Gambling Laws in Qatar; Online & Offline

Gambling is strictly illegal in Qatar as it is an Islamic country. Although the residents of Qatar are fond of different types of sports, ranging from camel racing to cricket, placing bets on any sport is illegal as per the country’s gambling laws. Residents and tourists will not find any legal poker clubs, bingo halls, or casinos in Qatar.

This does not mean that illegal gambling does not take place in Qatar. In fact, people are fond of placing bets on the sly. Qatar is home to gangs that organize illegal games of poker in the houses of businessmen who are either on a business trip or on vacation. The gangs bribe the caretakers and organize illegal games in the house. They send text messages to players half an hour before a game is scheduled to begin and keep 10 percent of the winnings as profit. As many as 25 players turn up for each illegal game.

The Popularity of Camel Racing

Camel racing is such a lucrative sport in Qatar that a good camel can fetch prizes in six figures for its owner. Unfortunately, the country attracted international attention for its cruel use of young children, mostly as young as four, as jockeys in its camel racing industry. Most of these children were trafficked from Sudan and treated very cruelly.

In 2003, the US warned Qatar that it would break off trade relations with the country if it did not ban the use of child jockeys in camel races. Finally in Dec 2004, the government of Qatar declared that it would ban the use of children as jockeys and consider using robot jockeys instead. The following year, Qatar purchased a number of robot jockeys from a company based in Switzerland.

Offshore Internet Bookies

So, as one can see, there aren’t any legal sports betting options for bettors in Qatar. Since the national religion of Qatar forbids gambling, the country tries to block offshore online bookies that accept bets from its residents. However, these efforts are rather half-hearted, as a result of which a number of bettors from Qatar sign up at offshore online sportsbooks to place bets on their favorite games.