Mufti Sahib, are free bets allowed in Islam?
Example, some apps give people a £10 free bet which they must use on betting and therein they could win or lose. [Question Published as received.]
In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
Free bets offered on gambling platforms are not Sharia compliant and cannot be participated in.
Gambling involves wagering money or something of value on an event or outcome that is based on chance or luck, rather than on skill or effort. This includes all forms of gambling, such as sports betting, casino games, lotteries, and other games of chance.
Betting companies often either require players to place a bet and offer a bonus bet, require a subscription and sign-up, or restrict withdrawal until actual money has been wagered.
Therefore, if a betting company offers a gift or any amount of money, regardless of its form, it would be forbidden to take it and then bet. If ownership can be established, then the moment the money is taken, ownership is given to you, and then you are betting with your own funds. This is true even if the gift is in the form of free credit or bonus, as the credit can only be used on the platform to place bets and earn more money. If ownership of the funds is not established, even then it is prohibited, as one is still engaging in a gambling game. Arguably, this latter scenario would be even worse, as not only is one engaging in gambling, one is earning and benefiting from funds that do not belong to him too.
There is an objection on whether this form of gifting fulfills the requirements of gifting in Fiqh at the outset, as a Hiba necessitates complete transfer which results in autonomy and authority over what has been gifted. If the credit is restricted to be used in the platform and cannot be used in any other way than to take part in this bet, the nature of Qabdh is questionable and debatable.
In conclusion, accepting any form of gift or money from a betting company, even if it is in the form of free credit or bonus, is not permissible. Gambling is strictly forbidden and the warnings in the Quran and Sunnah are severe.
And Almighty Allah Alone Knows Best
Maulana Ammar Y Badat
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