UAE Online Casinos 2022: Everything You Need to Know
Offshore UAE online casinos, though plentiful and otherwise legitimate, are illegal in the United Arab Emirates. This makes gambling in Dubai or playing at an online casino in the UAE a fairly complicated matter. Read our complete guide to UAE casino sites to learn more about the situation, and how some users choose to claim their real money bonus and play anyway.
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Is Gambling Legal in the United Arab Emirates?
The United Arab Emirates is an extraordinarily wealthy country, consistently ranking as one of the richest countries in the world. But despite its many modern luxuries and the international populations of Dubai and Abu Dhabi, this Muslim country remains very fundamentalist in terms of following Islamic law.
And since the Quran outright prohibits any form of gambling, the Emirati government have taken strict measures to outlaw casinos and betting houses within its borders. This ban also applies to UAE online casinos, making it illegal to gamble online in the Emirates.
Gambling and Islamic Law
Like most neighboring Muslim countries, the United Arab Emirates bases its anti-gambling laws on the Quran, Islam’s central religious text.
In order to uphold Islam’s definition of public morality, which sees gambling as harmful to society, the Emirati government severely punishes both users and gambling houses for playing at or hosting UAE casinos.
According to number 414 of the United Arab Emirates Penal code, “Anyone who gambles may be punished by imprisonment for a period not exceeding two years, or by a fine of up to 20,000 AED (€4,500)”.
Interestingly, this does not prohibit luck-based draw competitions (such as lotteries and raffles), so long as the operation receives permission from the relevant authorities first.
So while the law does make gambling at UAE online casinos illegal for individuals, in practise, the police tend to focus their efforts on rooting out illegal gambling operations themselves. In recent years, this has meant shutting down clandestine casinos in Dubai that cater to international tourists.
Due to the reasons outlined above, you won’t find any legal casinos in Dubai. This means you also can’t find card houses, sports betting shops or any other form of brick-and-mortar gambling establishment in the UAE capital city.
This doesn’t mean that people haven’t tried to circumvent the Emirates’ anti-gambling laws. In 2013, 16 men were jailed for running an illegal casino at Jumeirah Beach Residence. Some faced prison terms of one year, others prison terms of three months. All of them faced hefty fines, and every non-Emirati culprit was deported.
Suffice to say that users are playing with fire if they try gambling in Dubai on their next vacation.
Are Online Casinos Legal in the UAE?
Many Emirati authorities and legal professionals, including those cited earlier, believe that the gambling ban should continue to apply to offshore online casinos in the UAE. And as of the time of writing, the UAE’s strict laws against gambling remain intact and actively enforced.
But it has proven difficult for the government to effectively stop international online casinos from operating in the UAE. This is due to the Emirati government only having legal jurisdiction within the borders of the Emirates themselves.
How to Gamble Safely at UAE Online Casinos
While it is generally safer to gamble at UAE online casinos rather than at a casino in Dubai, it is not foolproof and it can certainly get you in trouble with the law.
That said, our review team has thoroughly researched how to gamble online in UAE in a safe and discreet manner.
With the following tips, you can make the most informed decision according to your own personal preferences. But should you decide to enter one of our recommended sites and gamble online in the UAE, please remember: you are doing so at your own risk.
Only Visit Licensed Offshore Operators
Not all gambling operators are created equal, and sometimes it can be difficult to know where to find the best online casinos in the UAE.
Firstly, any worthwhile offshore UAE casino site will be legal and licensed in its home jurisdiction. This means they hold legitimate gambling permits and offer certifiably fair games vetted by auditing organisations like eCOGRA or TST.
All the UAE online casinos we recommend will have a gambling licence (or multiple) from a major casino regulator. The largest and strictest regulatory authorities including the UKGC, the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) and/or Curaçao eGaming.
For peace of mind, you can always confirm the legitimacy of any casino site by clicking on the icon of its respective regulatory authority, which you’ll find at the bottom of the page.
This is the foremost indicator that you are playing at a secure casino, meaning that you and your data are safe. Finally, be sure to look over our complete guide to blacklisted casinos, in order to avoid falling victim to fraud, identity theft or worse!
Use Trusted and Private Payment Methods
The last and equally important factor to keep in mind when gambling online in the UAE is your choice of casino payment method.
Naturally, since casinos are illegal in the UAE, Emirati banks will deny and possibly report any suspected transactions between your account and an online casino.
Therefore, you’ll need to use an alternative method to deposit into and withdraw from your UAE online casino account.
Thankfully there are plenty of options available that ensure your safety and privacy while offering convenient, low-cost transfers.
Far and away, the best payment option for playing at an online casino site in the UAE is an e-wallet. Digital wallets function just like a physical one, allowing you to store your money electronically and then make payments online. These third-party intermediaries ensure that no funds are ever transferred directly between your bank and the online casino itself.
Cryptocurrency casinos such as Bitcoin gambling websites and Ethereum gambling websites, are a revolutionary financial technology and the world’s first real digital asset. These are becoming very popular at cryptocoin casinos in the UAE due to the outstanding security and privacy they offer their users.
