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Is Betting Legal in Pakistan?

Pakistan has a distorted history when it comes to gambling and laws surrounding it. At present, all betting activities in the country are strictly governed by local authorities. This is also because of the Shariah laws that forbid such activities.

Over time, religious beliefs converged with the written laws, resulting in the outright ban on any type of gambling. This also led to the establishment of the Prevention of Gambling Act of 1977.

In general, betting is not legal in Pakistan, so it is not advised to take part in online betting sites in Pakistan.

History of Betting Laws in Pakistan

In 1979, a local military ruler named General Mohammed Zia-ul-Haq legalized horse race betting much to the chagrin of the majority of the population. In the 1990s, cricket betting was at its peak, as few national cricketers were accused of trying to bribe their Australian counterparts.

Later, in 2010, several members of the Pakistan national cricket team were again charged with taking bribes to underperform against England. This resulted in an overall discontent among the general public and politicians alike, who demanded strict governance on gambling.

Now, as far as online betting in Pakistan goes, it falls under the general terms of the Prevention of Gambling Act of 1977, technically blocking any type of wagering activities.

So, does this mean that the international bookmakers adhere to the local laws, thus, not marketing their products in the country? Not necessarily, as they still invite Pakistani locals to gain membership on their platform. However, we would not advise doing this.

Which Provinces in Pakistan Have Banned Gambling?

Gambling is illegal in all four provinces of Pakistan, with penalties of up to 1000 PKR and/or prison sentence imposed. Reports of numerous citizen arrests are common every year, but that has not prevented people from exploring new avenues to earn cash rewards online.

Authorities have not taken upon themselves a witch hunt to find gamblers, but you are always taking a risk if you do take part in online betting in Pakistan.

In the below table, you can see the legal gambling status across the different provinces in Pakistan.

Province Legal
North West Frontier Province No
Punjab No
Sindh No
Balochistan No

Bookmakers are constantly on the lookout for new markets to service their products and Pakistan is no different regardless of its gambling status. We would not recommend signing up with a bookmaker in any country where gambling is forbidden, including Pakistan.

Can Pakistanis Bet at Online Bookmakers?

Yes, as a citizen of Pakistan, you can theoretically bet at online bookmakers, but that would require you to go beyond the law.

We suggest following the law and not creating an account at an online bookmaker if this is illegal in your country.

How Old Do You Have to Be to Bet Online in Pakistan?

Pakistan does not have a minimum age for online betting, because placing bets online is forbidden in the country. In case you are not residing in Pakistan, you must be 18 years of age or older to register with an online bookmaker.

A dedicated team will verify all the documents you submit to confirm that you are of the legal age. The gambling websites are monitored by the authorities from where they operate.

In addition to ensuring fair play, these professionals also make sure that no member under the age of 18 becomes a member. If a bookmaker allows a person under 18 to gamble on their platform, they may be summoned and penalized by the gambling authorities.

What are Good Bookmaker Licenses?

Without proper licensing, an online bookmaker cannot legally operate. You will find websites that carry licenses issued by their respective local governing authorities. Some of the most common licenses are highlighted below –

  • Curacao eGaming: Among online bookmakers, the Curacao eGaming license is a popular choice. It comprises a regulatory framework to provide services on the Internet. Its quick licensing process and flexibility allows businesses to enter various world markets while complying with local laws and regulations
  • Malta Gaming Authority (MGA): The Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) is responsible for overseeing the activities of online gaming operators. It is notorious for some of the most stringent licensing standards, but they allow it to provide a secure and safe gaming environment
  • United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC): UKGC, or the United Kingdom Gambling Commission, supervises all existing forms of gaming in the United Kingdom region. Like MGA, it is famous for strict licensing standards and facilitating transparency and responsible gambling practices
  • Gibraltar Regulatory Authority (GRA): The Gibraltar Regulatory Authority (GRA) oversees broadcasting, telecommunications and data protection in Gibraltar. It promises privacy, compliance with international gambling standards, and fair competition
  • Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission: The Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission operates in the Isle of Man, offering licenses and regulating gambling companies in the region. It follows a rigorous regimen to provide security and safety to gamblers, ensuring the growth of the betting industry

Conclusion

Betting activities are declared illegal in Pakistan due to the Shariah law and the fact that gambling is forbidden in Islam. While the chances of getting caught are extremely low, we recommend not signing up with any betting site if you are currently in Pakistan.

When you are in any other country in the region, you can sign up with an online bookmaker and place bets as you please. If you are curious about the legality of betting in other countries in the region, check out the following sources:

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