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Betting in Oman

Published on: 01/02/2016

The Sultanate of Oman is located in Southwest Asia and shares boarders with the United Arab Emirates, Yemen and Saudi Arabia. Oman consists of five different areas, Az Zahirah, Ash Sharqiyah, Al Batinah, Ad Dakhiliyah and Al Wusta. There are four administrations, Muscat, Musandam, Dhofar and Al Buraimi. Since 1970, the country has been ruled by Sultan Qaboos bin Sain al Said, under an absolute monarchy. Oman’s official currency is the Rial and Arabic is the national language.

Oman has a population of approximately 3.6 million, almost all of whom are of the Islamic faith - the country’s official religion. Many are Ibadi Muslims, while others are Sunni Muslims or Shia Jaffaris. Islam perceives gambling as the “work of Satan” and gambling in any form is strictly prohibited throughout the nation. According to the Koran, The Prophet Mohamed advocated animal competitions, but only between the men taking part in the actual events themselves i.e. owners of the animals or jockeys. This is the only accepted form of wagering to be found in Oman.

Citizens of Oman can enjoy camel races, horse racing and bull fighting; all of which have become popular despite betting on the end result being prohibited. The style of bull fighting in Oman is very different to the Spanish version as there is no matador involved; just two bulls fighting each other for a short period. Bull fights and Camel races often take place on celebrations or public holidays. Camels are trained from a young age to compete and later race at local or national events, as well as international fixtures. The best camels can reach values of more than £70,000.

Working for the Royal Palace, the Royal Horse Racing Club takes care of the thoroughbred horses, and specializes in breeding Pure Arabian horses which are highly-revered worldwide. The club also trains jockeys and helps other sporting initiatives.

Oman became a member of The World Arabian Horse Organization aka WAHO in 1979. In 2010, 52 Pure Arab mares and 21 Pure Arab stallions were officially registered in Oman.

It is generally thought that illegal gambling on horse and camel racing is extremely limited. The citizens of Oman are fond of sports including football, tennis, swimming, basketball, volleyball, handball and hockey. Gambling on any of these sports is banned; however, underground betting activities still exist. Internet sportsbooks do not exist in Oman, and those citizens who still want to gamble must do so in secret via off-shore online sportsbooks. To date, over 450 foreign betting web sites welcome play from citizens with addresses in Oman. These Sportsbooks include Ladbrokes, William Hill, Paddy Power, Betvictor and Bet365. Many also offer information using the Arabic language.