Can Tourists Play Casinos in Pakistan?


Despite the illegality of gambling in the country, some tourists may seek out this form of entertainment. This raises the question of whether tourists can gamble in casinos when gambling is prohibited in Pakistan.

In this blog post, we will explore the history of gambling in Pakistan, the laws and regulations surrounding it, and the implications of its illegal status for the country’s tourism industry.

Additionally, we will examine potential solutions to the current gambling situation in Pakistan in order to gain a better understanding of the issue and the reasons behind the ban.

History of Gambling in Pakistan


For centuries, gambling has been deeply rooted in Pakistani culture, with card and dice games being popular among people from all walks of life. However, despite its widespread popularity as a form of entertainment, gambling has not always been legal in Pakistan.

Following Pakistan’s independence in 1947, the government outlawed all forms of gambling, including casinos, lotteries, and betting shops. This measure was implemented to safeguard individuals from illegal gambling activities and combat corruption.

Despite periodic attempts to legalize gambling over the ensuing decades, the ban remained in place and those efforts proved unsuccessful. It wasn’t until 2006 that gambling was partially legalized in certain regions of the country.

In 2008, the government modified the law to permit limited forms of gambling, such as horse racing and lottery games. While this development was welcomed by many, it also sparked controversy due to perceived moral implications.

Since 2020, online gambling has been actively promoted in Pakistan, with numerous international brands such as MostBet entering the market. The country’s legislation lacks specific regulations regarding online casinos, allowing tourists to gamble online without violating Pakistani laws.

However, despite the legalization of certain gambling activities, a significant portion of the population still considers gambling immoral and contrary to Islamic teachings. Consequently, Pakistan’s gambling laws remain strict and ambiguous.

Reasons for the Ban

Gambling has been illegal in Pakistan since 1977 when the federal government enacted the Gambling Ordinance Act. The primary justification for this ban stems from the teachings of the Quran, which deem gambling a sin.

According to the Quran, the holy book of Islam, those who engage in righteous deeds, regular prayers, and charity will be rewarded without fear or grief.

Aside from religious beliefs, gambling was also regarded as a social issue in Pakistan, associated with corruption and criminal activities. Moreover, Pakistani folklore is replete with stories of individuals succumbing to gambling addiction and suffering financial ruin.

Economic factors also contributed to the ban. In a 1994 report, the State Bank of Pakistan estimated that over half of all currency transactions in the country at that time were connected to illegal gambling activities. This illicit gambling industry was believed to deprive the government of significant tax revenue. Thus, the ban was implemented to curb these activities and protect citizens from potential harm.

Consequently, the government imposed strict penalties on individuals caught engaging in illegal gambling, ranging from fines to jail sentences, depending on the severity of the offense. Despite these punishments, illegal gambling continues to persist in Pakistan today.

Consequences of the Ban


Pakistan’s longstanding ban on gambling continues to have repercussions to this day. The illegal status of gambling means that it remains unregulated, lacking safeguards to ensure fairness and protect the rights of gamblers.

Consequently, tourists from other countries who choose to gamble in Pakistan face a lack of security, increasing the risk of fraud, corruption, and other criminal activities.

Moreover, since gambling is not recognized as an official industry, employment opportunities in this sector are limited, hindering regional economic growth.

Furthermore, the illegal nature of gambling creates significant potential for money laundering and other criminal activities associated with the industry. This makes it difficult for authorities to regulate the market and apprehend those involved in illegal activities, escalating the risk of financial crimes.

Lastly, while some argue that banning gambling may help reduce addictive behavior, evidence suggests that restricting such activities can actually increase addiction rates. In certain cases, individuals may turn to more perilous forms of gambling, such as sports betting or horse racing, or resort to drugs and alcohol to alleviate the financial burden. This can exacerbate societal problems and further negatively impact the economy.

Current Situation

Gambling remains illegal in Pakistan, with legal repercussions for both citizens and tourists. Although some loopholes allow for online gambling, it is strongly discouraged. Individuals caught gambling illegally face fines or even jail time.

It is important to note that the penalties for gambling in Pakistan are significantly stricter than in other countries. Gambling is considered both a criminal offense, carrying a maximum prison sentence of up to one year, and a religious offense due to its strict prohibition in Islamic teachings.

The government has taken steps to reduce the prevalence of gambling in the country, such as imposing restrictions on foreign betting sites and their advertising. However, these measures have had limited success in deterring people from engaging in illegal activities.

Despite the ban, gambling remains popular among specific segments of the population, including tourists. Therefore, it is crucial to understand the risks associated with gambling and the consequences of violating the law while traveling in Pakistan.

What The Future Holds?


The future of gambling in Pakistan remains uncertain due to the prevailing cultural and legal restrictions. Gambling is largely prohibited in the country, with only a few exceptions such as horse racing and state-run lotteries.

The deeply ingrained religious and cultural beliefs against gambling pose significant challenges to any potential liberalization or legalization efforts. However, the rise of online gambling platforms has provided an alternative avenue for Pakistani players to engage in gambling activities.

The online sphere presents a complex situation for authorities, as regulating online gambling poses its own set of challenges. The economic potential of a regulated gambling industry, including job creation and tax revenues, could potentially influence future discussions and reforms.

Nevertheless, any significant changes in the gambling landscape of Pakistan would require careful consideration of cultural sensitivities, legal frameworks, and public opinion.