such activities is also not allowed.
In 2020, the Qatar Financial Centre Regulatory Authority (QFCRA) announced the introduction of a ban on the usage of cryptocurrencies. The prime reason why the ban was put in place was to prevent the usage of cryptocurrencies for financing money laundering and financing terrorism.
Raffles and Prize Draws
The only activities that come slightly closer to gambling the Arab nation can take part in are prize draws and raffles. In fact, raffles enjoy immense popularity in Qatar, especially the Qatar Duty Free, which is a subsidiary of Qatar Airways. One of the most popular such raffles is the Millionaire Raffle, which offers a top prize of QAR 3.64 million or around $1,000,000. The cost of the tickets is QAR 950, which is around $260.
In spite of the popularity of such raffles, many Qataris steer clear of them because they are still considered a form of gambling and therefore a haram under the Sharia law and Penal Code. That being said, ticket sales remain especially strong, especially among foreign workers that constitute a considerable share of the country’s population.
Engaging in gambling activities over the Internet is prohibited, and for this reason, Qataris will not find any web-based casinos that operate legally in the country. For the most part, overseas casinos also comply with the ban, but there are still few operators that accept betting action from Qataris. Accessing and playing at such betting sites is considered a crime.
Finding an online casino that processes payments through Qatari Riyal might be a real challenge as there are hardly any interactive casinos that support the currency. Even if players find a web-based casino where Qataris are welcome, the chances are that they will be required to use another currency.
Raffles and prize draws are the only activities that come close to gambling and are conducted in Qatar. That being said, there are still citizens of the country that keep away from these as participating in raffles and prize draws contravenes the Sharia Law.