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Saudi Arabia Online Casinos

Saudi Arabia

Just the term “Saudi Arabian online casinos” might seem like an oxymoron, and it’s easy to understand why you might feel that way. The country is known for having one of the most conservative religious governments in the Islamic world, with severe limitations on the rights of women, harsh punishments for those accused of crimes, and, of course, a very strict stance against gambling.

That stance extends to the Internet, of course, where one hardly even has to check the legal situation to understand that the Saudi government has little interest in permitting or regulating any type of gaming, either online or land-based. But despite this strongest of prohibitions, there are still those companies that offer real money Internet casino play in this country and many online gambling sites accept Saudi players.

Top Real Money Gaming Sites in Saudi Arabia 2020

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Online Gambling in Saudi Arabia

There’s no question about where the government stands on the question of Internet gambling. All betting in Saudi Arabia is illegal, and there is no exception made for the online world. It’s hard to find ambiguity here, and few would even pretend to argue otherwise in this case. The government here even makes an effort to restrict access to online gambling sites, as well as those web pages with anti-religious or pornographic content.

With such a broad ban on gaming, it would be easy to imagine that few (if any) developers or operators would want to attempt to do business here. Yet there are numerous sites that do offer real money online games to Saudis if they wish to sign up and play on them. With no regulatory framework in place, many operators consider this a grey market – after all, it’s not as though they’ve been rejected for a license to operate here, there’s simply no way to get one.

If you live here and want to try playing at one of these sites, you’ll find there’s a surprising variety of software providers found in the market. Most of these are companies that tend to play in a lot of grey markets around the world. Software companies active here include:

  • Realtime Gaming (RTG)
  • Microgaming
  • Playtech
  • Betsoft
  • NetEnt

The best and safest online casinos in Saudi Arabia are listed in the table below. Many of these even offer Arabic language support, though there are no casinos with Riyal currency that we know of. All the sites in the following table are safe and secure. They also treat all user accounts with 100% privacy and discreetness, so those based here who do want to play online can do so knowing they are in safe hands.

Absolutely No Bets Allowed

Saudi Arabia has an absolute, unconditional ban on all forms of gambling. There are no lotteries, there is no parimutuel betting, and there are no bingo nights. And, of course, that means that you won’t be able to head to a casino and play slots or blackjack, either.

Despite everything we’ve said so far, you might have suspected that at least one form of betting would be allowed here, because the country is known for its love of horse racing. Some of the most successful horses and owners in recent years have come out of this nation, and the sport goes hand-in-hand with betting at the track. But here, the races alone are the attraction for spectators; there is nobody at the track to take a bet for you.

Racing takes place primarily at two locations, both of which are regulated by the Riyadh Equestrian Club. The King Aziz Race Track is located in Riyadh itself, while summer meetings take place at the King Khaled Race Track in Taif. Various races are held throughout the year for both Saudi bred and imported horses. The nation is also one of the best locations to watch camel racing; while the races once utilized child jockeys that could easily be hurt on the long races, robotic jockeys are now used instead, and fans (and owners) can follow the action by traveling alongside the tracks in vehicles.

While there is absolutely no legal gaming industry in the country, that doesn’t mean that Saudis never want to place a bet. That inevitably leads to illegal underground gambling dens popping up from time to time in the nation, as some seek to take advantage of the situation by offering the only game in town.

But doing so is a dangerous proposition, as the penalties for running such an operation are stiff. Police once busted a gambling ring in Jeddah being run by African immigrants accused of overstaying their visas. At the time, it was reported that the suspects would face criminal charges and potentially even jail time; the Saudi legal system is rarely praised for having leniency in its sentencing, and it’s safe to say that even a small betting operation would be dealt with extremely harshly by the standards of most nations.

Don’t Expect Change

As with many countries in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia’s restrictions on gaming are based on deeply held Islamic convictions, and that isn’t going to change in a few years or a few decades. It would be a stunning liberalization here if the government decided they wanted to run a highly-regulated state lottery to raise revenue; casinos are nothing more than a pipe dream.

Concerns about gambling run so deep here that even activities that often occur without any betting can come under scrutiny. In early 2016, a top Saudi cleric made headlines around the world when he issued a fatwa stating that chess was a forbidden pastime for Muslims – quite the shock to the many chess players in the country, especially considering that the game evolved in the Persian Empire and has been popular throughout the Muslim world ever since. The ban was issued in part because of the potential for players to bet on games, among other reasons.

Ultimately, it didn’t appear that this was much more than an answer to a specific question about how Muslims should live their lives, and the government hasn’t made any moves to enforce such a prohibition, but it still goes to show just how strong the cultural resistance to any gambling runs.

With that in mind, we would not expect any Saudi online casino sites to take root in this country anytime in our lifetimes. That doesn’t mean that players won’t be able to find places to play, of course: sites are active here now, and no matter what the government tries to do, some will likely slip through the cracks. But it is extremely unlikely that they will be embraced here anywhere in the foreseeable future.