The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is one of the wealthiest countries in the world. It is formed from a federation of seven emirates. The economy of the United Arab Emirates mainly relies on petroleum and natural gas revenues. Tourism also contributes substantially to the country’s economy. The official religion in the UAE is Islam, and the Quran is the holy book of Islam.
The UAE has strict rules regarding gambling. That is because the legal framework is based on teachings from the Quran, which states that games of chance, including maisir, are a “grave sin”. Gambling-related advertisements are also prohibited. The law actively prosecutes Emirati people who participate in gambling activities.
Best Casinos in United Arab Emirates
The law prohibits Emirati people from gambling online or offline. According to the Penal Code, those who violate the law may end up being imprisoned for up to two years and fined up to AED50,000.
Despite the strict gambling regulations in the UAE, many online casinos accept Emirati players. Such web-based casinos are licensed in foreign countries where the UAE’s laws are not valid. That being said, offshore gambling sites are in no way obliged to comply with the UAE’s laws. Our readers can find a list of the most reputable gambling sites that accept players from the UAE below.
Best Casino Bonuses in the United Arab Emirates
Although online gambling is illegal in the UAE, some people have found ways to bypass the laws and play their favorite casino games online. Emiratis are often treated to some tempting casino bonuses. We will discuss the most common bonuses that web-based casinos offer to casino enthusiasts from the United Arab Emirates. However, if you reside in the UAE, it is not advisable to participate in gambling activities, considering the harsh punishments they may face.
Web-based casinos accepting players from the UAE often provide their newcomers with the opportunity to benefit from a Welcome Bonus. Welcome Bonuses are usually quite generous because they must attract the attention of newcomers. A Welcome Bonus consists of a match deposit bonus and free spins. Casino fans must deposit a specific amount to claim the Welcome Bonus.
Online casinos pamper their regular players with tasty reload bonuses. A minimum deposit is required to claim a reload bonus. Some gambling sites offer reload bonuses as part of their welcome offers. Reload bonuses are designed to cater to the needs of players who have made at least one deposit and usually consist of free spins and a match deposit bonus.
Cashback bonuses are relatively new. However, many web-based casinos have added them to their lists of available promotions to retain their existing casino fans. Thanks to cashback promotions, you can overcome a losing streak. A casino cashback bonus is a reimbursement of the amount you have lost within a specific time. The refund is not always associated with a wagering requirement. Sometimes the cashback bonus is credited in the form of real money.
Regular casino patrons can also take advantage of various VIP rewards and exclusive bonuses. Web-based casinos run different types of loyalty schemes, but the most common VIP program is based on comp points. Casino fans earn comp points when they place real-money wagers. Depending on the total number of comp points, players are assigned a VIP level. Besides, casino fans can redeem their comp points for bonus cash. High VIP levels offer more generous promotions and comp point conversion rates.
Important Bonus Terms to Consider
Casino bonuses have a cap on the maximum amount you can claim. Most casino promotions are subject to a wagering requirement. Casino enthusiasts must meet the playthrough requirement before being able to cash out their profits. To beat the rollover requirement, casino fans must familiarize themselves with the game weightings. Some games contribute more than others toward the bonus turnover.
Emirati players must comply with a maximum bet limit while playing with an active bonus. Besides, bonuses usually expire after a certain period. If the bonus turnover is not cleared within a specific timeframe, the casino operator will forfeit the bonus funds and winnings generated from the promotion.
Casino Regulation in the United Arab Emirates
As mentioned earlier, Emirati law is based on passages from the Quran. According to teachings from the holy book of Islam, Muslims must work hard instead of relying on luck to earn their living. The Quran explicitly prohibits Muslims from playing games of chance (gambling).
Several laws prohibit all gambling activities and gambling-related commercials within the UAE borders. The Penal Code provides a definition of gambling and outlines the punishments for those who violate the law. The Penal Code also prohibits the opening and managing of a gambling venue.
People who engage in illegal gambling will be sentenced to no more than two years in prison and ordered to pay a fine of up to AED50,000. Those who organize gambling activities open to the public or manage a gambling establishment will be imprisoned for up to ten years and fined at least AED100,000. Residents of the UAE as well as tourists must comply with the country’s anti-gambling laws.
