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UAE online casino play: UAE gambling laws & the wider context of gaming in the Emirates

Gambling is certainly not an activity that has received government approval within the UAE as of yet.  While the Emirates are certainly among the most progressive nations within the GCC, gambling is still outlawed, with a particular emphasis on policing illegal operations that spring up within the country.  For example, in 2013, 16 men were arrested for operating a secret casino in Dubai.  The high profile case occurred in the Jumeirah Beach Residence.  While there are many instances like this that usually involve arrests of Asian ex-patriots for organizing gambling operations, this incident involved the arrest native Emiratis, two of which were jailed for a year, and another for three months.  Although the United Arab Emirates has demonstrated its authority on this matter by arresting those individuals that operate illegal gambling rooms, the government has not moved to block all reputable casino websites for people in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Ras Al Khaimah, Fujairah or Umm Al Quwain.  

Of course, this situation is fluid in the UAE.  Through its telecommunications regulatory authority, the UAE has the right and the technical ability block any illegal content.  Although the TRA does block a lot of content for residents and citizens, casino sites have not generally been blocked in a widespread manner.  This is likely due to several key reasons.  The UAE and some of its prominent individuals have invested heavily into sport.  When invested in sport at a high level, corporate partnerships or sponsorship deals are never far away.  Gaming and betting companies always look to align their brands with sports properties as their audiences are in alignment.  For example, Manchester City (which is owned by a member of the ruling family of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Mansour ) has a corporate partnership with MarathonBet.  This partnership is one of the reasons why MarathonBet is one of the most recognized UAE betting sites.  It would be hypocritical to be in business with a gambling company on one hand, but then block said company from accessing the UAE market on the other hand.  

Furthermore, the UAE is home to many ex-patriots from western nations where online gambling is both legal and widely enjoyed.  In an effort to ensure that these people can feel at home, it seems that authorities are content to allow individuals access casino sites in the UAE, so that they may participate in what many deem to be a fairly harmless vice.  This is seen as more permissible partly because those that are interested in this activity will pursue it from the privacy of their own homes in a manner that is not disrespectful of Islamic culture in a public manner.  Online casinos allow people a private and more respectful way to play the games that they enjoy, as compared to the use of public gambling rooms.


How to choose the right casino site for your preferences from the United Arab Emirates

If you recognize some of the above brands, that is a positive thing.  On our homepage, we explained how we created our list and why bigger is better when choosing an online casino.  Unlike smaller companies that can look to focus solely on running their online casino software, most of these gaming companies run much larger gaming platforms which include sports betting, which is much costlier to operate well and comes with a high level of oversight and regulation.  This should provide you with peace of mind, knowing that your casino operator is fair and trustworthy.  Even if you do not actually care about having the ability to bet on sports as part of your gaming experience, the reality is that you will benefit from the increased scale that gaming companies with this diversity on offer.  Their large scale also ensures that they have invested in creating high-end casino and complementary gaming platforms for their customers to enjoy, which might include poker rooms, bingo or other games.  

Once you know a solid list of casino sites for the UAE like those above, it then comes down to selecting the right one for your particular preferences.  If you can play comfortably in English, you will have more choice and a better experience.  If you prefer to play in Arabic, both Spin Casino and 888casino offer at least a partial interface or site version in Arabic.  If you prefer to take advantage of bonus offers and promotions, Betway, 888casino, 10Bet, bet365, Spin Casino and Unibet have them for you.  If you don’t see a banner offer for these, don’t worry.  Simply click to visit, and the latest offer will be shown.  (Betway, 888sport and Spin Casino all offer the large casino bonuses that are special for UAE customers.  Note that you will also be able to play your desired games from your mobile from these sites should you wish to do so.

If you recognize or are interested by some of the brands above, go back to the top and click or tap to read their reviews.  If you are particularly excited to play a given casino game , we also breakdown the best offerings for live and online blackjack, roulette and slots so you can easily compare and contrast the best options for these popular games.


Emirati dirham (AED) online casino accounts

When it comes to offering wider array of available account currencies, MarathonBet and Betway are leaders and both offer casino accounts in UAE dirhams (AED).  This means that if you wish, you can avoid the hidden cost of exchanging your currency.  Your credit card or bank transfer will be able to transact directly in dirhams with either company, then you will be able to play in AED.    

Most online casinos support between four to fifteen different currencies to be used for your casino account.  For your purposes from the United Arab Emirates, making and receiving payments will be easiest if you select US Dollars, Euros or British Pounds.  Given these open your options for play, you might be interested to see the current exchange rates for the UAE Dirham versus the currencies as used from the UAE for online casino play with AED to USD and AED to EUR.


Banking methods for online casino play from the UAE

Each casino site that serves the UAE supports different methods for payment.  Credit cards are available at all the above websites.  Given the relatively progressive nature toward online casino play when done in private, you really do not need to worry about problems in using your local payment method like bank transfers or credit cards with these casino sites.  However, if you prefer to use an intermediate payment solution that provides you with heightened anonymity, these methods listed below can provide that.  Ideally, you will use the same currency for both the payment solution and your casino site account.  This will minimize currency exchange fees for you.

EcoPayz is an e-wallet that allows you to link your local credit card or bank account to make payments.   MuchBetter is an e-wallet mobile app that you may download from the app store and then fund via your UAE cards or bank account.  Pre-paid solution, paysafecard, is available in the UAE at retail locations across the country.  With paysafecard, you simply find a retailer at paysafecard UAE, go to the location and buy one or more cards.  At the casino site cashier page, enter the code on the back of the cards.  Bitcoin is also available with MarathonBet and Pinnacle to fund US Dollar betting accounts.  (E-wallets PayPal, Skrill and Neteller are NOT available for use with casino sites from the UAE).

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