Gambling in the Emirates: Online Casinos for Players in the UAE

gambling in the Emirates

First things first, gambling in the United Arab Emirates is NOT legal.
You won’t see any casinos in the UAE. Neither you’ll see any sports betting agencies.

Anyone involved in brick-and-mortar gambling activities risks getting a fine or even a sentence to prison for up to two years.

But don’t worry just yet.

The UAE Penal Law states that “crime” is only committed when it is “perpetrated in a public place or open to the public, or in a place or house prepared for gambling.”

Like kissing. Not legal if you do it in public.

Imagine that.

Either way, the law kind of hints you a way out of your gambling crisis.

You CAN gamble if you do it in private.

I start rolling my eyes every time I come across some article about online casinos which emphasizes the possibility to play from “the comfort of your home” as the top advantage of playing at one.

But considering the laws on gambling in the UAE, it’s the top reason why you SHOULD gamble online if you find yourself in the Emirates.

Your home is your own private space and even if the government blocks the websites with gambling content, there are ways around it. For example, you can use web proxy servers and VPN connections to play online casino games from the Emirates.

Yet, you need to understand the risks: Gambling in the UAE is your choice and you carry all the responsibility.

Online Casinos for Players in UAE: How to Choose?

If you choose to go on with gambling in the UAE, you must find an answer to a valid question.

How to find the best online casinos in the Emirates?

I’m here to help you.

For starters, choose an online casino that is legal abroad.

A legal casino must have appropriate licenses and regulations abroad. For example, the most popular online casinos have permissions issued by the Malta Gaming Authority, the UK Gambling Commission, the Gibraltar Regulatory Authority, and other similar international regulatory bodies.

Plus, no domestic casinos in the UAE will be legal anyway. Don’t even bother looking.

Really. Licenses and regulations are necessary.

If you want to make sure your money won’t be going straight to someone else’s pocket, that is.

Licensed casino rooms follow strict financial requirements and they operate fair and square.

In such rooms, the payout is not a nice number to look at. It’s an actual percentage of money wagered that goes back to the players.

Yep, that’s quite many of things to keep in mind. And with new casinos opening every day, it can be easy to get lost.

But once again, don’t worry.

We got you covered. CasinoSmash team already handpicked the best online casinos in the Emirates.

These casinos accept players from the UAE. They operate outside the country’s borders. Thus, the jurisdiction doesn’t affect them.

Play at these casinos and you’ll know that your money is safe. Your favorite slot machines are not rigged. And live dealers are not cheating. It’s all regulated and audited, as it should be.

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Payment Options aka Hello US Dollar

Gambling for real money always comes to one thing.


And it’s difficult to find a casino that allows you to bet and win in dirhams.

Thus, 9 times out of 10, to make a deposit and later to withdraw your winnings, you’ll need to have an e-wallet. It allows you to deposit and withdraw your casino funds in other currencies.

Most of them work best with the United States dollar (USD).

It’s best to check deposit and withdrawal options beforehand. It differs from casino to casino.

NETELLER can be a good option. Especially when it comes to gambling in the UAE. Most online casinos offer both money depositing and withdrawing options using this service.

PAYSAFECARD is another one. You can buy their cards in the Emirates and online. This card presents you with a 16-digit pin code that allows you to make purchases online. And to gamble, of course.

Using EntroPay, you can also choose USD as your default currency. You’ll get a virtual VISA debit card. EntroPay brag a lot about their instant transfers. That can be pretty useful when you can’t wait until you withdraw your winnings.

These are only a few options out of many. Better check online casinos in the Emirates and find out what methods you can use.

Gambling in the UAE Is Only Possible Online

It’s very easy to catch people gambling in public. Or in places that operate illegally. One big mouth, and a huge fine or two years in prison await.

But with the internet it’s a different story.

It’s very rare that someone would get caught when gambling at foreign online casinos.

Some gambling websites are blocked, true.

But not every website.

Plus, using the right VPN or proxy, you can unblock even the ones that are.

Don’t believe me? Try googling “best VPN for UAE”. You can also add current year and month to the query.

What will you end up with? Many options to access the web from different IP addresses and “locations”. In a few seconds you can become someone accessing the web from, let’s say, Germany.

Casinos in the UAE Are Not a Good Option

One thing is to play at the casinos mentioned above. They are secure and legal more or less everywhere else in the world. Plus, they accept players from the UAE.

But domestic operators are not that much a good idea.

There are two types of those. And they have something in common:

1. They give you a way around the laws of gambling in the UAE.
2. They are way riskier and completely illegal. And would be illegal anywhere else in the world.

Online Casinos in the Emirates

It’s difficult but not completely impossible to find gambling places in the UAE.

Don’t look for a bright sign “Casino”. Check internet cafes and arcades instead. Sometimes even private villas. Some of them provide gambling entertainment in secret.

How do they work? They provide you a computer with access to major online casinos.

