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United Arab Emirates - online gambling regulations

Online gambling regulations, laws and taxes in the UAE

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a Middle Eastern country in the south-east of the Arabian Peninsula, and it is made up of seven emirates, namely Sharjah, Abu Dhabi, Ras al-Khaimah, Fujairah, and Dubai to name a few. The largest gambling city in the UAE is Dubai where there are 4 gambling facilities with 19 table games and 74 slots and Video Poker games.

When it comes to online gambling the UAE is one of the strictest countries, with clear laws outlawing online gambling. In fact, when taking a look at their laws regarding this activity it is easy to see that they don’t play around. Much like Malaysia and Indonesia the reasons are mainly religious. Gambling in all forms is frowned upon and forbidden by the Quran.

While there are many forms of gambling legal in Dubai, it is of vital importance to know that there are rules and regulations in place, and the gambling legalities are very strict. If caught participating in illegal gambling activities there are strong penalties waiting. In an attempt to understand the legal situation regarding online gambling in the UAE, we’ll be taking a look at the current laws and regulations, as well as other factors that determine what might happen if someone should take part in the act of online gambling.

Online gambling regulations in United Arab Emirates

Laws of gambling in the UAE

The UAE is an Islamic country which means there are strict anti-gambling laws in place. In fact, it may be said that the UAE has some of the strictest gambling laws of all countries. Considering the fact that as one of the richest nations of the world they have the necessary tools to prohibit all forms of gambling and enforce the law, it is generally wise to abide rather than suffer the consequences.

The UAE government takes its anti-gambling laws very seriously. So seriously in fact that they have established a Telecommunications Regulatory Authority whose main aim is to produce the Internet Access Management policy. This policy outlines all banned online content categories for all Internet service providers. There are various categories covered in this ban, including content on how to bypass blocked content, any content teaching criminal skills or providing information on illegal drugs. Any content which involves pornography, nudity and gambling sites is also banned, as well as a range of other content sites. This policy covers anything and everything that could lead residents to do something harmful towards themselves or others or even break the law.

It was however only in 2012 that President Sheikh Khalifa issued a decree to tighten up gambling laws. Some have even said that this decree is easily the most comprehensive cyber-crime law in the Arab world. The decree builds on the 2006 decree which made it illegal to use the internet to publish or promote gambling activities, indecent acts or any pornographic material. While it is clear that the UAE is vehemently against online gambling activities, there is a very little record about online gambling sites actually being blocked.

Overall, most gambling forms are completely outlawed in the UAE. In fact, Dubai which is home to the world’s richest thoroughbred race meeting, the Dubai World Cup Night, would lead you to believe that gambling has to be legal in this country. Instead, residents are allowed to visit the races and sports events but they are prohibited from betting on them at all.

There are of course a few who manage to get around the laws by using sneaky methods, but with the most strict gambling laws in place, it is certain that the UAE has harsh punishment in place for those who dare to defy the authorities. Punishment in the country includes heavy monetary fines as well as imprisonment, whether you are caught gambling, running a gambling operation or advertising any form of gambling. In other words, if you are caught in any way shape or form being actively involved with anything regarding gambling both online and offline you will be punished.

Are gambling winnings taxable in the UAE?

As already mentioned in the article, online gambling is considered extremely illegal in Dubai. As such, there is no information available on whether players who have managed to gain access to online casino sites and won a cash prize will have to pay tax. Seeing that gambling is an illegal activity you could get into trouble for just trying to declare these winnings with tax returns. On the other hand, if you are caught with undeclared winnings you could suffer punishment as severe as imprisonment or a hefty fine. Unfortunately, anyone who participates in the act of online gambling will have to suffer the consequences.

Is online gambling legal in the UAE?

Online gambling and the majority of other forms of gambling are illegal in the UAE. There are many laws in place and the main reasons behind the laws and regulations are religious. The UAE is an Islamic country and according to the Quran, gambling is an activity to be frowned upon and stayed away from.

Online gambling, however, is still very popular and it’s to be expected that there are a few citizens who choose to ignore the laws and still try to gain access to online casino sites. There are still some online sites willing to open their doors to UAE residents. These residents have become so clever that they make use of a web proxy server to get past the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority’s Access Management Policy. While officials go out of their way to find web proxy servers and ban them, there are still some that slip through.

Other players make use of Virtual Private Networks (VPN’s) to take part in online gambling activities. If you are taking part in online gambling then you should be aware of the risks and the punishment you face if you are ever caught. And while you are still participating in online gambling from the UAE you should always at least try and play at a licensed and top-rated online casino to avoid running into trouble. If you choose a scam site there will be no help from the government and if caught you as well as the operator could suffer serious punishment.

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