Betting and Islam at the 2022 World Cup

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The 2022 World Cup promises to be yet another extraordinary exhibition of the beautiful game complete with high drama, exhilarating action, and astounding physical prowess. So much so, that Qatar has settled on the campaign slogan ‘Expect Amazing’.

However, bettors venturing to the Middle East would beg to differ as the host’s legal system is a mixture of civil law and Islamic law which makes it less than amazing for betting. Under Sharia law gambling and sports betting is strictly forbidden.

The risk of betting in Qatar

Naturally, there are always risks involved with betting, but betting in Qatar carries a significantly different risk in the form of 3 months in prison plus an $800 fine according to Article 274-275 of the Qatar penal code. If you’re found to be betting in public you can count on an aggravated sentence of 6 months in prison and a hefty fine of $1900.

It’s to be expected that online betting does occur in Qatar based on the number of offshore sportsbooks that cater to Qatari residents. Of course, there are ways around it but it’s important to be aware of the risks involved and to proceed with caution and not be swept away by unwarranted bravado.

The risks of betting in Qatar entail the following:

  • You will be fined $800 – $1900.
  • The state security service can arrest and detain the accused for up to 30 days without referring the accused to the public prosecutor.
  • If found guilty of betting you’re liable to face a prison sentence of up to 3 or 6 months depending on where the gambling took place.
  • Your winnings and equipment i.e. phone or laptop will be confiscated.
  • To add insult to injury, you’ll also be fined as stated above.

Now, it might be difficult for the authorities to confiscate your winnings but it’s certainly not beyond the realm of possibility.

It’s unclear whether the police can search your phone or laptop without a warrant once they suspect you of participating in gambling. Finding Qatari documentation detailing this topic proved elusive. As such it’s advisable to encrypt and password protect your device.

With such a massive influx of tourists, it’s exponentially more difficult to track every IP address, but there’s a hitch. Under Qatari law, neglecting to inform the authorities of an offense also carries a prison sentence of up to 3 years and a maximum fine of $2800. Meaning the telco or internet service provider (ISP), hotel’s IT department or any concerned citizen may be inclined to alert the authorities of your illegal activities.

Betting in Qatar

Whether you’re opting to use roaming or getting a prepaid data SIM it’s best practice to use a virtual private network (VPN) whenever you’re betting or doing crypto transactions.

Using a reputable crypto accepting VPN certainly helps safeguard your anonymity and security, while also preventing your offshore betting sites being blocked by Qatari telcos and ISPs.

Live in-play betting while you’re at the stadium offers unbeatable thrills but be aware that network congestion could be problematic especially considering that Qatar only has 2 mobile phone operators.

What happens if I get caught using a VPN?

If you get caught using a VPN on a crypto gambling site that isn’t VPN-friendly then your account may be closed and your funds may be confiscated. VPN-friendly sites will be ok with this, and you shouldn’t have an issue with them.

We asked customer service agents from various sportsbooks and casinos about this, you can see the answers they gave here, along with the dangers of using a VPN, and the best VPNs to use.

VPN friendly sites

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