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Pakistan online sports betting laws

Pakistan is one of many countries where sports betting operates in a gray area. All forms of gambling are illegal, and socially frowned upon, but there is no specific legislation outlawing online betting. As a result, there is a bustling unlicensed and unregulated market in wagering on sport.

Is sports betting legal in Pakistan?

Pakistan, with 225 million inhabitants, is the fifth most populous country in the world. And it has an appetite for sport to match. The main focus of interest for Pakistan sports fans is, of course, cricket. The sport is extraordinarily popular here, and it is followed with a fervor and intensity to match that of its next-door neighbor and main rival, India. However, when it comes to the opportunity to place bets on the action, the picture in Pakistan is confused.

As an Islamic republic, Pakistan strictly prohibits gambling of all kinds and, under, the Prevention of Gambling Act of 1977, no betting at all is allowed in the country. The only wagering that takes place is on course at the nation’s two horse racing tracks, in Lahore and Karachi. However, there are hundreds of illicit gambling dens in both those cities, where millions of dollars change hands.

The spot-fixing Pakistan cricket scandal of 2010, when it was revealed that certain players had been incentivized to create certain events during a Test match against England by people connected with unofficial bookmakers, brought shame on the nation. It also served to reveal the sheer scale of the illegal betting marketplace in the country. Obviously, internet betting has arrived since the 1977 Act was passed; it could be said that online sports betting is retrospectively covered by that legislation.

However, no leading politician has ever spoken out to condemn online betting. Expert opinion is divided between those who feel there may one day be a softening of the attitude towards gambling, with legalization to follow, and others who are convinced that, on religious grounds, the country will never permit betting.

As things stand, several well-established international sportsbooks based outside Pakistan are offering the opportunity to bet on sports to people in the country. The Pakistan authorities do not seem particularly interested in doing anything about this, and bettors are virtually certain to be unpursued by the law. However, it is wise to use a VPN (virtual private network) and an e-wallet if you want to enjoy sports betting in Pakistan – and to bet only with respected overseas sportsbooks.

What odds format is used in Pakistan?

Decimal odds

When betting on horse racing was legalized in 1979, the form of betting used was tote betting, which uses decimal odds. Tote betting is still available at the racetracks in Lahore and Karachi, the only two locations in Pakistan where gambling on sports is officially allowed. Decimal odds are in use across most of Europe, Asia and Australasia, in part because this is the easiest format for anyone to understand when assessing the probability of a particular outcome.

If you want to place a bet on the first race at Karachi Racing Club and the projected pool payout is 4.5, that means for every $10 you stake you receive $45 back if your horse wins. The same return would be generated from fractional odds of 7/2 – this is the most popular format in the UK and Ireland. Meanwhile, in the United States and Canada, where the moneyline is the preferred option, the odds you would see would be +350.

Top sports in Pakistan

Cricket

It is hard to convey just how fanatical Pakistan cricket followers are. No other sport comes remotely close to matching the national obsession with the sport in this country. Pakistan cricket teams are watched and supported in huge numbers whenever and wherever they play. The national side has won the World Cup and the T20 World Cup, and the Pakistan cricket team has always been one of the elite sides in the Test format too, boasting legends such as Wasim Akram and Shahid Afridi. Pakistan cricket fans also have plenty of domestic action to enjoy too in this cricket-obsessed nation, including the Pakistan Super League, the country’s response to the Indian Premier League . And an overwhelming majority of the millions of illicit bets in the country are placed on the sport.

Pakistan sports betting FAQs

How do you bet on cricket in Pakistan?
Is online gambling legal in Pakistan?
What is the most popular sport in Pakistan?