Just recently, a lawmaker from the Islamic Republic announced that the legislature has come up with a bill to deal with nationals found guilty of administering gambling websites. According to the bill, persons found guilty could be facing the death penalty. The stricter measures are a result of the country’s Police, from the cyber division, arresting and apprehending 10 Iranian nationals on charges for online gambling.
The capital punishment proposal for running a gambling site should not come as a shock. As per data provided by Amnesty International, there were 977 executions reported in 2015. While the number has decreased since then, the capital punishment is used to sentence a wide variety of crimes which includes enmity, political activities and spreading of corruption on earth. Amnesty, a peace organization, also shared there are unconfirmed reports of two women being executed for adultery. In 2019, the organization confirmed at least 251 executions. The only country to have sentenced more people to death is China.
According to news sources in the country, Iran established a specialized task force within the criminal court’s cyberspace to block gambling websites. The task force allegedly blocked 120 gambling sites over a 10 day period in 2019. An Iranian national shared that the task force has the ability to block a site within ten minutes of confirming that it is a virtual gambling venue. The crackdown on gambling sites also alerted the Iranian government to the identities of 75,000 site users. Prosecutors made use of the user IDs provided by the task force to conduct further investigations. However, the poor economic conditions in the country contribute heavily to gambling. Iranian nationals have resorted to participating in online gambling as a result of the poor management of the country’s economy. Nationals who receive minimal incomes or are unemployed have turned to gambling as a means to put food on the table.
Iran is an Islamic state that is governed by Sharia or Islamic law. These laws are written in the holy book of Islam, called the Quraan. According to the Quraan, gambling and games of chance are a work of satan and, therefore, can only lead to social, personal and mental deterioration among honest men. As such, muslim people who are aware of the rules and still choose to partake in gambling are guilty of committing a grave sin.
Despite this, Iran’s views on gambling are no different from the views of some state governments in the US. Iranian leaders frown upon gambling bur allow horse racing. The state allows this as the money that gamblers pay to place a bet is then used to pay salaries or wages to those who are involved in the sport. An Iranian cleric has come forward and stated that while Islam forbids gambling, there are exceptions. Horse and camel racing, as well as archery, are allowed in Islam as these activities were considered to be masculine. However, athletes and authorized individuals are the only ones allowed to place bets on these activities.