Last April 18, the UAE announced its first lottery drawing with a whopping prize of AED 35 million (USD 9 million). The feat was made possible through the Emirates Loto, “the region’s first fatwa-approved, fully digital collectible scheme with an optional entry to a weekly live draw.”
If that has gotten you excited, it’d be helpful for you to understand that gambling is strictly prohibited in the UAE. Despite the blanket prohibition on gambling, it is possible to run competitions (including raffles) in the UAE, subject to prior permission from the relevant regulatory department.
Emirates Loto: What You Need to Know
The Emirates Loto, according to its website, is a Sharia-compliant lottery system whereby people buy “collectibles” in the form of cards that depict famous sites throughout the UAE — for a fee, and then have the option of entering into a lottery draw free of charge.
According to Emirates Loto CEO Paul Sebestyen, the main objective of the lottery is to “donate millions of dollars for the public good and to give back to the community and the country as a whole”.
Anyone over the age of 18 in the UAE and across the globe can join the Emirates Loto. The “collectibles” may be purchased online and through an app or in thousands of retail stores around the UAE for around USD 10.
After purchasing the collectible, the buyer can opt to join a free live draw to win anywhere from USD 10 million to USD 13 million in a jackpot of prizes every week.
Moreover, online buyers also have the option to donate their collectible to charity instead. The collectibles can be purchased at more than 10,000 outlets in the UAE.
How is the Emirates Loto “Sharia-compliant”?
CEO Paul Sebestyen shares that the Emirates Loto is a privately held company with a license and fatwa from Abu Dhabi.
A fatwa is a ruling on a point of Islamic law given by a recognized authority. As per the Islamic fatwa and Sharia principles, there needs to be an exchange of value, which is where the collectibles come in. Sebeysten explained, “entering the weekly lottery is completely optional and many who purchased the collectibles did not even enter the draw.”
The draw is similar to lotteries in the United States or Europe, where the purchaser selects six numbers from one to 49. If three, four, five, or six of the numbers that have been selected for the draw match the six numbers randomly drawn by the Emirates Loto ball machine that week, the cardholder wins a prize.
Draws are live-streamed weekly across multiple digital platforms.
The Emirates Loto comes at a time when all of the world’s economies have taken a massive hit from the effects of the viral outbreak.
How to Play
- Buy one or more Emirates collectibles for AED 35 (USD 10). You can either purchase this across 10,000 stores in the UAE or online.
- Log on to the Emirates Loto’s website, or download the Emirates Loto mobile app and create your account.
- If you bought your card from a store, you can either scratch off the panel on the back and register the unique 16-digit code or scan the code using the app for instant and easy registration.
- If you purchased the card online, you can directly play the Loto.
- Each unique code, if you choose to register, will give you one free entry to the draw. You will be asked to pick six numbers [between 1 and 49], to complete an entry. *Entries expire in 90 days.
- Online purchased collectibles can be delivered to you later or donated to charity.
- The lucky winners will receive a message via SMS from Emirates Loto.
- You may also check the draw results via their website or mobile app.
Schedule of Draws
- Weekly draws are live-streamed every Saturday during Ramadan at 10:00 pm and 7:30 pm on regular days UAE time.
- Draws will be telecasted live on the Emirates Loto website and via their social media channels – YouTube and Facebook.
- Timings may vary due to special circumstances [i.e. National Day, etc.]
- The winning numbers will also be displayed on the website after every draw.
Prizes to be Won
- AED 35 million or USD 9.5 million
How to Claim Prize
- Log in to your account on the Emirates Loto website or via the mobile app.
- Click on ‘My Account’ and select ‘Submissions and Claims’ to claim your prize.
- Fill out the online claim form and be sure to submit your claim.
- If you match 5 or 6 of the 6 drawn numbers, a representative from Emirates Loto will get in touch with you.
- If you match 4 out of the 6 drawn numbers, Emirates Loto will make arrangements to transfer your winnings to your account.
- If you’ve match 3 out of the 6 drawn numbers, you have the option to claim one (1) free entry.
- Note: Be sure to claim your prize using the above steps within 270 days [9 months] from the winning draw date.
- If you wish to join the draw, remember that you can only register one account.
- If you live outside the UAE, you are also free to join, provided that you meet the eligibility criteria, and you are not prohibited or restricted from entering a draw under the laws or jurisdiction of residence, or jurisdiction in which you are located at the time of opting to enter the draw.
Here is a video introduction of the Emirates Loto delivered by the company’s CEO Paul Sebestyen:
The Emirates Loto comes at a time when the rest of the world is looking for a way to bounce back from the economic crisis brought about by the coronavirus. And its main goal is to provide help to charities that greatly need support, especially during these times.
What can you say about the Emirates Loto? Do you think it’s something worth trying? And would you personally give it a try? Let us know what you think by leaving a comment on the comment section below!