Western forms of gambling such as lotto, bingo, poker and traditional casino games as well as all forms of online and mobile gambling are illegal according to ultra-strict Iranian gambling laws.
The religious basis for prohibition on gambling in Iran is found in two verses of the Quran (Koran), the holy book of Islam, which considers gambling the 14th greater sin.
Passage 2:219 states – “…if asked about gambling then answer, that in (gambling) is great sin, and some profit; but the sin is far greater than the profit.”
Passage 5:90-91 states – “… (drinking) and gambling, are an abomination and the work of Satan: you must abstain from them if you wish to prosper.”
Religious Iranian scholars interpret these passages to mean that betting on games of chance causes the faithful to believe in luck and not Allah. Since Muslims believe that each person’s fate is pre-determined, and not subject to chance, placing a bet on a random event is a direct contradiction to the Quran.
However, three forms of gambling are permitted by the Quran. Gambling on archery contests as well as betting on camel and horse races was encouraged by the Prophet Mohamed. [Reference: Al-Kafi, vol 1, page 391, Hadeeth # 06; “Al-Wafi” – Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq ]
Don’t jump on a plane to Iran yet to begin your new career handicapping camels at one of Teheran’s bazaars. The only people permitted to bet on sports in Iran must be the participants in archery contests or the riders of the horses and camels during the races.
Iranians, who wish to gamble, can either play at many foreign based online casinos in Iran or take a quick bus ride to the neighboring country of Turkmenistan.
Turkmenistan, a day long bus ride from Teheran, has a much more flexible view of Islam and offers plenty of blackjack, roulette, slots as well as all other traditional western style casino games.