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United Arab Emirates online sports betting laws

Many of the ten million people who live in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are big sports fans, and they have plenty of great action to watch. That said, online sports betting, like all forms of gambling, is strictly forbidden for religious reasons under the Islamic laws that govern the state.

Is sports betting legal in the United Arab Emirates?

All forms of gambling are illegal in the United Arab Emirates, as is the case in many Muslim countries. The strict interpretation of certain passages in the Quran makes it clear that under the religion of Islam, gambling is a sin. As a result, despite the UAE being one of the richest countries in the world, none of the disposable income in the Emirates can be legally used for gambling purposes.

Nevertheless, there have been many cases of illegal underground betting networks springing up across the UAE. Using such operations is fraught with risk, and not recommended. However, for Emiratis and visitors to the UAE, there are ways to access betting facilities that, while not licensed in the state, will probably not get you into trouble.

Many highly reputable and well-established international sportsbooks make their markets available to people based in the UAE. There are two very important steps if you are living or visiting here that you must take to be able to enjoy sports betting.

  • Use a VPN. It is essential to create a virtual private network, which channels internet traffic to a server outside the UAE and makes it impossible for your activity to be tracked to your location. Effectively, this renders you anonymous when you are trying to put a bet on.

  • You will need a payment method separate from your usual bank. Banks in the UAE will block all gambling-related transactions. The best way around this is to use an e-wallet such as Skrill or Neteller. You can hold funds in such a device and use them for betting purposes, without creating any transactions directly between your bank and a betting site.

Once you have taken those steps, it is crucial that you use only trustworthy and respected betting sites. Because they are licensed and based outside the Emirates, the UAE government cannot take action against them.

What odds format is used in the United Arab Emirates?

Decimal odds

If you do access online sports betting sites from the United Arab Emirates, it is likely that you will be able to choose the odds format with which you are most familiar. However, the default setting in the UAE, like most of the world, is to present the probability of a particular event happening via decimal odds.

With the exception of certain regions using fractional odds, such as the UK and Ireland, and others that favor moneyline odds, such as North America, decimal odds are standard across the world. This is partly because they are extremely easy to understand.

If you want to wager on Spain to win an international soccer match, for instance, the odds might be 2.5. That means for every $10 you stake, you will receive $25 back if your pick is a winner. The fractional odds on the same bet would be 6/4, which on the moneyline they would be +150. In each instance, you get your stake back if you are a winner.

Top sports in the United Arab Emirates

Soccer

Soccer is firmly established as the most popular sport in the United Arab Emirates. Fans across the UAE enjoy watching the best leagues in the world – and interest in the English Premier League has been heightened by the fact that Manchester City are owned by the Abu Dhabi United Group. The UAE’s soccer national side did their bit to boost the profile of the sport here by qualifying for the finals of the FIFA World Cup in 1990, while leading club side Al-Ain are the only UAE club to win the AFC Champions League, a feat they achieved in 2003.

United Arab Emirates sports betting FAQs

Is gambling legal in the UAE?
What is the most popular sport in the UAE?