Lottery laws in the UAE

Lottery laws in the UAE


Lottery laws in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are quite strict, as gambling in any form is prohibited by Islamic law, which is the primary source of law in the country. The UAE's Penal Code, Article No. 355, considers participating in any form of gambling a criminal offense, and individuals who are found guilty of doing so can face imprisonment, fines, or both. This includes participating in lotteries or other games of chance, whether online or in-person.

However, there are some exceptions to the lottery laws in the UAE. According to Federal Law No. 3 of 1987 (as amended), only companies that has been authorized under the Ministry of Economy are allowed to conduct raffles, lucky draws and lottery activities in the UAE that are available to the general public to participate. These Lucky dips are available to the public in two ways:

  1. One-time valid ticket purchase:

There are a number of lotteries are available in the UAE which includes-

  1. Emirates Draw- It is a lottery service operated by Dubai Duty Free, a company owned by Emirates; or,
  2. Mahzooz- It is an online gaming platform that allows customers to participate in daily and weekly draws, including the Mahzooz Grand Lottery, with prizes ranging from AED20,000 to AED1 million, or,
  3. The Dubai Lottery – It is a lottery system that offers prizes ranging from cars, cash prizes, jewelry, electronics and other luxury items.
  4. The Dubai Duty Free Millennium Millionaire Lottery- It is held twice a month, offering prizes ranging from one million dirhams to 25 million Where one ticket tends to cost 500 Dirhams (approx. 140 USD) each.
  5. The Finest Surprise Draw- It is held three times a year, offering prizes such as cars, luxury items, and vacations.
  6. The Dubai Sports City Daily draw- It has two draws a day, will cost 50 Dirhams (approx. 14 USD) per shot.
  7. The Dubai Gold Rush lottery - The contestants can win lots of amazing prizes without having to pay a penny.
  8. Investment based lucky draws:

National Bonds Investors has its Millionaire draws that gives chance to win one million to 3 million dirhams at a time. For example:

  1. Mashreq Bank has Mashreq Millionaire,
  2. Emirates Islamic Bank’s Kunooz millionaire certificate,
  3. ADCB Saving Banks Millionaire,
  4. ADIB Saving Banks Millionaire draw,
  5. First Abu Dhabi Banks Al Awwal Saving Certificate.

How does UAE Lottery work?

The UAE Lottery is a lottery system operated by the United Arab Emirates Government. Since, it is open to every resident of the UAE, regardless of nationality; all eligible entrants must have a valid UAE identity card. These lottery draws are held multiple times each month, on specific days and times.

By way of functioning, each ticket consists of four separate numbers; these numbers must be accurately marked on the ticket prior to being issued. When the lottery draw begins, several balls with numbers imprinted on their surface are dropped into the lottery machine. As the balls drop, random combinations of four numbers will be created. These numbers are then compared to the numbers marked on the lottery tickets, if the numbers match those of the lottery ticket, then the person who has the ticket wins a prize.

Wherein, the prize money for a UAE lottery is allocated by the Ministry of Culture and Education, a department established by the UAE government. The money is then paid in full to the winner upon verification of the correct numbers on the lottery ticket.

How to buy a lottery ticket?

Participants can purchase these tickets in various ways, that includes:

  1. Purchasing online (by visiting the official UAE Lotto website), or
  2. Purchasing at the Dubai Duty Free’s offices or retail shops located at the Dubai International Airport, or through the airline that they purchase their tickets from.
  3. Purchasing tickets by calling a hotline number or
  4. Tickets can be purchased by visiting a lottery store that can be found in large grocery stores, convenience stores, and other retail locations in the UAE.

However, as mentioned in the previous section, buyers need to select five numbers from the draw and pay the associated cost.

Can foreigners and Tourists participate in lottery?

In the case of foreigners, they may be eligible to take part in lotteries depending on where the lottery is based and where the person lives. For example, in the United States, individuals of any nationality can purchase lottery tickets by providing that they are located within the country or a U. S. international lottery provider. Additionally, some countries have international lotteries which welcome participation from individuals living in participating countries.

In the UAE, foreigners can join the draw and purchase a ticket from the Big-Ticket website www.bigticket.ae. Big Ticket raffle draws are open to many nationalities including those living outside the UAE. For participants living outside of the UAE, however, the participants are encouraged to be mindful of their local laws and regulations before entering any of the raffles. When considering participating in a lottery, regardless of nationality, it is important to check the rules and regulations of the lottery beforehand to ensure eligibility. Additionally, before purchasing a ticket, it is important to check fees and tax implications as some lotteries require payment of fees and/or taxes for foreign individuals.

Furthermore, in the case of a tourist, tourists can play in lotteries depending on where they are travelling. Every country has different regulations regarding the sale of lottery tickets and participation by tourists. In some countries, it may be perfectly fine for tourists to purchase lottery tickets from authorized vendors, whilst in other countries this may be prohibited or subject to a range of restrictions. Therefore, it’s best to check with local authorities or a lottery provider before purchasing a ticket to ensure it complies with the local laws. In the UAE, tourists can buy lottery tickets just by visiting the Dubai Duty Free website.

In summary, lottery laws in the UAE are strict, and gambling in any form is prohibited. However, lottery laws are designed to ensure that lotteries are operated in a fair and transparent manner, with appropriate oversight and regulation to protect participants and ensure that proceeds are used for the public good. While the Dubai Duty-Free Lottery is allowed, participating in any other form of lottery or gambling is illegal, and individuals who are found guilty of doing so can face severe penalties.

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