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Bahrain online sports betting laws

Of all the Muslim nations in the world, Bahrain is one of the most hostile to sports betting. Despite the huge appetite for sporting action here, gambling of all kinds is seen as totally taboo – and placing a wager on your favorite team or event carries a degree of risk.

Is sports betting legal in Bahrain?

Sport is extremely popular in Bahrain. The island nation in the Persian Gulf was the first Arab country to construct a Formula One track, and it is now a fixture on the F1 calendar. Soccer and cricket are also followed enthusiastically, as is mixed martial arts. However, betting on sport in Bahrain is extremely restricted. As in many Muslim countries, all forms of gambling are illegal because of its prohibition in the Quran.

Bahrain has no land-based casinos or betting shops, and no online casinos or betting operators are licensed to offer their wares here. It is also notable for exercising a high degree of internet censorship. The government is active in its efforts to shut down or block any gambling-related websites that try to reach a Bahraini audience. Under the country’s penal code, anybody caught gambling can face a fine of 300 Bahraini dollars – about $800 – and three months in prison. The penalties for companies offering such services are considerably higher.

Anybody based in Bahrain who is absolutely determined to bet here should be aware that the country follows through on such threats; in 2018, a large group of expatriates were arrested for gambling in Manama, the capital. In the circumstances, it is highly inadvisable to engage in sports betting while in Bahrain. Even if you use a respected licensed sportsbook based overseas that has a good reputation for playing fair with its customers, there is a risk that the connection will be blocked by the government.

People in Bahrain who do place bets with offshore operators use a VPN (virtual private network) to do so, and conduct their financial transactions through an e-wallet such as Skrill or Neteller to ensure they are anonymous and undetectable. However, it is arguable that out of all the westernized nations in the Arab world, Bahrain offers the least friendly reception to the sports bettor.

What odds format is used in Bahrain?

Decimal odds

There is no such thing as a Bahraini sports betting site. Wagering with an overseas sportsbook carries some risk of arrest and prosecution. And the Bahrain Horse Racing Affairs website does not even carry odds on its results page . Anybody determined to take the precautions required to bet with an offshore sportsbook will, however, find odds displayed in the decimal format. This is the easiest method to discern the probability of a particular event happening, which is why it is commonplace across Europe, Asia and Australia.

Let’s say you want to wager on Bayern Munich to win the UEFA Champions League . You may see the odds displayed as 5.0. This means that if you place $10 on that outcome, your winnings will be $50. In contrast, the same bet and outcome would be displayed in fractional odds, used in the UK and Ireland, as 4/1; and in moneyline odds, which are popular in North America, as +400.

Top sports in Bahrain


Soccer is a very big deal for fans in Bahrain. The state with a population of 1.5 million stages a professional top flight, with the 10-team Bahraini Premier League being the pinnacle of Bahrain soccer, and the Bahraini Classification League below it. The English Premier League is also incredibly popular here.

Bahrain’s national side has never qualified for a major tournament, but it has twice come close to a place in the FIFA World Cup finals – and won both the Arabian Gulf Cup and West Asian Football Federation Championship in 2019. Those who bet at international websites can also wager on fixtures in the major leagues across Europe and South America.

Bahrain sports betting FAQs

Is gambling legal in Bahrain?
Is online gambling legal in Bahrain?
What is the most popular sport in Bahrain?