Is gambling legal in South Sudan?

The Republic of South Sudan can be considered as a newborn country, gaining its independence only in 2011, seceded from its original state: Sudan. Because of the government of South Sudan is still in early stages, many statutes and regulations probably still follow the original Sudanese laws or simply have not been fully covered yet by the new government. Laws and acts that concern about gambling are not exceptions as it is virtually impossible to find reliable sources about the legal status gambling of South Sudan.To understand the state of gambling in South Sudan, we should take a look into the Sudanese laws first.

Sudan is an Islamic state, with a large number of highly religious people trying to follow the teachings of Qur’an, which says that gambling is an act of evil and forbids followers from engaging in the practice. All forms of gambling (including even online gambling and lottery), as a result, are prohibited in Sudan with strict punishments for those who violate the so-called Sharia law or Public Order Laws. Those corporal punishments might include some harsh and cruel practices such as public whiplashes.

Since South Sudan gained its independence, plus with the fact that its majority of the population has contrary beliefs and practices Christianity or animism, such cruel punishments are abolished. Thus, it is safe to say that although the gambling laws are yet ambiguous in South Sudan, the situation has much more freedom than the state of Sudan.In fact, as opposed to its Northern neighbor, there is an up and running legal national lottery in South Sudan.

According to the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning of South Sudan, lottery and other gambling winnings are identified as personal incomes and taxable asset. This is a clear indication that there are several legal forms of gambling in South Sudan, with at least one of them being the lottery. Casinos, on the other hand, is a difficult territory in South Sudan. According to CasinoAvenue.com, we can not find any official casino located in South Sudan. South Sudan is still on its way of shaping its legislation, and officiating casino will be probably not in the central topic.

Online gambling is witnessing a similar situation. There is no evidence that online casinos in South Sudan will emerge anytime soon. Apart from the problem of lacking clear policies towards gambling, Internet connection problem is another obstacle for online gambling., with only 16.8% of the population that can access to the Internet (according to Internet World Stats in Africa). Even those who have a reliable Internet connection can only sign up online with foreign casinos because of restrictions. There is no information on whether the action of signing up for online casino is legal or not so it is still unsafe to perform such practices in South Sudan.

However, only recovered from its civil war, South Sudan government probably has neither the resources and nor incentives to shut down those small scale online gambling activities.All in all, the lack of clear regulations and policies for gambling activities in South Sudan makes it difficult to investigate and could cause a lot of misunderstandings for people who live and want to participate in gambling activities in South Sudan. We can only hope that the situation will become better when the country gains its stability and finalize its legislation and policies.