• English (India)
  • English (UK)
  • Deutsch
  • Suomi
  • Norsk bokmål
  • Svenska
  • 繁體中文
  • English (Canada)
  • Russian (Ukraine)
Expert review by

Why is gambling online haram in islam?

Gambling online and offline is both considered “haram” – a sin, in islam. In the holy book of muslims, the Quran, gambling is considered a sin as a great as drinking alcohol.

This does also include online casino sites and sports betting sites.

Why is online gambling banned in the Quran?

There are three arguments against gambling in the Quran:

  1. It’s addictive.
  2. It benefits the few, at the cost of the many.
  3. Money is to be earned, not won by luck.

Gambling is addictive. A similar rational is also argued towards the ban on alcohol. Addiction is bad for you, and takes away focus from the religious rules and laws. If you’re busy drinking or gambling, you will be unable to pray the required five times a day.

Few people win the jackpot, many loses smaller or larger sums of money. This is an injustice and an unfairness that the muslim prophet Muhammed recognized as a social injustice. One could argue that this is to be considered a result of its time. Losing in gambling in Muhammed’s lifetime could mean you were forced to sell your kids into slavery to cover your debts. Today, slavery is largely abolished worldwide. However, gambling losses is still carried for the most part by the poorest. This has caused some non-religious activists have nicknamed lotteries a “poor people tax”, surprisingly similar to the viewpoint Muhammed once argued.

A general principle in the Quran is that money is to be earned through honest work. Gambling allows players to earn money by luck. Some players will argue that this isn’t entirely true, or at least not for all people. Many sports bettors do well over time as a result of many hours spent studying games, reading up on player profiles, and using other sources to gain an edge against the bookmaker setting the odds. The same is true for poker players. A professional poker player will always beat a beginner over time. However, the Quran does not make a distinction between knowledge or skill-based gambling and pure games of chance.

The three most important verses in the Quran on the ban of gambling for muslim gambling players are 2:219, 5:90, and 5:91.

“They ask you about wine and gambling. Say, “In them is great sin and [yet, some] benefit for people. But their sin is greater than their benefit.”” Quran 2:219

“O you who have believed, indeed, intoxicants, gambling, [sacrificing on] stone altars [to other than Allah], and divining arrows are but defilement from the work of Satan, so avoid1 it that you may be successful.” Quran 5:90

“Satan only wants to cause between you animosity and hatred through intoxicants and gambling and to avert you from the remembrance of Allah and from prayer. So will you not desist?” Quran 5:91

Are raffles considered gambling?

While a united scholar community agree on that muslims can participate in healthy challenges, competitions, and sports without breaking the rules of the Quran, the ban on gambling is widely understood to include all games of chance – including lotteries. Does that mean raffles are haram though? Most scholars argue it depends on the intention of the player and the game. Most consider promotional gifts, such as the opportunity to win a cash prize if you buy a product, to be within the rules.

Does halal gambling exist?

Halal is the opposite of haram. While haram is what are not allowed, halal is what are allowed. While most gambling is not allowed in islam, it is possible to gamble while still being a faithful muslim. Faithful muslims can for instance play on social casinos, for example on Facebook or on mobile apps. When playing on social casinos, you’re not playing with real money. You can often win points however, that can be traded in for gifts or prizes, but this takes time and it’s closer to promotional gifts than gambling prizes.

Tanve Clarke
Tanvi Clarke

Casino Specialist

Tanvi has been a writer, reviewer and a casino expert at SuperLenny India for over a year. She studied in graduated from IGNOU The People’s University in Delhi with a M.A. in English.