One of the esteemed traditional sports in Iraq was horse racing. But Saddam Hussein banned it and ordered the construction of a mosque where the biggest horse-racing track in the country was situated.
When the American army intervened in 2003, they revived the Equestrian Club and revived regular races. Camel racing was another popular sport that involved young boys from Pakistan and Bangladesh who participated until 2006 when robots replaced the practice.
Over the last 10 to 15 years, Iraq has experienced political instability. This has disrupted the economy and how businesses run.
One of the consequences of the never-ending battles was banning the gambling market that worked during the Saddam Hussein era. Before the war broke out in 2014, some unauthorized IQD casinos operated in Sulaimani city near the Iranian border.
Gambling Nowadays in Iraq
Like in most Arab states, gambling is illegal in Iraq. No regulatory body controls betting, so it's up to the police department to supervise all gambling activities. In 1969, the Iraqi government implemented a penal code to prohibit any gambling.
The 1969 Penal Code is clear: Anyone participating in or operating gambling can be sentenced to jail or fined by a court of law. According to Article 389 of the Act, gambling operators face a greater punishment than the players.
Casino business owners face a possible 100 dinars in fine or a jail term of up to 12 months. Charges for gamblers who are caught playing by police are 50 dinars or a one-month jail term.
Sharia is the principal rule in Iraqi legislation. Even Article 1 of the Iraqi Civil Code stipulates that citizens must adhere to the Islamic codes of conduct.
That said, gambling is considered unethical. The Islamic culture and beliefs dominating Iraq contribute to the lack of development in offline and online casino markets.