As a nation based on the laws of Islam, Pakistan forbids most forms of gambling. Horse racing betting and specific lottery-style games (prize bonds) are permitted, but actual casino gambling is prohibited across the land. However, that does not mean you’re out of luck if you came here looking for online casinos in Pakistan.
Anyone familiar with Pakistan will know that in many cases that if our law says one thing, the people tend to do the exact opposite. The same holds true with gambling. Underground gambling and poker games are very common across Pakistan and many foreign casino sites accept Pakistani players knowing that our country is chock-full of gambling enthusiasts.
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The best Pakistani casino sites are located in foreign nations where gambling is legal, but they are readily accessible online. The casinos that you see recommended on this page accept players from all around the world, including Pakistan. The only thing you need is a computer, smartphone or tablet and an internet connection.
Before you rush off to gamble online, you should be aware that participating in unlawful gambling is a crime in Pakistan. In many countries, anti-gambling laws only target the operators of unlawful gambling games. That is not the case in Pakistan. Our gambling laws do apply to players and you can be charged for participating even as a player.
Fortunately, authorities appear to focus their efforts mostly on gambling in the real world. Very rarely are people arrested for the act of visiting online casinos in Pakistan. Note that this is not a guarantee, but it does inspire some confidence that you should be safe if you decide to play online. Just make sure you do it in private and not at a public internet café or anywhere else where other people can observe you.
If you keep your gambling private and do it at home, you should be fine. The government has so far made no attempt to shut down Pakistani casino sites headquartered in other countries. And as far as we know, it does not scan the internet looking for people accessing online casinos.
Our primary gambling laws were written well before the internet and thus do not properly address online casinos in Pakistan. What’s interesting is the current legal situation actually makes it significantly safer to gamble online than to place wagers with local casinos run by criminal groups.
To take it even further, foreign casino sites that are licensed by reputable governing bodies (such as the UK Gambling Commission) offer the closest thing to guaranteed safety. UK-based casino sites may not be regulated here in Pakistan, but they are closely monitored for fair play by their home country. The best part of all is that the vast majority of foreign casino sites accept Pakistani players due to our laws failing to address online gambling whatsoever.
Online Gambling Laws in Pakistan
The most relevant piece of gambling legislation in Pakistan is the 1977 Gambling Prevention Act. The act prohibits the operation of “common gaming houses” and being found in such a place.
The penalty for operating or managing a common gambling house is a prison term ranging from one month to one year and a fine of 100 to 1000 rupees. If you’re found in a common gambling house, the penalty is imprisonment for up to one year and a fine of up to 5000 rupees.
Although Pakistani authorities do not often bother with online gambling at the time, it would be wise to keep up to date with local gambling news to ensure nothing changes in the future. The law’s definition of “common gaming house” is quite broad and is sometimes used to prosecute online gamblers.
Here’s how the law defines the phrase “common gaming house”:
“…any house, room, tent, enclosure, vehicle, vessel or other place whatsoever in which any instruments of gaming are kept or used for gaming purposes.”
The 1977 Gambling Prevention Act also provides punishments for gambling in public places or in private places. Anyone caught gambling in a public place can be imprisoned for up to one year and fined up to 500 rupees. Additionally, anyone caught gambling in a private place can be imprisoned for up to two years and fined up to 1000 rupees.
Repeat offenders can also receive enhanced sentences. Anyone convicted of violating any aspect of the Public Gaming Act for a second time can be imprisoned for up to three years and fined up to 2000 rupees.
Depositing at Online Casinos in Pakistan
Our restrictive gambling laws have sometimes made it difficult for Pakistani players to fund their gambling accounts, but things have improved on that front in recent years. Today, players from Pakistan have multiple options to make real money deposits and then cash out their winnings.
If you have a credit or debit card linked to a local ban, you may be able to use your card to make an instant deposit. We have read reports stating that players’ deposits are sometimes blocked when attempting to fund their accounts. If you do have problems depositing with your credit or debit card, consider it a minor obstacle. There are still other options.
Two other options worth pursuing are Skrill and Neteller. Both are e-wallets that basically act as virtual wallets in which you can hold your money, make payments and receive cashouts from casino sites. Neteller used to block Pakistani registrations, but they have since changed their stance and now accept Pakistani customers.
You can visit either website to sign up for an e-wallet account and then run through a quick verification process to verify your identity. Then, you can fund your e-wallet with a credit card, debit card or direct bank transfer. From there, it’s a simple matter of logging in to your online gambling account and transferring the money from your Neteller or Skrill account.
Wes Burns co-founded OnlineCasinoSites.com with a mission to help gamblers understand and navigate the regulated online casino market in all countries around the world. Wes is a respected gambling journalist, working in the industry since 2008.