Blackjack enthusiasts living in the United Arab Emirates have a number of online casino options available to them to play real money 21 on the Internet, but current gambling laws in place for UAE residents makes the legality of accessing such websites a little ambiguous. Brush up on the latest legislation in our guide to UAE blackjack casinos.
Best online casinos for players from UAE
Overview of gambling regulations in the United Arab Emirates
The United Arab Emirates (UAE), sometimes called the Emirates, is a country in Western Asia, described as a federal monarchy. It borders Oman (to the East), Saudi Arabia (to the South), Qatar (to the West) and Iran (to the North). The population of the UAE is approximately 9.2 million people, of which approximately 1.4 million are UAE citizens and approximately 7.8 are expatriates (people who live outside of their native country). The nation is a federation made up of seven emirates, each governed by an Emir. These emirates include: Abu Dhabi (the capital), Ajman, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras al-Khaimah, Sharjah and Umm al-Quwain.
The United Arab Emirates is an Islamic nation, and governed by theocratic rule (Islam and its texts act as the basis for the country’s federal and emirate laws). In most interpretations of Islam, gambling is forbidden, and so is the case in the UAE.
Interestingly, while gambling is strictly prohibited in the UAE, Dubai does host the Dubai World Cup Night – a series of eight thoroughbred horse races and one purebred Arabian race, and it is the single richest day of thoroughbred racing in the world (offering up prize money totalling more than 27.25 million US dollars). The Dubai World Cup Night is administered by the Emirates Racing Authority.
However, gambling on the event within the UAE borders is not allowed. Additionally, no casinos, poker rooms or other gambling venues exist inside the UAE borders, but there are ample reports of many underground and unlawful gambling dens existing. It is not recommended to take part in these activities, with the government carrying out action to shut down as many of these facilities as possible, and enforcing strict punishment on those found operating and participating in such forms of gambling.
Online real money gambling laws in the UAE
Gambling online is prohibited in the United Arab Emirates, according to the Internet Access Management policy that is implemented by the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority. The Internet Access Management policy blocks any service provider from offering the following online content:
- Gambling websites
- Internet tools that can bypass blocked content
- Content that teaches criminal skills
- Content that promotes illegal drugs
- Pornography and nudity websites
- Websites that endorse hacking
- Content offensive to religion
- Downloadable spyware content
- Terrorism content
Sheikh Khalifa, the President of the United Arab Emirates, issued a decree in 2012 tightening the restrictions surrounding transmitting, publishing or promoting pornography, gambling activities and other acts considered indecent. Reports suggest the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority directs its attention chiefly on limiting websites promoting pornographic and nudity content, while gambling sites tend to take a back seat.
So while offering online casinos are prohibited and regulated, online gamblers based in the UAE are able to work around these restrictions and access gaming websites that are licensed in foreign jurisdictions, through Web proxy servers and connecting to virtual private/remote networks outside of the United Arab Emirates.
Many Internet gambling operators, although in violation of the UAE law, continue to provide their gambling services and products to UAE citizens because they have yet to face any repercussions.
Even taking that all into consideration, foreign companies do continue to provide real money blackjack and other gaming services to UAE residents, and UAE residents continue to access these services. There have been no reports of punishments handed out to residents or operators for engaging in and/or providing gambling services over the Internet, such as blackjack casino sites.
Note: According to article 414 of the UAE Penal Code, anyone residing in the UAE that gambling on the Internet can be punished by detention for a maximum time of two years or by a fine not exceeding 20,000 dirhams. According to article 415 of the UAE Penal Code, anyone in the UAE that is found to be offering or running online gambling services can be imprisoned for a maximum period of 10 years.
Best deposit options for United Arab Emirates players
Popular deposit and withdrawal methods that are used by UAE citizens at the our recommended online blackjack casinos include:
- Direct wire transfers via Internet banking systems
- Virtual wallets such as Neteller and Skrill
- Pre-paid cards such as Paysafecard
The best and safest way to deposit money to play at online casinos from the United Arab Emirates is by using Paysafecard. It is a pre-paid voucher with a unique 16-digit pin number that you can buy at several outlets in Dubai and across the UAE. You can buy multiple Paysafecard vouchers in increments of $10, $20, $50 and $100 and use multiple Paysafecard vouchers to deposit your money at an online casino. You just have to choose it as the deposit option and type in the 16-digit number of each of your vouchers. You can also use Paysafecard to withdraw your money if you win, without issue. Paysafecard is ideal in the UAE because it provides additional privacy and security (you are not linking your personal banking details to the casino).
Another safe deposit and withdrawal option for UAE players is Neteller. It is a virtual wallet, meaning it only exists in the online space and you can load funds into your Neteller account by using your card or bank transfer. It acts as a middle-man, meaning it gives you extra privacy and security to deposit and withdraw your money into and from online casinos. It also allows higher deposit limits than Paysafecard if you want to make bigger bets.
Unfortunately, Western Union is not a recommended deposit option for United Arab Emirates players. It also is not very commonly supported at the best online casinos these days due to problems with its service. One of the other options we listed above is much safer for UAE-based players in the long-run.
One particular online casino which makes it easy and hassle-free for United Arab Emirates players to deposit money and play blackjack and other games for real money online is Royal Vegas Casino, which fully supports both Neteller, Paysafecard and a bevy of other deposit options. They have a low $10 minimum deposit amount and an unlimited maximum deposit amount, making it ideal for high-stakes players who want to bet in big amounts. Sign up via our links to safely sign up from the UAE and claim exclusive welcome bonuses to kick-start your casino account with bonus cash and free spins to use on the slots.
All financial transactions at the listed blackjack casino platforms are protected with the latest secure socket layer digital encryption technology to ensure your personal details are secure.
Currencies accepted by UAE online blackjack casinos
The currencies accepted by the online blackjack casinos we have listed on this page do not include the United Arab Emirates Dirham. However, your funds can easily be transferred to any of the following accepted currencies that are available:
- Argentine Peso
- Australian Dollar
- Brazilian Real
- British Pound Sterling
- Canadian Dollar
- Danish Krone
- Indian Rupee
- Japanese Yen
- Malaysian Ringgit
- Mexican Peso
- Moroccan Dirham
- New Zealand Dollar
- Norwegian Krone
- Swedish Krona
- Swiss Franc
- US Dollar
What lies ahead in the future for gambling in the UAE?
The anti-gambling stance of the UAE is not likely to change any time soon. The deeply religious country is governed by Islamic law (Sharia) and many Islamic adherents and fundamentalists believe gambling is extremely evil. It is more likely that gambling regulations may tighten in the future rather than loosen, if current actions are anything to go by (Poker Stars and Full Tilt Poker recently left several markets, including the UAE, to ensure they were not in violation of any laws). We will update this page if any changes occur in regards to online and offline gambling in the United Arab Emirates.