The Evolution of Moroccan Gambling Law
The evolution of Moroccan gambling law is unusual for an Islamic nation in that gambling is legalised. Tourism and its origins have played a big part in that. Morocco gained independence from French and Spanish protectorates during 1956 at a time when some resort style casinos were already in existence.
Although gambling was a small part of Moroccan culture the new government sought to expand it to attract more casino tourism. The famous Casino de Marrekech had already been operating since 1952 and it was a regular stop for international travellers. Other casinos soon opened in the resort areas of Agadir, Casablanca and Tangier.
Currently there is a proposal to construct a plush lakeside casino resort with 3700 rooms near the City of Ouarzazate. It will have 1000 slot machines and 100 table games. Morocco attracts almost 8 million tourists every year.
Being a Muslim country has limited interest in gambling which is mostly focussed on tourists. Morocco has exercised a judgement between promoting tourism for the economy whilst respecting the religion and culture of most of its people.
Today there are seven major casinos and a host of other smaller ones but they are not regulated in the same way as most other countries. The Moroccan government exercised tolerance without endorsing gambling until 1972 when a National Lottery was created.
Sports wagering is legal but it as been restricted to a limited number of sporting events, mostly national football. Wagering on horse racing is not popular because there are very few events in Morocco.
During 2009 two state controlled internet sports betting services were introduced. There are also a number of foreign online casino operators in Morocco offering websites in the Arabic language.
The popularity of gambling is increasing in Morocco
Gambling revenue increased by 36% since 2013 and the number of gamblers increased by 5% during 2016. The total gambling revenue increased to almost a billion dollars during 2016. Most gambling revenue in Morocco is derived from sports betting and the National Lottery. It is estimated that the number of daily gamblers now exceeds 75,000 per day.
Statistics do show that Moroccans are becoming more interested in gambling. This has been attributed to strong marketing campaigns by gambling industry operators.
Read more about gambling laws in other countries.