Gambling Laws Explained in Brunei

Brunei, a small country that was once a British protectorate, is located on Borneo Island and sandwiched between two Malaysian territories. Though small, Brunei is a wealthy nation thanks to its gas and oil exports, which has made its annual per capital income around $50,000.

Although they can enjoy a variety of benefits such as free health care and education, residents of Brunei cannot gamble freely and legally as theirs is an Islamic country that prohibits all forms of gambling. One of the major laws of the state is the Common Gaming House Act.

Section 6 (2) of Chapter 28 of this act prescribes a prison term of six months and a fine of $10,000 for any person who is found gambling or caught running away from a gambling house. Section (4) (a) prescribes a prison term of one year and a fine of $20,000 to the owner and operator of an illegal gambling outfit.

Brunei law enforcement agencies show no mercy on those involved in illegal gambling — be it sports betting, cock fighting, casino gaming, or poker. According to a Brunei Times report in January 2014, the Royal Brunei Police Force (RBPF) conducted a raid on an illegal gambling house and arrested 28 people for betting real money on games of chance. One of those arrested was a foreigner, and they were all penalized according to the above-mentioned Common Gaming House Act. The RBPF also took this as an opportunity to warn the residents against gambling.

Recently, Reuters carried a disturbing report of the Sultanate of Brunei becoming the first country in East Asia to adopt the criminal aspects of the sharia or the Islamic law. It will be brought into effect in three phases, and most of it is applicable even to non-Muslims. This makes it very dangerous for anybody to gamble in the country.