The United Arab Emirates is an interesting region of the world. This country is made up primarily of ex-pats, using the country as a tax haven. In actuality, less than 25% of the UAE citizens actually live in the country, which makes it a very small nation from a gambling perspective, except when you consider the net worth of those people.
Regardless, the country has deep Islamic ties, so as you can expect, the UAE has a very strict set of laws, and gambling falls under this restrictive nature. While there have been some exceptions to the very aggressive stance on gambling, for the most part, it is up to the citizens of the country to find workarounds to access online gambling sites that may be blocked by the government.
Gambling Regulations in UAE
One thing is certain about the residents of UAE – there are a lot of gamblers amongst them. The country has a strong stance against gambling in general, but that is a bit oxymoronic as the country also hosts the richest day of horse racing in the world – the Dubai World Cup Night. In fact, sports like horse and camel racing are both very popular in the country, but residents are not allowed to gamble on them. Much like many of its Islamic neighbors, there are no legal land-based gambling operations to be found in the country.
Now, that isn’t to say that there is no gambling in the country, but the majority of it happens at illegal establishments. When online gambling burst on to the scene in the early 2000s,p this gave residents of the UAE an outlet to be able to play their favorite online casino games from home. However, the government didn’t want their citizens to be able to access the games and has been trying to stop this from happening for a long time. The government has control over what sites its citizens can visit on the internet, and while there is a fine line between freedom of speech and protecting a country’s residents, this has not stopped the UAE government from trying to control this industry.
While the ISPs were blocking as many sites as they could find, online gambling continued to flourish in the UAE through the 2000s. The new government that took power in 2010 definitely wanted to assert itself and chose to actually strengthen its position on the industry. In 2012, the government passed new cybercrime laws that included the distribution of online gambling as one of these crimes.
Still, this has not resulted in any of the citizens being charged with accessing online gambling, and since the sites are all based outside the country, actually being able to prosecute a company is going to be very difficult. So, for the time being, there are still sites that can be accessed, although the larger companies are on the blacklist.
Online Casino Software Available to the UAE
From a software company perspective, accepting licensees who take players from the UAE is not much different than other gray-market countries. If a company chooses to let their licensees take wagers from one of these countries, it accepts the risks associated with doing so, and the consequences of being indicted. To date, not many companies have pulled out of the UAE market, meaning that players who can find sites to play on are going to be able to play some of the top online slots and table games built around the world. Here are just a few of the companies that still offer their games in the region:
- Real Time Gaming
- Leander Games
Best Online Casinos for Residents of the UAE
There are two ways to look at the best sites for players from the UAE to make deposits and play games. If you are a player who is willing to use an IP spoofing software, then you are likely going to be able to access a full list of available sites. While we don’t normally recommend this to players, it seems like this is the norm in the UAE, and if there aren’t any repercussions, then it may be a good option. If you choose not to use one of these pieces of software, then you will be limited to smaller sites that haven’t yet found the radar of the ISPs charged with blocking them.
We have built a stable of online casino reviews that give our UAE readers a chance to see what are their best options. This includes full reviews of the software being used and the promotions that are available to residents of that country. This list is based on sites that are accessible via IP spoofing, so if you aren’t able to find any of these sites, we recommend you head to our Review section and continue to read through our highest rated casinos to find one that suits your needs.