Active players: 5.000.000
Currency: Saudi Riyal (SAR)
Regulated gambling products: No form of gambling is allowed
Operator types: Unlicensed online bookmakers and casinos
Designated authority: No designated gambling authority
Saudi Arabia is the largest sovereign state in Western Asia. It is also the only Arab country to be part of the G-20 major economies. It boosts a Unitary Islamic absolute monarchy, with King Salman being the absolute leader. His son, crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, follows closely in leadership. If you expected all forms of gambling to be illegal, you’re spot on.
As probably the most strict Islamic state, Saudi Arabia features deep theocratic views against gambling. There is only some horse racing taking place in some circumstances. Still, there’s no official betting around it whatsoever. Some raffles, either on the airport or on the horse race tracks, are the only form of gambling activity. Betting online is practically also banned, leaving very few options available. However, quite a few major international betting sites in Saudi Arabia, like Bet365 and 22Bet, do accept local players.
Betting in Saudi Arabia - 5 things to know
- Imprisonment and public shaming awaits gambling organizers and players
- No international bookies are licensed in Saudi Arabia
- Only state law refers to gambling
- No betting shops or casinos exist
- Online betting is illegal too
Best betting sites in Saudi Arabia
As Saudi bettors, the only way to place your bets is online. So, we present those bookmakers that deliver a wide variety of betting markets, along with competitive odds and great offers.
The gambling environment in Saudi Arabia
Gambling in Saudi Arabia is prohibited, as is commonly the issue with Muslim countries. No licensed casinos or bookmakers exist. With that in mind, do stay away from any made-up betting shop you might come across. Yes, it will be illegal and it will only land you to major trouble. Horse racing tracks in Riyadh and in Taif are very popular. Still, they are not open to any form of legal betting. Riyadh surprisingly hosted a first-ever Baloot championship in 2018, organised by the General Sports Authority. This was a card game resembling the French Belote. It was the first time that money prizes were given to the winner and the runner-ups. Despite rumors that it could bring changes to legislation around gambling, nothing came out of it.
As a result, there is still no licensing system for operators. This makes absolute sense since no gambling authority exists in the country. Supervision, surveillance and enforcement, are all under the power of the police. And trust this, they are very strict to locals and foreigners as well. If you do gamble, it's imperative that you do so in your very own privacy. Do not let anyone know you are betting online. And always use VPN software before accessing Saudi Arabia gambling sites.
Essential gambling information for expatriates
We are aware that there are way too many expatriates who live in the Saudi Kingdom. However, laws are strict, regardless of your citizenship. The police will enforce the law and expect no favors because you might be British or American. Respect the local law framework and the fact that gambling is against the Islamic religion. If you still do bet online, always use VPN software and don’t brag about it; keep it personal. If you end up bagging some online winnings, yes, they won’t be taxed. Stick to e-wallets for your payments and always be cautious regarding your banking transactions. Online surveillance is not reportedly too strict; however, always keep a low profile.
Once again, online betting must be done with caution. Therefore, try to avoid credit card payments since the law is strict. Popular e-wallets Skrill and Neteller are available in Saudi Arabia and guarantee your anonymity. Paysafecard is common too, also allowing you a shortcut to fund your gambling account. Most international bookies accept these payments, so just find the one that suits your needs best.
If you’re looking for bookmakers who not only accept local players, but also offer you the opportunity to bet in the local currency, then here you are.
The future of online betting in Saudi Arabia
Things are pretty clear in terms of online betting, Saudi Arabia is against it. Without having to be an oracle, not much is really expected to change in the future. Hosting a card tournament with money prizes in 2018 was the first ever indication that something could eventually change. However, this has not been followed by any appropriate actions whatsoever. Gambling will probably remain illegal for many years to come. Locals and expats living here will have to abide with the laws. For the brave ones, online bookmakers will keep welcoming them. Software products will keep adding security and anonymity to their transactions. Yet, the future of online betting isn’t very bright in the Saudi Kingdom.