The Gambling Laws of Bangladesh

As the second most populated Islamic nation, you can probably imagine – gambling (other than on horse racing) is not allowed under Laws of Bangladesh. Despite the laws of the land and sharīʿah much gambling does happen here. It is not uncommon for friends to wagers with each other on the results of cricket, kabadi, carom and other sports. There are many other opportunities to gamble too. In this article I’ll discuss local law, the most popular forms of gambling here, and how no gaming sites accept players from Bangladesh due to grey laws and IP blocking. You can try www.Royalpanda.com, they work sometimes from Bangladesh but they don’t have sport bets, yet.

Bangladesh Gambling Law

Our gambling law dates to the era of British rule. The Public Gambling Act of 1867, initially created as an India gambling law and inherited by Pakistan, is the basis for our law. We declared this on 30 June, 1973 which was two years after our independence from Pakistan. At the time we also repealed section two, and amended sections three and four. It has been modified a few times to allow certain lotteries (rare), to clarify prize bonds are not gambling, and to add 21% tax charged to horse racing tote and bookmaker operators.

Under the law of the land, the penalty for being caught gambling is up to 1 month in prison and small fine of 100 taka ($1.25 USD). About a decade ago there was a push to increase the fine to 5000 taka. This never came to be and the law is only selectively enforced. This is despite the fact our constitution says “the State shall endeavor to prevent gambling and prostitution”.

Violating our own constitution, prostitution was legalized here in 2000. Furthermore: the pool-clubs, restaurants, and café’s people gather at to make spot bets on cricket are mostly well-known. The police only make occasional raids. It is as if this is to more dispel the idea our nation has rejected the Sunnah than to actually prevent non-halal activity. For a nation that is over 90% Islamic and renewed Islam as our national religion in 2011, this is in many ways Ironic. The fact however remains – Bangladeshi people like to and will continue to gamble.

Online Betting from Bangladesh

Online betting has only recently become popular in Bangladesh. The websites that our players use are foreign ones. These are licensed in other places of the world such as the United Kingdom. One of the most used websites is www.bet365.com which is licensed in the UK and owned by the same family that owns the English Premier League football franchise Stoke City FC. This is a very good company.

At Bet365 it is possible to bet Bangladesh Premier League (BDL), Kabadi World Cup and international sports televised here such as EPL and La Liga football and IPL cricket. They are very popular for cricket spot-bets and in-play betting. Here you can bet match winner straight or with a spread. You can bet total runs, most match sixes, next dismissal, innings runs, session runs, dismissal method, next over runs, and much more. They also offer horse race betting, casino games, online poker, and bingo from the same account.

Depositing and Getting Paid

For online betting from Bangladesh, opening a www.neteller.com account is suggested. This is an e-wallet that works like an online bank account. Because they do not offer accounts in Bangladeshi taka (BDT) you should open you account in United States dollar (USD).

Once your account is opened you should apply for a NETELLER NET+ card also in USD. This is a free card that has a MasterCard symbol on it. You can use it to spend your NETELLER balance anywhere MasterCard is accepted including both in-person and online. You can also use the card to withdrawal your NETELLER balance at an ATM.

With NETELLER it is possible to move money between online betting sites. Let’s say you have $300 in your BET365 account and you want to try two new sites and spend $100. You can withdrawal $300 from Bet365 to NETELLER. You can then use NETELLER to deposit $100 to Ladbrokes, $100 to Betfair and can take the final $100 out at any local ATM (the ATM will convert dollar to taka for you).

Initially to get started there are three way to add money to your NETELLER account.

  1. Credit or Debit Card – The problem with this method is not all cards are accepted. You’ll need an international debit card approved for internet transactions such as this one by Standard Chartered. Even though approved for online transactions these cards do not always work with NETELLER.
  2. Bank Transfer – The challenge with this method is that Bangladesh has strict rules for remitting funds out of the country. You may be able to get around this by using Sonali Exchange. See their website www.sonaliexchange.com for details.
  3. Transfer Service – If you search the internet for items such as purchase NETELLER Bangladesh you can find local companies that sell NETELLER cash for a small fee. This method is risky as sometimes these sites are scams. You can do this in very small increments many times. This way you do not lose a lot of money if it is a scam. In time you can find which are honest.

Also it is a good idea to also have account with NETELLER’s e-wallet competitors www.skrill.com and www.entropay.com. If you get international debit cards from Bangladeshi banks you can try the card at all three e-wallet sites. EntroPay is more expensive for fees but seems to take more cards than NETELLER. Initially getting set-up to bet online is a hassle. But once you have money at online betting sites moving it around between these e-wallets and cashing out your winning is easy.

Legal Gambling in Bangladesh

As mentioned in the introduction, horse race betting is legal in Bangladesh. It might also be permissible under sharīʿah for reasons explained in my article on Pakistan betting law. Of course most Bangladeshi people do not live near a track so this might not be an option. What is an option is buying prize bonds.

Prize Bonds in Bangladesh

In June 1974 the government began issuing prize bonds, originally costing 10 taka per. These were increased to 50 taka bonds in 1985 and to their current cost of 100 taka per in 1995. These are bearer instruments the holder owns and can be redeemed for cash. These are in fact government debt and all bonds are issued by Central Bank of Bangladesh (Bangladesh Bank). These pay no interest but rather a drawing is held every three-month. Those holding the bond numbers drawn win a prize.

The current prize amounts according to bangladesh.gov.bd are the ones shown below:

bd-prizebond full

The above data reflects that there are currently 30 series of bonds on the market. This is because the scheme pays 1 prize each for first and second, 2 prizes each for third and forth and 40 prizes for fifth place per series. Each series has 10,00,000 bonds. In order to be eligible for the prize you must have held the bond for at least 60-days prior to its purchase.

Much more about prize bonds can be found Google searching. Also some questions are answered in the Prize Bond FAQ by Bangladesh Bank. In short this works much like playing the lottery. However because these are bearer instruments that represent government debt and can be redeemed, this is not considered gambling and is not a violation of Bangladeshi law.