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Pakistan – Online Casinos & Gambling Regulations
The Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a country with a booming population. Currently standing at over 212 million strong, Pakistan is ranked as the fifth most populated country in the world and is close to surpassing Indonesia as the most populous Muslim country in the world. Normally, such a large market potential would instantly draw in the eyes of many industries, online casinos included. Muslim culture considers gambling to be an earthly pleasure, however, and therefore, the country has a complete ban on practically all gambling-related activities. This tends to be the case across most of the Muslim majority countries, although it has often been proven that prohibition does not stop people from seeking it out anyway.
Residents of Pakistan are still able to access online casinos, despite the current prohibition. These sites operate from abroad and are generally licensed to provide their services in only specific regions. The responsibility of blocking access to these sites remains squarely on the government and as is the case with most governments, Pakistan’s is simply not equipped or focused on finding and blocking all of these sites. As such, residents can still play online, but without official oversight by an industry authority or the option of taking legal recourse should anything go wrong. The lack of oversight also makes it attractive for black market operations to set up shop, as they are less likely to face legal scrutiny. That is why you need to ensure that you remain extra vigilant if you are adamant about playing online despite the added risk.
- Is the casino licensed?
- What is the reputation of the licensing body?
- What do reviews say about the casino?
- Will you be able to deposit with your preferred payment methods?
- Does the site have a loyalty program to participate in?
Sticking with a trusted review site like GoodLuckMate ensures that you can keep yourself informed, as well as avoiding any pitfalls. Our casino reviews are written by unbiased industry veterans, covering aspects such as game selections, payment options and licensing status. Make sure you check it out before signing up at any online casino.
Gambling has remained illegal in Pakistan since it became independent from the British Raj back in 1947. The legal status was then cemented in the 1977 Gambling Prevention Act. This is owed to the fact that Pakistan is predominantly Muslim, whose beliefs go against gambling and the law, has therefore not been changed in over 40 years. The government is able to hand out rather severe punishments for breaching this law, especially in the case of an operator who could easily face jail time. It must however be said that the laws of Pakistan only extend to the nation’s borders and establishments based overseas are therefore not subject to it. This ironically makes it much safer for players to stick with online venues rather than finding local black market operations.
The only legal activity coming close to gambling in the country is price bonds that are instead considered an investment with quarterly draws and therefore not gambling.
Even though players might still be able to access online casinos from a restricted territory, those sites will generally not reciprocate with dedicated localization options. The fact that you can already access the site is enough of a gray zone without having to consider the implications of targeting marketing and other strategies towards a clearly positioned nation’s citizens. You should therefore not expect much in the way of promotional eligibility and it will therefore be best to look for a site that provides a strong and valuable loyalty program that all players can benefit from instead. That isn’t to say that there isn’t something for Pakistani players though. English is the default language of the majority of sites and those that offer sports betting will generally also be happy to include Pakistani events like cricket and football matches.
Due to the legal restrictions in place, it is very unlikely for an online casino to allow players to deposit with Pakistani Rupees. There just simply isn’t much incentive for a site to set up the infrastructure to provide a currency used by the residents of a restricted territory. You will therefore most likely be asked to choose to use either US dollars or euros to play with, which naturally will incur some currency conversion fees. Casinos will generally offer a variety of payment cards, e-wallets and bank transfer options to make payments with. Cryptocurrencies have been a recent hit in the industry as well, especially for those whose local currency is not usually supported. Pakistani banks are currently banned from dealing in cryptocurrencies, which gives a clear indication of the government’s stance on the currency, but that hasn’t stopped players from adopting it anyway.
Pakistan has been really notable for its population growth over recent years with no sign of stopping. This population size is not only very attractive for any intrepid entrepreneurs but also represents a growth of lost potential tax revenues. As people continue to play online, despite what the law tells them, more and more revenues are given to overseas operations who will instead be paying taxes in the country they are headquartered in. This is the unfortunate consequence that any country with restricted gambling laws must face, which only becomes more apparent as the size of potential players grows. This does provide mounting pressure on lawmakers to come up with a more fitting compromise to ensure that people who want to play have the option to do so, while providing direct benefits back to the country through taxable revenues and employment opportunities.