Active players: 1.000.000
Currency: UAE dirham (AED)
Regulated gambling products: No form of gambling is allowed
Operator types: Unlicensed online bookies and casinos
Designated authority: No designated gambling authority
The UAE is a sovereign state located at the northeast end of the Arabian Peninsula. They run under a federal elective constitutional monarchy, after gaining independence from the UK in 1971. There are seven emirates, namely Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Fujairah, Ras Al Khaimah, Sharjah and Al Quwain. All seven have Islamic religion, which means that all forms of gambling are illegal. This comes naturally when you take into account the strict theocratic views Islam holds towards gambling.
Horse racing betting is allowed in some circumstances, yet only in the form of raffles. Moreover, some cruise ships offer onboard gambling games which are mainly for tourists. Online betting is also prohibited and the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority oversees the implementation of measures. Some major betting sites in UAE however do accept local players, and they, along with the expatriates who live in the country, place their bets at Bet365 UAE or 1xBet.
Betting in UAE - 5 things to know
- Gambling organizers and players might receive fines and imprisonment
- No international bookies hold licenses in the UAE
- There is no specific law on gambling, just the general penal code
- Horse racing is the only form of betting, still allowed under special circumstances
- Online betting is illegal
Best betting sites in UAE
Since bettors have quite a few bookmakers at their disposal, we list the ones that accept players from the UAE while delivering a wide variety of betting markets, along with competitive odds and a localised interface for your convenience.
The betting environment in UAE
Always keep in mind that gambling is practically prohibited in all its forms, as is basically the norm with Muslim countries. No gambling authority regulates betting in Dubai or in any other of the seven emirates. However, the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority is appointed with the task of monitoring -and in some cases restricting- any online betting UAE has to offer. As a result, gambling falls straight into the category of prohibited content: 'any content that offends against, is objectionable to, or is contrary to the public interest, public morality, public order, public and national security, Islam morality or is otherwise prohibited by any applicable UAE law’.
Restricted access to betting sites is something common, with players trying to access online bookmakers through the use of VPN software. The whole process might sometimes be quite risky. However, there are not many reports of prosecution of online gamblers (especially foreigners). The government simply tries to restrict access to gambling sites. Most of its efforts and strict stance focus on imposing the complete ban on land-based gambling. The ban includes even the famous Dubai World Cup, one of the most prominent horse races worldwide.
Despite attracting bets from around the globe, UAE residents and onlookers still can’t place their bets on it. Notably, perhaps the only way of permitted gambling is to board one of the cruise ships at Dubai’s harbor. These ships drift to international waters and legally operate their onboard casino tables and slots.
Essential information for expats
You must always keep in mind that all forms of gambling are illegal. That said, it does however make a difference if you’re an expat living in -usually- Dubai or Abu Dhabi. This is because the authorities are -unofficially- much stricter when it comes to law enforcement towards local gamblers. That is because of their Muslim religion. It gets even stricter when it comes to organizing games of chance, but let’s stick to just participating.
We couldn’t come across any official data, but the general notion is that, especially if you are British or American, there will be a fine if you get caught practicing online betting in UAE and you could face deportation if it’s a repeated offense. Imprisonment is a penalty that basically targets a land-based gambling clampdown. Online winnings are obviously under no tax, however, you should stick to e-wallets or payeer for your transactions. If that is still too risky for you, just stick to Dubai-based cruise ships who offer casino games when they -typically- leave the country’s waters.
How to deposit at online bookies
Betting in UAE should be avoided, or at least be done with caution. Authorities supervise and block access to betting sites. So, for those that you manage to access, try to avoid credit card payments and direct bank transfer, since the law is strict. Neteller services the UAE and offers an online path for you to keep your anonymity and protect your data. Paysafecard and Payeer are very common methods too. Our advice is that you stick to these payments if you don’t want to draw the attention of law enforcement agencies. Most bookmakers will accept these deposit methods when you sign up. So, just start funding your account in a safe and convenient way.
List of betting sites accepting Dirham
We present you a list of the bookmakers that offer betting in United Arab Emirates Dirham (AED).
The future of online betting in the UAE
Being a Muslim country, typically banning all forms of gambling, not much is expected to change in the UAE in the near future. What could be a change, is a more lenient stance towards expatriates. They form a significantly large percentage of the country’s population. With respect to the Islamic religion, measures could be more lenient towards them. There are some rumors about the opening of a couple of casinos in the region from time to time, just for foreigners, while the state could benefit from taxes. Since it is such a wealthy country though, it will probably choose to preserve its gambling-free stance, rather than gain a few million dollars from taxing gambling operators.
The complete list of bookmakers in UAE
All forms of gambling are strictly banned. Online betting is also considered to be illegal. Nevertheless, accessing international bookmakers is a daily routine for many UAE residents, locals and foreigners, since measures are mainly targeting land-based gambling operators.
Restrictions usually apply to land-based gambling enthusiasts and especially to locals, who are Muslim. Under the Islamic religion and laws, gambling is strictly illegal. However, at the same time, authorities are more relaxed towards online betting and towards foreigners who opt for it.
Not too many bookies offer their services in the country, so the ones that do, are mostly famous international brands, licensed under some of the most prominent licensing authorities. Thus, stick to bookies like 1xBet and Bet365 and expect nothing less than a safe betting experience.
Since online betting is illegal too and transactions are under close supervision by the authorities, simply stick to e-wallets like Neteller, as well as Paysafecard, in order to keep your anonymity.
One of the most recognisable betting companies, 1xBet, does accept players from the UAE. It also offers a fully localised betting experience through its Arabic interface and local currency availability.