Legal Forms of Gambling in the United Arab Emirates
The Civil Code of the UAE is another piece of legislation that has to do with gambling. Article 1013 from the Civil Code states that competitions with prizes in running, shooting, sports, or preparation for trials of strength are legal. However, specific conditions should be met for a competition to be permissible. For example, there should be detailed information about the prize and the person who will give it.
Betting on horse and camel racing is legal in the UAE because predicting the outcome of such races is considered a matter of skills. Raffles and lotteries are also compliant with Sharia law. Physical lottery retailers can be found at the Abu Dhabi International Airport only. However, Emirati residents can buy lottery tickets online. The most popular raffle in the United Arab Emirates is the Big Raffle. As for lottery games, Mahzooz and Emirates Draw enjoy great popularity among Emirati citizens.
What About Online Gambling in the United Arab Emirates?
Under the Internet Access Management Regulatory Policy, Internet providers are required to block the access of Emirati residents to websites that include unacceptable content and promote or offer gambling services. The Telecommunications and Digital Government Regulatory Authority must ensure that Internet providers comply with the policy.
Players from the United Arab Emirates are prohibited from using proxy servers to access gambling sites. Moreover, web-based casinos explicitly forbid the use of VPNs in their terms and conditions. In 2012, President Sheikh Khalifa issued Federal Legal Decree No.5 on combating cyber crimes. The decree stipulates that people who create and run websites to send, transmit, publish, or promote gambling activities will be penalized.
The First Land-Based Casino in the United Arab Emirates
In 2026, the first land-based casino in the United Arab Emirates, Wynn Marjan, is expected to open doors on Dream Island located in Ras Al-Khaimah. This will be one of the world’s biggest land-based casinos, occupying 18,500 square meters. The gambling establishment will be built by the Nevada-based casino giant Wynn Resorts. The resort will include 1,000 luxury rooms, 10 restaurants and lounges, a spa, shopping venues, a convention facility, and a gaming area. The announcement of the construction of the casino resort came in 2022, alongside the introduction of the Department of Entertainment and Gaming Regulation, which will be responsible for regulating the gaming area within the resort.
Dubai was also rumored to allow gambling to attract more tourists. But Dubai senior tourism official Issam Kazim explained that there are no such plans. Interestingly, Caesars Palace in Dubai is the only one of Caesars Entertainment’s resorts without a gaming area.
What is the legal gambling age in the United Arab Emirates?
Since gambling is illegal in the United Arab Emirates, there is no minimum gambling age. However, Emirati residents must be at least 18 years old to participate in online lotteries (one of the few legal forms of gambling in the country).
Why is gambling illegal in the United Arab Emirates?
Islam is the official religion in the UAE. Moreover, 85% of the population are Sunni Muslims. The country’s laws are created in accordance with the Quran, which condemns gambling. It is unacceptable for a Muslim to gain money without effort. That is why the United Arab Emirates has strict anti-gambling rules.
What payment methods do web-based casinos welcoming players from the UAE accept?
Although gambling is not legal in the UAE, some web-based casinos licensed in foreign countries accept Emirati players. Casino fans from the UAE can pick from various currencies to add funds to their gaming balances, including cryptocurrencies and USD. Speaking of cryptocurrencies, the UAE established a legal framework for businesses related to virtual assets in an attempt to become a pioneer in blockchain technology.
Are there any known cases of people being prosecuted for engaging in/organizing gambling activities in the UAE?
Yes, the most recent case of people being punished for participating in and organizing illegal gambling is from July 2022. Over a dozen people were arrested for running an illegal casino from a villa in Dubai, while five others were fined for participating in illegal gambling activities. A Chinese citizen was accused of organizing illegal gambling activities. In April 2022, seven Asians were arrested and fined for running an illegal gambling den in a clothing store in Dubai.
What are the legal forms of gambling in the United Arab Emirates?
Most forms of gambling are illegal in the United Arab Emirates. However, several forms of gambling are permissible under specific conditions, including competitions with prizes in running, shooting, sports, or preparation for trials of strength. Betting on horse and camel racing, lotteries, and raffles are also allowed in the United Arab Emirates.