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Casinos and gambling in Morocco
Although Morocco is a Muslim country, most of gambling forms are legal here, existing gambling market is not big though. Moroccans like gambling and a large part of population of this country is involved in them, but because of fear of negative effects of gambling, opinions that it should be limited are heard more often.
LAND BASED CASINOS
History of casinos in Morocco
History of casinos in Morocco dates back to when it was still under the French control. Than in 1952 first casino - Casino de Marrakech - located in the Es Saadi Hotel Marrakech was opened. Morocco regained its independence in March 1956 and since then other casinos started to appear, since the decree of the Prime Minister from 2002 they have been operating legally.
Legal regulation of gambling in Morocco took place with the signing of the decree of the Prime Minister on July 29, 2002. Since then casinos can operate legally on the basis of licenses issued by the Prime Minister. Although more than 90% of the population in Morocco are Islamists, according to the law, gambling is legal here. However, not everyone is happy with it. In 2012 the Moroccan Minister of Telecommunication, Mustafa al-Khalfim objected to broadcast live gambling, and called for a ban on it, but so far no steps were taken in such direction.
When, where and what to play in casinos in Morocco
In Morocco there are several legal casinos located in 4 cities in the country. They function independently or belong to the hotel complexes. Casinos are open throughout the week from afternoon or evening hours to morning. During weekends casinos are opened longer, and some of them even around the clock. In the offer of casinos there are different varieties of roulette, blackjack, poker, baccarat, punto banco and slot machines.
Cities in which land based casinos are found:
Because the Moroccan government has not taken up any steps to legalize online gambling in Morocco, there are no Moroccan online casinos. Moroccan players use oversees casinos available in Morocco to play. There are many foreign online casino operators which offer their websites in arabic, french or english and bets are accepted in Moroccan dirhams or American dollars.
Morocco doesn’t have laws regulating gambling online yet. Therefore, the government does not allow casinos to operate and does not give out licenses. Currently, the only legal form of gambling in Morocco are sports lotteries available on two sites, which have been operating under the supervision of Moroccan government since 2009.
In 2012, the Moroccan Minister of Telecommunications Mustafa al-Khalfi criticised the popularity of TV programs with live gambling and called for a ban on broadcasting gambling programs on public television, but so far no steps have been taken in that direction.
AS A CURIOSITY
Marrakech Poker Open 2013
Tournament fever of poker is not unusual on the territory of northern Africa. Marrakech is becoming a poker capital of this part of continent. Here in Casino de Marrakech which is located in Es Saadi complex, tournaments like Marrakech Poker Open are played. In the tournament which took place in March of 2013 the winner was a frenchman Olivier Estripeau, who, by beating other players, won 63 772 €.