Authorities in Dubai have formally denied reports that the emirate has begun issuing gambling licenses to certain hotels.
Gambling is technically not permissible in the UAE, although the government does permit some organisations to run competitions and raffles, with expressed permission from the relevant regulatory bodies.
Yet social media had begun buzzing about potential ad hoc liberalisation, with hotels being given permits to take casino-style wagers on their premises. Some has suggested that hotels would even begin operating on Eid Al-Fitr.
“What was circulated on some social media platforms about issuing permits for some establishments in Dubai to engage in gambling activity are just unfounded rumours,” the Dubai Government Media Office said on its Twitter account.
Under UAE law, illegal gambling or any thing that “disturbs the public morals” can be punished by imprisonment and fines ranging from 250,000 dirhams to 500,000 dirhams.
For online gambling the UAE stands alone in the region for implementing strict laws also. Under the country’s Cyber Crimes Law, internet service providers are required to block websites that provide gambling related content.