The gambling laws in the United Arab Emirates are defined in the 2012 decree passed by Sheikh Khalifa. The decree is quite clear and extensive regarding the prohibition of online and offline casinos. Residents are also not allowed to take part in any form of gambling.
However, the law does have some exceptions regarding gambling among tourists. A few land-based casinos are licensed to provide gambling services to specific tourists. Such casinos are generally operated on cruise ships.
There is also an exception for players to bet on sports they actively participate in. That means that players are allowed to bet on the sports they play, as long as they do not involve any third-party gambling providers. That is because the law only prohibits transactions with third-party gambling providers. Players are also limited to betting on the particular events they participate in and not the sport in general.
The Cyber Crime Law
The Cyber Crime Law is designed to prevent individuals from publishing, producing, exploiting, or transmitting any material that can prejudice public morals, including gambling materials. According to article 17 of the Cyber Crime Law, offenders can be imprisoned or fined 250,000 - 500,000 dirhams.
The Penal Code
The Penal Code contains most of the United Arab Emirates online and offline gambling laws. The Penal Code describes all the possible punishments prescribed to individuals or organizations that break any of the gambling laws. For example, article 414 of the UAE Penal Code defines the punishment for gambling illegally as two years imprisonment or up to 20,000 dirhams fine. Article 121 of the Penal Code dictates that a foreigner who gambles illegally faces the same penalty, which can be changed to deportation from the UAE by the court.
The Quran prohibits all forms of gambling, stating that gambling is immoral. The United Arab Emirates follows the teaching of the Quran, and the government promotes following the teachings even when they are not formally passed as law. Most of the residents are guided by religious teachings, meaning that they abide by the religious rules.