Partly, it’s like playing at our mentioned online casinos. Only depositing and withdrawing is in dirhams. But it’s a lot riskier because it takes place in a public venue. Plus, you get limited casino and game options.

Finally, operators of this hidden casino will take a fee in the form of your deposit. Or they will even charge 5-10% of your winnings.

Then, there’s a second option. Internet casinos in the UAE that include an agent.

The agent gives you a web address of one of many online casinos in the Emirates. You won’t find it yourself on the internet otherwise.

You can use the address for gambling or betting from your own devices. But deposits and withdrawals go through the agent, thus the cash flow is in dirhams.

So, both of these options of online casinos in the Emirates include dirhams.

But is it that much of an advantage?

Picture this.

Online casino at the internet café gets busted while you’re gambling. You either get a huge fine or get sentenced to prison.

Is gambling in the UAE in dirhams that much of an advantage then?

Or another ending. Your agent gets arrested and all your winnings are gone along with them.

Or your agent disappears right after you give them a deposit. That’s what scammers do. And there are more scammers in this business than people who can actually help you gamble in dirhams.

Of course, the choice is yours. But I’d suggest you keep away from both “casinos”. I’ve read many articles about them (read this or that, for example). And I don’t see any good outcome of risking like that.

Land-based Casinos in the UAE

Again, don’t look for shiny signs that say, “You can gamble here”.

But there are physical casinos in the UAE that offer gambling and betting.

Sometimes they’re even a common knowledge for locals and expats.

There was a very successful establishment hosting poker nights. It was right behind the most popular shopping mall in Dubai. And gambling there went on for years.

But in the end, it got busted.

Big time.

Same with many other establishments. They might be a hit and success for some time. But in the end, any public gambling “business” in the Emirates has the same fate.

Thus, the best choice is to play at online casinos that have licenses abroad. Or choose from some legal options described below.

No matter how strict the laws of gambling in the UAE seem, not everything is illegal.


Let’s take lotteries, or raffles, for example. They’re also a form of gambling. And it’s legal in the Emirates.

The biggest one comes from Dubai’s Duty-Free. You can win various prizes. Some are small ones, like digital cameras. And let’s be honest, few people are using those nowadays.

Bigger prizes are more rewarding and motivating.

Do you want to win a car? Or a multi-million cash prize? Then this is a place for you.

If the statistics don’t lie, a few thousands of cars and around 100 of 1M+ jackpots met their winners in this raffle.

And there are more of those.

You can buy approved lottery tickets in the shopping malls. And sometimes you can accidentally gamble by buying anything else.

For example, a can of soft drink. It’s not uncommon for brands to promote their products by attaching a lottery ticket.

Will you buy a usual can of coke or the one with a chance to win a car? It’s more tempting to choose the latter, isn’t it?

Dubai World Cup

And then there is Dubai World Cup, of course.

This horse racing competition attracts attention from all around the world. If you’re anywhere else in the world, outside the UAE, you can bet on it online, by phone, or in betting agencies.

Though if you want to gamble while still in the Emirates, you have to attend the race. Entrance ticket works as an entry to the contest.

It allows you to choose 6 winners of the 6 final races and predict the winners of individual ones. And, if your predictions are right, you can claim your prizes right away.

Some lotteries make a use of the Dubai World Cup as well. With an entry fee of as low as DH20, you can win quite a lot.

For example, one lucky guy won 1M miles worth of flying three years ago. That’s enough to travel from Dubai to Europe 22 times!

Physical Casinos

To say that physical casinos never existed in the UAE would be a lie. They have quite a bit of history in the country.

The centers of gambling in the UAE used to operate in some of the major hotels.

When gambling in the UAE became illegal in 1998, cruises made a business out of it.

They might not advertise it much, though.

But to this day, a lot of cruises offer Las Vegas-style gambling as soon as they leave the UAE waters.

They usually start in Dubai, then stop in Abu Dhabi. Also, in the neighboring countries where gambling is illegal too.


Would never associate banks with gambling?

Well, if you are in the UAE,you might.

Based on the amounts you deposit, banks offer large draws. They also award you on your savings if you don’t make any extra purchases.

And some people overuse this.

They deliberately move money around and try to maximize what they gain from the bank. To get that lucky draw. And if this is not gambling, I don’t know what is.


This article meant to overview all forms of gambling in the UAE.

Don’t take it as encouragement to gamble or advice where you should play.

Once you decide to gamble in the UAE, this article might help to consider your options.

But the rest is up to you.

Disclaimer: Gambling is a game of chance and there's no sure-fire formula that guarantee winnings. You can improve your winning chances by using the right in-game strategies but there is no way to predict when a machine or a Casino game is going to pay. Also, this page contains affiliate links. If you click through and play, we might earn a commission. That’s what allow us to keep CasinoSmash free and bring you the best online Casino bonuses!

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