Is Sports Betting Haram?

Sports betting has become a global phenomenon, with millions of people placing bets on their favorite sports teams and events. But for Muslims, a significant question arises: is sports betting haram? This question delves into the intricate relationship between religious beliefs and modern-day practices. In this article, we’ll explore the concept of haram, its implications for sports betting, and provide a detailed analysis from Islamic perspectives.

What Does “Haram” Mean?

To understand whether sports betting is haram, we first need to grasp the meaning of “haram.” In Islam, haram refers to anything that is forbidden by Islamic law. The opposite of haram is “halal,” which means permissible. Activities, behaviors, or consumables deemed haram are prohibited for Muslims to engage in or consume.

Islamic Perspective on Gambling

Historical Context

Gambling, known as “maisir” in Arabic, has been addressed in Islamic texts since the early days of Islam. The Quran, the holy book of Islam, explicitly mentions gambling and its prohibition. The primary references are found in Surah Al-Baqarah (2:219) and Surah Al-Ma’idah (5:90-91).

  • Surah Al-Baqarah (2:219): “They ask you about wine and gambling. Say, ‘In them is great sin and [yet, some] benefit for people. But their sin is greater than their benefit.'”
  • Surah Al-Ma’idah (5:90-91): “O you who have believed, indeed, intoxicants, gambling, [sacrificing on] stone alters [to other than Allah], and divining arrows are but defilement from the work of Satan, so avoid it that you may be successful. Satan only wants to cause between you animosity and hatred through intoxicants and gambling and to avert you from the remembrance of Allah and from prayer. So will you not desist?”

The Nature of Gambling

Islamic scholars argue that gambling is harmful due to its addictive nature and the financial instability it can cause. It is seen as a way of earning money without working for it, which contradicts the Islamic work ethic that emphasizes earning through legitimate means.

Is Sports Betting Considered Gambling?

Definition of Sports Betting

Sports betting involves placing a wager on the outcome of a sports event. This can range from betting on the winner of a match to predicting the score or other specific occurrences within the game. Sports betting shares core elements with gambling, such as uncertainty, risk, and the potential for monetary gain or loss.

Comparison to Traditional Gambling

While some might argue that sports betting requires skill and knowledge, it still fundamentally relies on chance and uncertainty. The outcomes of sports events are unpredictable, and no amount of expertise can guarantee a win. Therefore, sports betting fits the definition of gambling from an Islamic perspective.

Scholarly Opinions on Sports Betting

Consensus Among Scholars

The majority of Islamic scholars agree that sports betting is haram. They base their judgment on the broader prohibition of gambling in Islam. Since sports betting involves wagering money on uncertain outcomes, it falls under the category of maisir, making it forbidden.

Divergent Views

A minority of scholars argue that if sports betting is conducted in a manner that avoids significant harm and maintains ethical standards, it might not be as severely condemned. However, this view is not widely accepted and remains a topic of debate.

Impact of Sports Betting on Individuals and Society

Financial Consequences

Sports betting can lead to severe financial losses. Many individuals become addicted to betting, risking large sums of money and falling into debt. This financial instability can have a ripple effect, impacting families and communities.

Social and Ethical Implications

From a social perspective, sports betting can foster unhealthy competition, animosity, and even criminal activities. Ethically, it promotes the idea of earning money without effort, contradicting the Islamic principle of hard work and legitimate earnings.


Why is gambling considered haram in Islam?

Gambling is considered haram because it involves earning money through chance rather than legitimate work, leading to financial instability, addiction, and social harm.

Is there any form of betting that is halal?

Islamic teachings generally prohibit all forms of gambling, including betting. However, some scholars might permit certain types of competitions or wagers that do not involve financial risk or harm.

Can Muslims participate in sports betting if they don’t gamble frequently?

Even infrequent participation in sports betting is considered haram, as it still involves gambling and the associated risks.

Are there any Islamic alternatives to sports betting?

Muslims are encouraged to engage in activities that are halal and beneficial. Instead of betting, they can enjoy sports by participating in them or supporting teams ethically and responsibly.


In conclusion, the question “is sports betting haram?” can be answered with a resounding yes from the majority of Islamic scholars. Sports betting, as a form of gambling, contradicts Islamic teachings that emphasize earning through legitimate means and avoiding financial risk and social harm. For Muslims seeking to adhere to their faith, refraining from sports betting is the recommended path.

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