Playing The Lottery in the UAE

  • All gambling is illegal....except..
  • Lotteries are really for residents
  • You can play internationally
playing the lottery in the UAE

So, you want to try playing the lottery in the UAE? That’s not quite as simple as you might hope. Let’s first have a look at the country and it’s laws. The UAE stands for the United Arab Emirates and is a country in the Middle East. It consists of seven emirates, Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras al-Khaimah, Sharjah and Umm al-Quwain and is a sovereign absolute monarchy.

Introduction: Playing The Lottery In The UAE

When we look at lotteries in the UAE, it’s important that we do so through the lens of the countries religion, Islam. Religious laws are THE laws. Full stop. Many are constructed around the idea or belief as to what constitutes being “immoral”. To this end, you’ll find all gambling activities are illegal in the UAE. OK…not quite all.

All Gambling Is Illegal…..But….

As with most things in the life, there are exceptions. And one of those is playing the lottery in the UAE. Interestingly, the majority of people actually look down on lotteries as it is, in a round about way, still gambling. Having said that, the government, whilst not exactly discouraging the playing of lotteries, does find subtle ways to limit it’s incursion into the general population. One of these methods, it that actual lottery tickets can only be bought at the Abu-Dhabi International Airport. So, though locals can play, the emphasis is on selling tickets to tourist and other visitors. In spite of, or perhaps because of this, the UAE lotteries are extremely generous. Playing the lottery in the UAE can get you not only cash prizes up, but also things like luxury cars and motorbikes.

Playing The lottery In The UAE: Strict Laws

So you’re in luck if you want to win prizes by playing the lottery in the UAE. That’s because the laws in the country do allow certain companies to operate lotteries, providing they fulfill various strict normatives. They can then receive approval from the regulatory departments of their jurisdiction and are able to get themselves a lottery licence. In order to qualify, they have to prove that they have enough funds in order to give the prizes. They also need to have various assurances from the company itself and prove a clear understanding of what exactly their lottery involves. Sound like gobbledygook. And it is, in a way, because in order to allow lotteries, they have decided to call them “games of skill” as opposed to games of luck. To that end, the UAE allows operators to accept wagers on selected activities such as shooting games, trials of strength, sports, and horse racing.

Watch Your Morals

Part of the assurances given for the licence are that the prizes given are based on skill. In other words, they are from the efforts of the player on their own. It all gets very tricky. For example, if a number of people get together and agree to bet on an outcome, well, that’s illegal. Why? Because the loser must pay the winner. As mentioned, these are religious laws and so fall outside the realm of common sense or logic. But the main opposition to gambling is that it’s an immoral act that could cause public harm or lead to a gambling addiction. Any promotion or advertising of gambling is expressly forbidden, as is any form of gambling games in public. You can get up to two years imprisonment for any of the above. If you follow the rules, then there are only so many places to be playing the lottery in the UAE. We suggest that you stick to them!

playing the lottery in the UAE
The lottery is the only legal form of gambling in most of the countries with strict laws

Playing The Lottery In The UAE: No Online Gambling

And that doesn’t include your computer either. The law prohibits any online gambling. The Cyber Crimes Law of the UAE states that; ” any person or entity that is setting up, running or managing a website; sending money, transmitting prizes in the name of gambling, publishing or re-publishing any gambling acruities via computer networking would be going against the public morals”. Furthermore, you can’t even save content to your portable machine that might be considered gambling related. It’s all against public morals. And because all media is more or less state controlled, then they too must abide by these same strict Islamic laws. The UAE Telecommunications Regulatory Authority has whats called a ‘Policy of Internet Access Management’. This ensures that all gambling websites are blocked at domain level, so as not to be seen in the country.

But here’s a secret. You can still have fun playing lotteries in the UAE. You just use international sites like theLotter, which lists virtually all lotteries from around the world.  Yes, of course it’s more limited than in the West. Stay tuned and we’ll have a deep dive into playing the lottery in the UAE, the prizes, ticket costs and other details in another follow-up article.

Click here to visit theLotter

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