Finally, there’s the untraceable and easy-to-use paysafecard. You can buy and top up these prepaid cards at many retail stores, then use them just like any other bank card at virtually any online casino in the UAE.
Other Ways to Enjoy UAE Casino Gambling
While gambling at UAE online casinos can be a great way to have fun and possibly win money, it’s going to be a risk no matter what. However, there are alternative methods to enjoy gambling in the Emirates.
UAE Gambling Cruises
Familiar to tourists the world over, cruise ships are a classic vacation option that offer a great experience for a relatively cheap price.
You’ll find amenities such as swimming pools, entertainment venues, luxury hospitality and plenty of sun – like at any quality resort. And for players, these nautical getaways are the closest thing that you can get to gambling in Dubai.
Costa Cruises, owned by cruise ship giant Carnival, bills itself as the UAE’s premier “mobile casino” – and no, they don’t mean the kind of mobile casino you can play on your phone!
Cruise lines, such as Royal Caribbean International and Costa Cruises, dock in ports throughout the Middle East, welcome players aboard and then sail out into international waters.
Once there, outside of Emirati jurisdiction, these casino cruises provide fully legal UAE casino gambling services to tourists and locals alike. They even offer VIP programs and loyalty rewards for repeat customers!
Best Land-Based Casinos in the Middle East
Should you be in the mood for travelling, there are a few possibilities for gambling in the Middle East that may surprise you.
While Islam, the dominant religion of the region, expressly prohibits gambling, there are numerous land-based arab casinos that welcome gamblers from around the world.
The majority of available gambling arenas in the Middle East are Egyptian casinos. These include the popular London Club Casino and the glamorous Maritim Jolie Ville Resort & Casino, both located in historical Cairo, the heart of Egypt. Both of these are well worth a visit should you find yourself in the land of the pharaohs.
Then, undoubtedly the largest and most famous gambling destination in all the Middle East is Lebanon’s luxurious Casino du Liban, located just north of the capital city of Beirut.
With hundreds of real money casino games (even rivalling some of the top online casinos in the UAE) as well as numerous restaurants, a hotel and even a theatre, the Casino du Liban is a must-see for users on tour in the Middle East.
Summary of UAE Online Casinos
Gambling in the United Arab Emirates is and likely will remain strictly prohibited. Nevertheless, many legitimate offshore gambling sites offer Emirati players great casino bonuses and a huge variety of real money games to claim them on.
Through this article, we hope to have given you the tools to make your own informed decision.
Just remember: if you do decide to gamble online from the UAE, you are playing at your own risk. Please gamble responsibly.
UAE Online Casinos FAQs
No, gambling is not legal in the United Arab Emirates. This is due to the very strict anti-gambling laws that the Emirates, as a Muslim country, enforces in order to maintain public morality.
The law outlaws any form of gambling, including brick-and-mortar casinos as well as UAE online casinos, card houses, sports betting shops etc. The punishment for gambling in Dubai can be quite severe, so only do so at your own risk.
No, there are no legal Dubai gambling casinos currently in operation. Should you come across anything advertising real money games of chance on your next vacation to the Emirati metropolis, it is advisable to keep walking.
Instead, you can enjoy some of the many legal forms of recreation in the UAE or otherwise travel to an Arab country where gambling is legal, such as Egypt or Lebanon.
The answer to this question depends on many factors, most of which come down to your own personal preference! For instance, some of the best online casinos in the UAE are ideal for mobile gambling. But other sites focus on offering a huge variety of cryptocurrencies to help Emirati players make safe and discrete payments – for example in Litecoin casinos, Dash casinos or even Dogecoin casinos.
While it is not common to see offshore UAE online casinos offering deposits/withdrawals in dirham (AED), there are a few sites that do offer this currency.
However, at the time of writing, 1xSlots and 1xBet both offer users the option to play and potentially win real money in UAE dirham. Read our full reviews on these casinos to learn more!
Since the United Arab Emirates outlaw any form of gambling, there is no specific form of taxation that applies to potential winnings from UAE online casinos. Therefore, most users choose not to declare these gambling profits, as doing so would put them at risk of criminal prosecution. That said, we do not condone circumventing the law nor shirking tax responsibilities. Should you choose to do this, you do so at your own risk.
There is no shortage of casino games from top software developers that you can play online in the UAE. You’ll find all kinds of online slots, including jackpot slots and high RTP slots. Keep an eye out for classic table games, including real money Blackjack and Roulette. There are many online live casinos in UAE as well, offering live-dealer table games from developers like Evolution Gaming and Playtech.
Since UAE gambling is not legal, there is no legal gambling age in Dubai or anywhere else in the Emirates. However, online casinos will not accept any registrations from anyone under 18 years of age.
There are no legal casinos in Dubai, so players may face criminal prosecution for gambling in the UAE’s capital city. According to number 414 of the United Arab Emirates code of law, gamblers can be punished by imprisonment for up to two years and/or a fine of up to 20,000 AED (€4,500).
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