Defying ban, dozens of casinos run in Dubai


Islam is the official religion of the country, pursuant to the constitution of the UAE, and as gambling is prohibited in Islam, this forms the basis for the federal and local emirate laws that prohibit all forms of gambling, as well as the advertising of any form of gaming in the entire country, including Dubai. While we have earlier published report about Chechen man named Ilman Shazhaev running online gaming, betting and casino business in Dubai under the umbrella of a company named Farcana, in this report, we are exposing few more casinos and betting companies, which are operating in the United Arab Emirates by ignoring the laws.

On August 30, 2022, Firstpost published a report promoting online casinos in Dubai. According to the report, there are several online casinos in Dubai, which include, Spin Casino, Europa, Bet Final, Jackpot City, BitStarz, 888 Casino, Casino[dot]com, 1xBet, Mr. Play, and Casino Cruise.

Business Insider African has also published a promotional report on online casinos in Dubai.

In July 2022, Dubai Police raided an illegal casino located in a Dubai villa. When a tip came into the police station in Al Rashidiya, the activity came to a grinding halt. Police raided the property, uncovering poker and roulette tables with no shortage of customers. The surprise assault was part of a larger plan Dubai is undertaking to try to eliminate illegal gambling across the emirate. As they entered, the officers discovered an elaborate setup spanning both floors of the two-story villa. It even had a cashier and surveillance cameras throughout the property and food and beverage service. This illegal casino was run by nationals from China, Ethiopia, India, and Nigeria.

In June 2022, the UAE’s legal position on gambling and its adverse effects on society were highlighted by Dubai Police officials during a security awareness community workshop at the Dubai Police Officer’s Club in Dubai recently.

The workshop was organized by Dubai Police, in cooperation with the Consulate-General of the People’s Republic of China in Dubai and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MOFAIC).

The event was attended by Brigadier Jamal Salem Al Jalaf, Director of the General Department of Criminal Investigation (CID) at Dubai Police, Li Xuhang, Consul General of China in Dubai and Fathiya Al Bastaki, a representative from the MOFAIC.

Major Dr Saud al-Khalidi from the Organized Crime Department and Captain Ahmed Al Zarouni from the Crime Prevention Department, said whoever gambles shall be punished by detention for a maximum period of two years or by a fine not exceeding Dh20,000. Also, imprisonment or a fine shall be imposed if the crime occurs in a public place, a place open to the public, or in a place or house prepared for gambling, according to Articles 414 and 415 of the Federal Law No. (3) of 1987 Promulgating the Penal Code.

Moreover, punishment by imprisonment for a maximum period of 10 years shall be imposed upon anyone who opens or runs a place for gambling and prepares such a place for the admission of people, as well as anyone who organises any game of gambling in a public place or any place or house prepared for such a purpose.

The workshop also addressed several other issues.

According to an expert, the UAE prohibits all forms of online gambling within its territory. However, there are no online gambling laws against offshore online casinos. Therefore, players in Dubai can use a VPN to play at these casinos and use the currency of their choice to make payments. It may be mentioned here that, using VPN also is prohibited in the country.

Chechen man runs online casino in Dubai

While gambling is strictly prohibited in Dubai, a large number of crypto scammers are continuing to land in the city with bundles of scam projects, including crypto scam, MLM (Multi-Level Marketing), Ponzi scheme, and gambling/gaming/betting while several UAE newspapers such as the Gulf News, Arabian Business have no shame in promoting such scammers by publishing lengthy promotional/sponsored posts.

It may be mentioned here that, Islam is the official religion of the country, pursuant to the Constitution of the UAE.  As gambling is prohibited in Islam, this forms the basis for the federal and local emirate laws that prohibit all forms of gambling, as well as the advertising of any form of gaming.

Meaning, for any Emirati newspaper running a sponsored or paid promotional post in favor of anyone running a gambling, gaming or betting site is tantamount to legal consequences. But unfortunate fact is, these newspapers are continuing to violate Emirati laws while Dubai is already becoming a hub of scammers, frauds and criminals.

Meet Ilman Shazhaev, a 29-years-old Muslim from Chechnya, who runs an online casino/gaming site named ‘Farcana’ with an office at Downtown Dubai, Saaha Office C, Office 405, 4 floor, Dubai, Dubai, UAE, and this company allows its subscribers to gamble online by using cryptocurrency. On the LinkedIn profile of Farcana, this company has clearly mentioned itself as a “Blockchain Services”, meaning, it is directly involved in crypto sector. It also claims to have 51-200 employees, although there is no evidence of any employee in this sham project except for its owner.

According to sponsored post in the Gulf News, Arabian Business and other sites, Ilman Shazhaev, who is a resident of the United Arab Emirates is a “multitasking techpreneur” was “born and raised in the Russian republic of Chechnya, came to Dubai just three years ago before the pandemic-induced lockdown began”.

It may be mentioned here that, Chechen Muslim Ilman Shazhaev’s company Farcana does not have any office in China, Malaysia and Russia despite his claim of having businesses in those countries. It may also be mentioned here that, gambling is strictly prohibited in China and Malaysia.

In the sponsored post, Ilman Shazhaev of Farcana is quoted saying: “When I moved here, I had already started companies in China, Malaysia, and Russia and had to run and manage my businesses remotely from Dubai”.

Following his arrival in Dubai, Ilman Shazhaev found the country most convenient for running online casino, gaming and betting businesses as local Emirati newspapers such as the Gulf News are enthusiastically and continuously promoting such illegal activities simply in exchange for substantial financial benefit.

So within just two months after his arrival, he set up a health tech company to provide services in the healthcare sector. As the UAE economy bounced back post-pandemic, so did Shazhaev. This year in January, he launched Farcana, a blockchain-based gaming metaverse in Dubai.

Ilman Shazhaev in his sponsored “interview” said: “My work schedule is often overloaded, but the results inspire me”, which again proves, being in Dubai he finds it the most convenient place to run his activities.

According to the Gulf News and Arabian Business, Ilman Shazhaev “spent nine years at universities and combined studies”, while he is quoted saying: “I earned my Bachelor’s degree in computer science and engineering at the Moscow State Technical University and my MS in engineering at Harbin Institute of Technology in China. I then started my PhD program at Shanghai Jiao Tong University”.

He also said: “In my first university, I was soon promoted from a lab technician to an engineer and engaged in various projects for private companies and the government. This experience taught me to build connections between science and business, and I succeeded in winning several public grants”.

According to the sponsored post, back in 2017, Ilman Shazhaev “set up OneBoost – a digital asset management company that supplied mining equipment and built data centers in China; then expanded it to other markets and opened branches in Malaysia and Russia”.

A careful study of the above-mentioned report shall evidently prove – Ilman Shazhaev’s company Farcana is luring people, including children to making money through video gaming. Meaning, it is clearly a gambling site, which according to Emirati law is forbidden and punishable offense.

According to our information, the Gulf News and few other Emirati newspapers, especially Gulf News are continuously promoting online-gambling and betting site in exchange for financial gain. We are retaining evidence against our claims, and shall be able to provide such crucial evidence to the relevel authorities in the United Arab Emirates if they at all are interested in taking legal action against those Emirati newspapers and operators of online-casino, gambling and betting sites.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here