Omani Gambling Laws
By Reno Rollins
Gambling is illegal in Oman. This stems from Islam being the official religion of the country. Along with vices like alcohol and pornography, gambling is forbidden under Islamic law. Bull fighting and camel races do take place in the country, but wagering on the outcome of these contests is not allowed.
Bull Fighting in Oman
Unlike Spanish bullfights, the Oman version is generally bloodless and does not result in the death of the bulls. The biggest difference between the Spanish version is that bulls do not take on a matador. Instead, two bulls of equal size compete in battle against one another. These contests are usually short in duration.
Fights can take place at any time, although the cooler temperatures of morning or late afternoon are preferred. Bull fights are also conducted on holidays and during celebration days, and the most well-known place to witness this spectacle is at the bull fighting ring located in the Fort of Barka.
Auman Camel Races
Held primarily at Seeb, Salalah and the Interior of the Batinah regions, camel races are mainly conducted on public holidays and during National Day celebrations.
Camels begin preparing to race at the age of two. They undergo intensive training, and camels who win on the national and international level can be sold to stud for $130,000 or more.
While gambling on the outcome of the races is illegal, winnersí purses are often very high.
The Sultanate of Oman is located in southwest Asia and bordered by Saudi Arabia, Yemen and the United Arab Emirates. Oman also includes Madha, an exclave in the United Arab Emirates, and Musandam, an exclave in Emirati territory. The country is ruled by the Sultanate of Oman, Qaboos bin Said Al Said.
With a population of over two-million people, Oman is divided into five regions and four governorates. Regions include: Ad Dakhiliyah, Al Batinah, Al Wusta, Ash Sharqiyah and Az Zahirah. Governorates include: Muscat, Musandam, Dhofar and Al Buraimi.
70% of the population is composed of Ibadi Muslims. Sunni Muslims make up 10% of the population, while another 18% are comprised of Shia Jaffaris. The rest of the population is made up of Christians, Hindus and other minorities.
Tourism is a thriving industry in Oman. The country boasts a wide selection of mountains, beaches and deserts. Camel races, camping, bull fights and sand skiing are also popular attractions. Another large draw is the Muscat Festival, held at the beginning of every year.
The official language of Oman is Arabic, but English is considered a second language and spoken by a large number of the populace. Hindi and Balochi are also spoken within the borders of the country.
The most popular sport in the nation is football (soccer), but swimming, handball, hockey, basketball, volleyball and tennis are also highly regarded.
United Kingdom Gambling