7 July 2009

Easy Money

I remember staring at a street poster in New York sometime last year; $436 million jackpot (or something along those lines, I don't remember the exact figure). Even assuming you get a discounted present value of the money over a certain number of years, or get a lump sum, that amount is a little bit ridiculous.

Still, it's probably one of the easiest ways to get rich; gambling. Drop in an affordable 'investment' and win a huge amount of money. No effort required, what could be better?

Well, considering the Gulf countries base their laws on 'islam', gambling is actually haram and therefore illegal. No public casinos, no betting on races etc, no lotteries.

Wait, what?

I'm walking around Dubai Airport, staring at grand prizes to be won, for a BD20, BD50 or BD100 per ticket. That prize ranges from a Porsche to a Bentley, and in one case, a pure million dollars of liquid cash.


This is obviously not a new discovery but isn't this technically gambling? Gambling is haram because you're throwing away your money to an uncertain, undefined risk. Is the fact that you 'know' how many other tickets are being sold make it legible? ie you know your exact chance of winning?

It's sort of like Islamic Banking, the fastest growing banking sector in the world. Everything is re-defined to not include "interest". But of course you do have "profit". Hmmm. I've also found it funny how they justify things like cash loans (which technically aren't allowed in islam) by coming up with this whole story that your loan actually includes buying diamonds in South Africa which are then exchanged for cash and you end up paying for the diamonds in installments etc.. I've taken that loan a while ago, I never saw any diamonds..

So how is this lottery gambling thing justified? And if it is, then why won't they give me a permit to start up a casino? I know it'll make a lot of money. Investors interested in the idea please call me.

We'll make it a halal casino, don't worry. I'm sure there's a huge growth market out there for it.