Going Online: How to Play the Lottery in the Middle East

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Most countries in the Middle East prohibit any form of gambling, including playing the lottery. This is because the countries follow strict Islamic laws that regard playing the lottery a sin.  As such, there are few state-licensed online lotteries, poker rooms, lotteries, casinos, racetracks or bookmakers.

The Koran has mentioned specific evils of gambling, including the effects it has on kids and the youth. However, the laws make an exception for players betting on horse racing activities. Saudi Arabia, for example, has two horse-racing tracks, one in Taif and the other in the country’s capital Riyadh.

However, participants can only place free bets as overseas betting is only possible if the Saudi government grants permission. Players win prizes if they predict the winner of the horse race correctly and their name chosen in a raffle. Tourists visiting the country can also participate by buying tickets in the duty-free shops set up in various airports. The raffles offer prizes as high as a million dollars in cash.

Can You Still Play the Lottery in the Middle East?

The main deterrent of participating in any form of gambling is these Middle East harshness of the punishments. For example, players found placing bets via online bookies are sentenced to a six-month jail term and caned. Other countries like China have authoritative regimes that block lottery sites working against Islamic laws.

They use firewalls to block gambling websites and those that contain content against Islam. Nevertheless, people still find ways to play the lottery. One such effective way is to use a Virtual Private Network or proxy to bypass the firewalls.

With hundreds of lottery websites expanding operations to these Middle East countries, players can now choose from hundreds of sites offering poker, online casino, sports betting and lottery options. Some sites are translated into Arabic to cater to the broader population. Additionally, more countries have become more accepting of the practice. Here’s a brief of online lottery laws in some countries:


The country allows lotteries and sports betting sites to operate, but casino gambling is only legal for foreigners. Players can also participate in online betting though it remains largely unregulated. The government has also licensed many casinos to operate through the Egyptian Tourism Authority, but only foreigners who have passports can enter these venues. The country has also set up a body to regulate lotteries, called the Lottery Coalition.


The country allows casino gambling, lotteries and online sports betting and has set up various bodies to regulate their operations. The government has set up Casino Du Liban to regulate land-based gambling and has allowed La Libanaise des Jeux website to provide online betting.

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The country allows a few lotteries to operate as long as they are set up in association with sports organizations. However, Algeria prohibits other forms of gambling, including online and offline betting activities. The Pari Sportif Algerian has been established to regulate national lottery operations in the country.

United Arab Emirates

The country expressly prohibits participating in online lotteries under the UAE Penal Code. However, there are exceptions regarding lottery-like raffles, especially if they have permission from the regulatory department.

The lotteries are usually set up in Abu Dhabi, and Dubai airports and tickets are available at duty-free shops. Players that win the lottery online at Lottoland get prizes as high as $1 million, but other draws offer motorcycles or cars.

Setting Up the VPN

A VPN allows you to hide the location you are playing the lottery at making it impossible to trace your activities. The easiest way to set it up is to use a trusted VPN service available online. The most popular are NordVPN, CyberGhost, and PrivateVPN.

You need to sign up for the service and download the client on the mobile device or computer. Then log into the program to choose the server you need to connect to depending on the location of the online lottery.

Once connected to the VPN, you easily disguise your actual location hence safe to participate in the online lottery. When done playing, disconnect the VPN to resume normal browsing.

Payment Methods When Playing the Online Lottery

Apart from using a reliable VPN to block firewalls, another hurdle lottery players face is when making payments. While the online lotteries allow citizens from Middle East countries to participate in the competitions, depositing and withdrawing cash poses a challenge.

This is because only a few sites accept the domestic currency, e.g., the Saudi Riyal for Saudi Arabia. As such, players need to convert their monies to USD, Euros or GBP to deposit cash via credit or debit cards. Since credit and debit cards can be prohibited from depositing into online gambling websites, players should consider buying prepaid cards. Person-to-person transfer payment methods like MoneyGram and Western Union and e-wallet services like Skrill, Neteller, PayPal, and PaySafeCard are also viable.

WE SAID THIS: Know your laws before playing the lottery online.

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