Islam dictates that gambling for money should be prohibited. In the United Arab Emirates, for example, gambling is punishable by up to two years in prison. However, it is well-known that many locals use offshore gambling sites to place bets and play their favorite casino games. While there are undoubtedly some Muslims who adhere to this viewpoint,  there are numerous casinos in the Middle East and even more options for Arabic online gamblers to reveal. Take a quick look at

Another example is Dubai. Dubai is home to the Meydan Race Course, which frequently hosts some of the world’s most well-known sports betting events. Locals, on the other hand, are not permitted to gamble on sports or horse racing. Due to Islamic law, there are no regulated bookies, poker rooms, or casinos with local licenses in Dubai. All of the casino and betting operators promoted on sites like a7labet are in fact located overseas, primarily in Malta or the United Kingdom.

With a growing gambling industry in the Arabic region, as well as efforts to transform parts of the region into a new eSports hub, and not to mention the World Cup in Qatar, the question is whether the Arabic region is gradually lifting some gambling prohibitions. Before we can get into that, we need to understand why gambling is prohibited in the first place and how Sharia law defines gambling.

Why Do Arab Nations Prohibit Gambling?


Gambling shouldn’t be compared to any kind of contest or game, it’s crucial to remember that. In reality, a sizable portion of Muslim scholars believes that engaging in healthy competitions like sports and other athletic pursuits is commendable for followers of Islam. However, the morality of these activities is called into question when they begin to include elements of betting, gambling, or lotteries.

There are also a number of debates around whether raffle prizes count as a violation of Islamic law under the provisions stated in the Quran. While there is no definitive consensus on this, it’s widely believed that it’s all a matter of intention. If a person receives a raffle prize as a result of merely attending the event or a social gathering without paying additional money for it, then it’s morally acceptable. In this case, Muslims see raffle prizes more as promotional and recreational activities that aren’t related to gambling per se.

There are also several arguments about whether accepting raffle prizes constitutes breaking Islamic law according to the Quran’s prohibitions. Although there isn’t a definite agreement, it’s generally accepted that it all comes down to intent. It is morally acceptable to give away raffle prizes to attendees of an event or social gathering without charging them a fee beforehand. Muslims view lottery prizes in this instance more as promotional and leisure activities unrelated to gambling in general.

Along the same line, some Muslim scholars and practitioners feel that playing backgammon and card games is permissible as long as no bets are placed on the results of the games. However, this is not a widely held belief either, as some academics believe that the connection between these games and gambling is reason enough to outlaw them.

Why is Gambling Prohibited to Begin With?


Religious Perspective

While most of the world can have a very casual relationship with gambling as a form of leisure and a pastime, Islam does not necessarily share this sentiment. In fact, the Quran greatly condemns gambling and often lumps it together with alcohol as a social disease that has the potential to destroy people’s lives and their relationships with others.

Islam’s sacred book is uncompromising in its condemnation of gambling and games of chance. Islam’s general principle on money is that it should be gained in a morally upright and honorable way. This implies that any wealth acquired by Muslims must be the result of their diligence and hard work. Simply relying on luck or chance to make money can put some vulnerable people at risk of losing it on the off chance that they could win more. The main reason why the practice is forbidden in Islam is because of the deceptive character that is inherent in the notion of gaining money off specific people by chance.

Social/Health Concerns

Gambling has also been known to be a trigger and source of serious mental health disorders, particularly in terms of addictions for people around the world. There are many cases (both documented and otherwise) of people getting into trouble or falling into debt as a result of poor gambling practices. One key component of people getting into trouble while gambling is the pursuit of greed, which is a major sin in Islam. Gambling also has the potential to deteriorate relationships among people because of its competitive aspect that’s rooted in the pursuit of money.

In fact, even the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association has officially coined gambling addiction as a very real and serious concern that people all around the world may be prone to experiencing. Many people who suffer from this addiction often find themselves lying to friends and family about having a problem and gambling even more in order to make up for serious losses. It’s also worth noting that in Arab countries, people who suffer from gambling addiction may have difficulty seeking help. Given that gambling is prohibited in these areas, it’s unlikely that a therapist or licensed professional will be able to provide mental health services for those with gambling addictions.

The Future of Gambling in Arabic Nations


The future of legitimate gambling in Arab nations seems dubious given the explicit prohibitions set forth in Islamic scriptures. However, if there are any moves that are geared towards the legalization of gambling in these regions, it’s likely that the more progressive sectors like Dubai will lead the charge. The main benefit of regulating gambling practices in these regions revolves around economic stimulation and leisure. For the most part, it doesn’t seem like any major changes are expected to take place anytime soon. But many are still optimistic that Arabic nations will take a more lenient stance on gambling in the future. In fact, there are various developments, especially in the UAE that are geared toward regulating gambling in the region.

Ras al Khaimah, one of the smaller emirates made announcements earlier in 2024 that the state was planning on introducing legislation to regulate gambling in their resorts. The Las Vegas stalwart Wynn Resorts brand also said that it had plans to build a resort with a casino and gambling services on a man-made island. This is not the first time that Las Vegas brands have tried to penetrate the UAE as there is already an existing Caesars Palace in Dubai. However, to this day, it remains to be the only Caesars Entertainment resort in the world without a casino. While Ras Al Khaimah’s efforts do offer some signs of hope, the state also stressed that they would be developing laws with responsible gaming principles in mind.


Gambling is expressly forbidden for Muslims according to the Quran. However, it begs the question of why certain nations with a high concentration of Muslims still have running casinos. In addition, casinos that are established in other nations continue to focus a lot of their marketing efforts on the Muslim community. As a result, locals in Muslim-majority nations who may not have access to local casino services can nevertheless use the internet to access offshore online platforms. Only time will tell whether restrictions on gambling will be eased up in these nations that seem rife with opportunities for market expansion.