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Eritrea – Online Casinos & Gambling Regulations
Eritrea is bordered by the Red Sea to the east, with approximately 1,000 kilometers of coastline. To the northwest, it shares a border with Sudan and to the south with Ethiopia and Djibouti. The Dahlak Islands are also part of Eritrea, a coral archipelago off the coast of the city of Massawa. The official languages include Tigrinya, Arabic, and English. The country is famous for its high altitudes and its heavy Italian influence that stems from the former colonial power in the region. The two major religions of Eritrea are Christianity and Islam. For that reason, gambling is quite a controversial topic as the Quran forbids partaking in such activities. Let’s take a closer look…
Gambling is mostly unregulated but the Penal Code of the State of Eritrea (more on this below) covers this topic to some extent. As a result, there are no officially licensed casinos in the country. Certainly, there are some underground gambling activities going but taking part in such events is not advised as it is prohibited by the Penal Code. If you want to play online you can do so in foreign-based online casinos as many of them do accept players from Eritrea. Generally, there is no specific law against this, but it is not entirely without risk either – especially if you are a part of the Muslim community. If that’s the case, you should be aware that under the Quran gambling is seen as a sin and can be severely punished under Sharia law. Be aware of the following:
- Check the jurisdiction of the online casino
- Does the casino accept players from Eritrea?
- Do you have access to the accepted payment methods?
- Is the casino properly licensed to ensure fair gaming?
- Always use a VPN connection to access the casino
- Be aware of the legal situation and the risk involved
- The minimum age at most online casinos is 18
In order to get a good overview of what online casinos are suited for players from Eritrea, we recommend checking out our GoodLuckMate top lists and online casino reviews.
At this point, there are no specific gambling regulations in place within Eritrea. However, to some extent, it falls under the “Penal Code of the State of Eritrea” and is, therefore, considered to be prohibited. This means that there are no licensed casinos to be found in the country.
For online casinos, the situation is a bit more complicated. Many international online casinos accept players from Eritrea since there are no specific laws prohibiting this. But you should be aware that, according to the Penal Code, a person involved in gambling activities can be subject to penalties. Usually, players are not prosecuted but there is no guarantee that this won’t happen in the future.
On top of that, the Muslim population can be fined or jailed in accordance with Sharia law. Since about 7% of the local population has access to the internet, however, online gambling is not seen as a major threat and is mostly ignored. We have not heard of any active investigations but every player should be aware of the risks of playing on the gray market online.
It doesn’t come as a surprise that international online casino operators do not target players from Eritrea as it is a gray market. As a result, you won’t be able to find any localized version of the casino sites in wither Tigrinya, Tigre, Kunama, Bilen, Nara, Saho, Afar, or Beja. However since English is also an official language in Eritrea, you have a good alternative that is available in almost every online casino out there. English is also your best bet when it comes to customer support, as it is the most widely used language for this purpose.
The biggest problem for players from Eritrea is to make a deposit at an online casino. Since credit cards are not commonly accepted in the country, they are not widely available. As cash is the dominant form of payment here, many people do not have access to a bank account either. This combination also limits the use of eWallets such as Neteller, Skrill, or PayPal, as they require either a bank account or a credit card to get funds in and out. Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, or Litecoin might be the best option, then, considering the situation. But in reality, it is also rather difficult to get your hands on cryptos without a credit card or bank account.
Since gambling is prohibited at a local level there are no official casinos, hence gambling for Eritrean nakfa is not a real option. There are reports of underground gambling operations were Eritrean nakfa are commonly used, but it is prohibited to take part in such activities. The situation is similar when it comes to online casinos. The international online casino operators only support major currencies such as US dollars and the euro.
As previously mentioned, there are no officially licensed casinos in Eritrea, as you would expect for such a religious country under Sharia law. This is true for the land-based market, as well as online casinos. At this point, there is no indication that the government is going to change its stance on this topic. As a result of this, we predict that gambling will remain prohibited in the near future and beyond. The best option for locals is to try one of the international online casinos that are open for players from Eritrea. These are regulated in their respective jurisdictions. Online casino licenses are often issued by online gambling regulators in Malta, Curaçao, Gibraltar, or Kahnawake, amongst others. Good luck!