Thinking of gambling in Qatar? In short, don’t.
If you’re really determined, however, there are ways and means, the same way as there are ways and means in pretty much every country of the world if you’re keen or desperate enough.
Despite its official stance on gambling, the country has more than its share of ardent gamblers, particularly when it comes to horse and camel racing. If you’re more of a roulette connoisseur, you’ll struggle to find a premises where you can savour your casino game of choice. Thanks to the wonder that is the internet, however, there are thousands of casinos waiting for you. All you gotta do is find a means of accessing them.
What’s the Deal with Qatar?
Qatar is a small, oil-rich Arab country that’s prized for its beaches, sand dunes and vertiginous skyscrapers. The capital Doha is particularly impressive, with buildings that seem to touch the clouds plus major cultural highlights such as the Museum of Islamic Art.
In some respects, Qatar is the epitome of a modern and forward-thinking society. Indeed, from a distance, its futuristic buildings and bright lights give it the air of being a gaming resort in the vein of Vegas. Yet despite all the money sloshing around in the country, one thing you won’t find is a single casino.
If the sound of a ball tumbling its way around a roulette wheel is music to your ears, prepare to be bitterly disappointed. Qatar can offer many things, but licensed casinos is not one of them.
The Law on Gambling in Qatar
As a Muslim country, Qatar has strict policies on all habits that are deemed to be haraam. Pornography? Haraam. Alcohol? Haraam. Gambling? Totally haraam. That’s just the way Sharia law works, based on the teachings of the Koran.
In neighbouring Dubai, gambling is also outlawed but sports gambling is permitted within a handful of licensed premises. Not so in Qatar, despite the country’s similar love of horse and camel racing. Sports are extremely popular in Qatar, and where there are sports there’s generally sports betting.
Officially, that’s not the case in Qatar, but unofficially the black market in sports betting and other gambling activities is in rude health. If you’re clued up and happen to meet the right contacts, you might even find yourself in one of the unlicensed casinos that flourishes in all countries that have the temerity to outlaw such activity.
Don’t expect to find yourself in the Bellagio however: by necessity you’re more likely to wind up in a pokey back room playing roulette with a handful of like-minded souls. For those who like living dangerously, there’s no disputing the thrill that such an experience will engender, but it’s worth considering the consequences should you get caught.
What the Law Says About Gambling Online in Qatar
A better option, if you’re determined to play roulette, is to do so online instead. Technically it’s just as illegal as playing at an unlicensed casino, but it’s far easier to avoid detection. Many Qatar-based players get their gambling fix in this manner, but to join them you’ll need to exercise a modicum of discretion and a dash of technical nous.
The Qatar government has endeavoured to prevent all access to overseas online casinos. For the most part, it has failed in this endeavour. Whether this reflects incompetence on their part of merely illustrates the size of the elephant in the room they’re attempting to conceal is hard to tell; perhaps a bit of both.
As many countries have found to their dismay, it’s extremely difficult – nigh impossible – to shut off parts of the internet you don’t like. Where there’s a will there’s a way, as the saying goes, and the will to gamble online in Qatar is every bit as strong as it is in nations where the pastime is permitted.
To date, there have been no reports of individual users being targeted by the Qatar government and penalised for doing so. Should you attempt to gamble online while in the country, however, bear in mind that it is illegal to do so, and thus you’ll want to keep such matters to yourself.
How to Play Online Roulette in Qatar
If you’re determined to play roulette and other casino games while in Qatar, you’ll need to find a means of circumventing the government’s attempts at web filtering.
While a modicum of technical knowledge will be required to do so, you don’t have to be a leet hacker; possessing the ability to set up a VPN should suffice.
Alternatively, you may have joy with a web proxy or Tor browser. While the government of Qatar has made no secret of its thoughts on gambling, and has done its utmost to restrict access to overseas casinos, the foreign casinos themselves have no problem with Qatar-based players signing up. Indeed, some even go out of their way to target players from Qatar and the UAE.
Depositing Money into a Roulette Account
If you’re planning to play roulette or other casino games while in Qatar, you’ll need to find a payment mechanism that will avoid detection. If you’re a non-resident merely in the country for business or pleasure that shouldn’t be a problem: either pre-fund your account before you travel, or do so while you’re out there using a secure payment method. Even credit card should work, if it’s issued by a non-Qatar company.
If you do live in Qatar, however, and would like to play a spot of roulette, choose a deposit method that won’t be tied to you.
Credit card is obviously out, but e-wallets are an option as they effectively provide a layer of obfuscation between your bank and the final destination – the casino. Many e-wallets and other alternative payment methods won’t be available in Qatar, but a few should.
What’s more, if you’re using a VPN or similar tool to spoof your IP, you should have no problems with funding your casino account in the process, as your geo-location won’t show up as originating in Qatar.
The Future of Gambling in Qatar
For the foreseeable future, it’s unlikely there’ll be any sort of major policy change regarding gambling in Qatar. The Koran is the Koran, and so long as the sacred texts don’t change, the government’s policy on gambling won’t either. That being said, Dubai is also a Muslim emirate and it permits sports betting.
If anything gives in Qatar, it’s much more likely to be sports betting than it is to be casino play. If you’re determined to play roulette while you’re out there, do so online. Black market gambling in the country just isn’t worth the risk.
Is gambling legal in Qatar?
Does that mean gambling doesn’t happen?
There’s a lot of gambling in Qatar but it’s unofficial and unregulated, conducted behind closed doors.
What about online gambling?
That’s illegal too, but many Qatar residents do so anyway.
What would happen if I got caught gambling in Qatar?
It’s unlikely that you would be subjected to any harsh penalties, but you probably don’t want to risk it just the same.
Is it easy to gamble online from Qatar?
With a modicum of technical knowledge, the process is straightforward. All you have to do is outwit the internet filtering measures that are in place. These are designed to prevent Qatar players from accessing online casinos.