Cockfighting – a Popular Form of Gambling in Uzbekistan

Posted: January 30, 2014

Updated: October 4, 2017

Spinning roulette wheel? Or playing a little blackjack? Try betting on cockfights, that’s what they do in Uzbekistan.

While under the current Uzbek gambling laws it is prohibited for the local population to gamble, some still manage to do so. What’s more interesting many Uzbeks are putting money on centuries old events. One of popular forms of gambling in the country is betting on cockfights.

Cockfighting was a popular pastime for many Central Asian countries, and Uzbekistan is not an exception. Despite its current illegal status, this activity is still widespread in the country and receives lots of attention from both local population and tourists.

The “sport” can sound brutal, but the ones currently held in Tajikistan can rarely be described as such. Everything is done to minimize the risk of birds injuring or dying. The fights are pretty similar to boxing matches, and the birds are even warming up just like boxers.

The cockfights consist of very short rounds and usually go on until a registered win or a tie, depending on how owners agree prior to the fight. Every strike counts, and the winner is determined by their number. There can be one-on-one fights, but sometimes there can be 3 or 4 pairs of birds on one ring.

Are cockfights legal in Uzbekistan?

Absolutely not. All gambling including land-based and online sportsbooks in Uzbekistan is prohibited. But, when there’s a will, there’s a way, and this extremely popular activity does exist in the country, illegally of course.

Uzbek law enforcement agencies are trying to find and eliminate all known establishments where cockfights do take place. Police officers conduct lengthy investigation, many of which end in closing down cockfighting dens.

One of such operations revealed that a certain operator of cockfights was gathering his friends and acquaintances every Saturday and was accepting real-money bets. The entrance fee to the “arena” was around $40 and it has been revealed that even underage gamblers took part in betting on fights.

During the course of investigation and subsequent raid on the establishment, police seized over UZS 30,000 and video-recording equipment. Officialpressreleasestated: “All materials collected in connection with this case have been forwarded to financial police with a view to establish persons, involved in illegal gambling activity.” The cockfighting operator is now facing criminal charges for his actions.

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