• Monday, May 20, 2024
businessday logo


These 6 countries banned sports betting, Nigeria to join soon

Proliferation of sport betting platforms

There’s no doubt that the world of sports betting is a thriving industry worldwide. In 2022, The global sports betting industry reached a market size of $242 billion, employing over 200 thousand people in a total of nearly 25 thousand businesses.

However, it is more common in some nations than others. Despite its market size, some countries across Asia, Europe, Africa, and the Americas have completely banned all activities of sports betting and restricted gambling operators from obtaining licenses to avoid economic and social crises.

In Nigeria alone, the online sports betting market is projected to reach a revenue of US$294.20mn in 2024 with a 6.92 percent year-on-year growth resulting in a projected market volume of $384.50mn by 2028. This projection may fall short, however, as Nigerian lawmakers have moved to completely prohibit sports betting in the country over concerns regarding mental health challenges and social irresponsibility.

This means that Nigeria will soon join these 6 countries where sports betting is punishable by law.

1. Qatar

Sports betting is prohibited in the islamic nation of Qatar. The latest World Cup hosts had warned football fans entering the country for the competition about this in 2022. The ban is not limited to sports betting however as all other forms of gambling operators including lotteries and casinos are denied licenses as per Qatari law.

The official state religion of Qatar is Wahhabi Sunni Islam, and its laws forbid all kinds of gambling, which influenced the ratification of the country’s anti-gambling laws. The law holds punishment for deters. Under articles 274 and 275 of Law No. 11, any form of gambling is punishable by 3 months imprisonment and a 3,000 Qatari Riyals fine. If the offender gambled in public, imprisonment is extended to 6 months. With a fine of 6,000 Qatari Riyals.

2. Brazil

Brazil is the most populous nation in South America. Its economy is the second largest in the Americas and claims the 9th largest gross domestic product (GDP) in the world. However, none of its revenue comes from sports betting as the activity is completely banned in the country.

Gambling in Brazil has been illegal for 70 years. Although the law does not explicitly ban, it mentions the prohibition of “games of chance.” The only accepted forms of gambling in Brazil remain state-run lotteries and horse race betting.

3. United Arab Emirates

All forms of gambling are prohibited in the UAE. But perhaps, it has no need for the activity as the country continues to prosper on its coveted raw materials. A third of the country’s GDP is owed to its oil revenue.

According to the country’s penal code, anyone caught in a betting game shall face not more than 2 years in jail and pay a fine of almost 50,000 AED(UAE Dirham). Meanwhile, illegal gambling operators can be sentenced to up to 10 years and fined almost 100,000 AED.

The government however made its penal code more flexible in 2020, and began construction of the Wynn Al Marjan Island, UAE’s first casino project to be completed in 4 years.

4. Brunei

This rich country in South-East Asia prohibits any kind of betting. Its penal code prosecutes sports gamblers without hesitation and any related gambling activity is penalized. The country’s Muslim law enforcement is primarily responsible for this regulation.

The Islam religion is dominant in Brunei Darussalam. According to its teachings, gambling is extremely discouraged, leading to the creation of the Common Gaming Houses Acts, which prohibits gambling without any exemptions. Even tourists must adhere to the rules and all violators, even those who “unknowingly” disobeyed the laws, may be arrested, imprisoned, or expelled.

5. Algeria

Africa’s online gambling market is expected to reach $1.62bn in revenue, statistics tell. However, not all of Africa contributes to the gambling industry. Like other forms of gambling, sports betting is also illegal in Algeria. Licenses are not issued to gambling operators and sports gamblers are prosecuted.

The Algerian constitution declares Islam as the state religion, prohibiting residents from showing behaviours incompatible with Islamic teachings, including gambling which is why it is outlawed in the country. Ultimately, regardless of religion or practice, all citizens must respect regulations, no matter what inspired their legislation.

6. Utah, USA

Sports betting is legal in the United States on a state-by-state basis. The online sports betting market in the United States is anticipated to achieve a revenue of $9.65bn by 2024. However, out of 50 American states, 2 forbid sports betting and Utah is one of them. The other being Hawaii

55% of Utahns practice Mormonism, a religion hostile towards gambling, and so in Utah, any betting activities are considered a Class B misdemeanour. That means offenders will be charged a $1,000 fine and face 6 months of imprisonment.

Hosting gambling services worsens the punishment. It is a Class A misdemeanour in Utah, an offence punishable by 1 year of imprisonment and up to a $2,500 fine.

If the members of the House of Representatives’ proposal is passed, Nigeria will become a sports betting-free zone and all gamblers will be considered offenders and prosecuted by law. The House hopes the move will reduce the crime rate and overturn eventual suicide.