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Saudi Arabia online casino play: Laws & gambling in the wider context

Gambling is of course banned in Saudi Arabia.  As with other nations in the GCC, gambling in public is a far riskier activity.  In 2006, several African migrants used a coffee shop in Jeddah as a front for their illegal gambling operation.  After receiving a tip-off, police moved in to halt the operation and then turned their investigation to the men had overstayed their visas.  In all, several hundred were arrested and those found to be sheltering those that overstayed were also punished.   While gambling is not legal in any form in the Kingdom, certainly gambling of the online variety is less objectionable to authorities than those that try to gamble in public and those that look to operate gambling rooms or services within the ‘underground economy.’  Let’s be honest, appearances matter in the Kingdom, and gambling is no different.  You definitely don’t want to be caught gambling in public, but if you find a way to do it online from the privacy of your home, that’s another thing.  So if you are going to get started there are a couple of points to consider:  

First, Saudi Arabia filters several forms of online content so that it is harder for it to reach their citizens.  The Saudi Communications and Information Technology Commission is the governmental organization that is charged with this task.  The government will no doubt be blocking at least some of these casino sites above.  Thus, you might need to use a virtual private network (VPN) in order to access these websites.  Accessing VPNs may also be difficult from Saudi Arabia.  If you think that it is highly likely that some of the sites above might be blocked, each of the buttons and links above that will take you to the given online casinos will open new tabs.  Simply click all of them, and then check the tabs to see if you have access.  If the pages loaded properly, you can get started and claim your bonus where available.  In the end, you should be able to access at least a few of the above sites.  While gambling is not legal, it is far less objectionable than many other kinds of online content.   

Second, as Saudi Arabia progresses in its vision to develop the economy, there will be some hard conflicts of interest to consider.  At the time of writing, the Saudi Public Investment Fund was engaged in a deal to acquire 80% of Newcastle United FC of the English Premier League.  Newcastle has corporate sponsorships with several gambling companies that provide sports betting, poker and casino platforms including our #4 provider listed above.  If such a deal closes, not only will the Saudi Government profit from such gambling company partnerships, Saudi football fans will no doubt have an increased interest in following Newcastle and these gambling companies could well become the preferred Saudi Arabia betting sites - even though they offer services that are in conflict with Saudi laws and cultural morays.  This is the price that the Saudi establishment may have to sacrifice in order to buy into a marketing vehicle like a Premier League club - gambling sponsorships are ubiquitous.

Last to consider, the punishment for gambling online is essentially just as severe as if you were caught in an illegal gambling den.  Thus if you decide to start playing in an online casino from Saudi Arabia, do so with a high level of discretion.  Do not talk about your gambling activities with anyone as they could report your activities to the religious police.  In the end, if you operate with discretion and use the methods we list to access and transact with casino sites from Saudi Arabia, the risks will be minimized.


How to choose the right casino site for your preferences from Saudi Arabia

On our homepage we explain how we created our list and why bigger is better when choosing an online casino.  Most of our listed gaming companies do not simply run online casino software, they operate much larger gaming platforms that include sports betting, which is a much costlier to offer and it comes with a high level of oversight and regulation.  This means that you get heightened fairness and trustworthiness with these providers, which is so very important.  Even if you actually do not care about sports, the reality is that you get the benefit of their scale.  Beyond fairness and trust, significant scale in this sense is a signal to you that they have invested in creating the highest level of casino and other complementary gaming platforms for their players to enjoy.  This is the most important consideration for you.

Once you’ve decided that you wish to play, and that there is a solid list of providers like those above, it then comes down to the casino site that matches your particular preferences and requirements.  888casino and Spin Casino both offer interfaces in Arabic for example if you prefer to play in your native language over English.  If you are particularly interested in the added value of a casino bonus, all the listed sites except Pinnacle and MarathonBet offer this to you.  Betway, 888casino and Spin Casino all offer Saudi new customers particularly large, special bonuses.  If you recognize any of the above brands, and are interested in learning more simply go back to the top and click to read their reviews.  If you are interested in a particular online or live casino game, we also breakdown the best offerings of blackjack, roulette and slots so you can easily compare and contrast the top options for these highly popular games.


Saudi Arabia Riyal (SAR) online casino accounts

For your purposes in banking and playing at an online casino from Saudi Arabia, most sites do not offer SAR accounts.  As such you will need to select an account in US Dollars, Euros or British Pounds.  In doing so, most banking methods will work more seamlessly for you.  If using an e-wallet or pre-paid solution, you will need to select or set your default denomination.  If you can, try to set your casino account to the same currency so that you may avoid excess currency conversion fees.

When it comes to a much wider range of available currencies, MarathonBet offers more than any other major gaming company, they even offer accounts in the Saudi Arabia Riyal.  This means that if you wish, you can avoid the hidden cost of exchanging your currency if you wish, though your payment method choices will certainly be fewer than if you played in another currency.  If you so desire, your credit card or Skrill e-wallet will be able to transact directly in Riyal with MarathonBet.

If you are interested in having a wider array of payment options, you may wish to see the current exchange rates for the Saudi Arabia Riyal versus the top online casino currencies here:  SAR to USD and SAR to EUR.


Saudi Arabia banking methods for online casino play

Third, you should use online casino banking methods that provide you with an additional level of anonymity.  Unless you hold a position within the country that you feel provides you with a position of safety, it is best not to transact directly with these companies from your bank account or credit card that is based in Saudi Arabia, though they are available for use.  You can use an e-wallet like EcoPayz, Skrill, Neteller or MuchBetter which is an app that you may download from the app store.  These companies are located outside of Saudi Arabia and are used for all manner of online transactions, so transacting with them is less of a risk.  You can link a bank account or credit card to these e-wallets so that your Saudi-based transactions will not be directly linked to online gambling.

You may also use a prepaid solution like paysafecard.  These are cards that that can be purchased at retail locations across Saudi Arabia and can thus be used anonymously, essentially as online cash.  To find retail location near you that sells paysafecard, visit paysafecard Saudi Arabia.  Once at your chosen casino site, on the cashier page, you will simply enter the PIN code on the card and your money will be granted to your casino account.

If you would like to make payments via Bitcoin, Marathon and Pinnacle are options that allow you to do this, which is of course a very secure & anonymous way to transact.

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