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Brunei is a very small country on the island of Borneo, which it shares with territories of both Indonesia and Malaysia. It only has a population of a little over 400,000 people, but due to its generous oil resources, in spite of being rather small geographically, it is one of the wealthiest countries in the world on a per capita basis, ranked fifth in the world in this regard. (1)
Brunei may be most famous for the Sultan of Brunei, one of the richest people in the world and the third wealthiest monarch, with a net worth of $20 billion. This is only a billion less than the King of Saudi Arabia, so that gives you an idea that this country may be small but it certainly is pretty mighty in terms of their economy. (2)
So there are quite a few poor countries in Asia, where the people would likely be gambling a whole lot more if they had the means, and Brunei certainly isn’t one of them, yet this is much more like countries in the Middle East, with plenty of money but not a lot of gambling that goes on, due to the fact that Brunei is a very strict Muslim country.
So gambling in any form is strictly prohibited here, and anyone found to be gambling or even caught running away from a gambling house gets themselves both a $10,000 fine and 6 months in jail. Those found to be operating a gambling house or even just involved in the operation of one gets themselves a $20,000 fine and a year in jail. (3)
So Brunei doesn’t mess around with this and in fact things might even get worse, with their recent adoption of Sharia law, which is to be phased in over the next couple of years and includes penalties like stoning for adultery and whipping for things like public drinking. (4)
Sharia law also prescribes whipping and caning for gambling, so as this law comes into effect in Brunei, we will likely see gamblers face even more daunting punishments than we even have now, even though six months in jail and a big fine is daunting enough. (5)
Brunei is predominantly Muslim, although non Muslims and even foreigners are made subject to their gambling laws, so not following this religion does not exempt anyone from its harsh penalties.
Foreigners are arrested alongside nationals here for gambling, and face the same penalties, and this surely isn’t a place where they will be building casinos for tourists anytime soon, and have special rules for them. There are no places in Brunei where you can gamble legally and this even might be the least likely place that we will see any legal gambling happen anytime soon.
This doesn’t mean that illegal gambling doesn’t go on here, although it does seem to occur to a lesser extent than it does in a lot of other Southeast Asian countries. Like other countries in the region, cock fighting is especially popular, as is the gambling game ketam-ketam, which is a game played with dice.
In a recent bust in 2014, 28 people were arrested for suspicion of gambling, and it wasn’t even necessary to catch them doing it, merely being there was enough. 13 roosters and several ketam cloths were seized, which gives us some good insight into the gambling people prefer here, and this is certainly not your usual casino fare. (6)
In addition to the live underground gambling scene here, many residents of Brunei go outside the country to gamble, including the ex wife of the Sultan, who was found to have lost a lot of money at some London casinos not long ago and had to sell off a lot of her jewelry to pay off the debts.
Playing Poker in Brunei
If there is any live poker being played at all in Brunei, it’s a well kept secret, and there probably is some that goes on, perhaps at some secretive home games, but there probably isn’t that much of this here, if any.
So if you’re going to want to play poker here, you’re going to pretty much have to play online, but most poker these days is actually played online and this is even the case in areas where there is easy access to live poker, as the sheer convenience of online poker is seen as very tempting.
Internet access in Brunei is pretty widespread, and most people here can get online, even though it’s pretty expensive and costs on average about $100 a month. (7) People here also have the disposable income to play online poker generally, in contrast to some other countries in the area where both disposable income and internet access are limited.
Party Poker doesn’t take players from Brunei, but they don’t take players from a lot of countries, but the other major sites have no issues with allowing players from Brunei to play on their sites, in spite of the fact that gambling in any form is clearly illegal.
Brunei is fairly small though population wise, and poker certainly isn’t popular here, so we really see very few players from here who are known to play online poker. There is no internet censorship here although some people have complained that the internet is so slow here that it is almost like censorship, and while this isn’t ideal for online poker, people can still play the game on it, although very few do.
Top Online Poker Sites Accepting Players from Brunei
If you are from Brunei and are up for some great online poker, we have some very good recommendations for you, and all of them will provide you with some nice bonus cash just for checking them out.
888 Poker is our top overall selection, and it’s a site that everyone should have an account at, it is that good. You don’t even have to make a deposit to get started here, as they will give you some free money to start playing with and trying out their award winning online poker site.
Titan Poker and Bet 365 are also very eager to show you why they are also very highly rated, and both these sites are on the same network so it doesn’t really matter much which one you pick, although if you’ve had an account before at one but not the other you’ll want to pick the other one to get paid to try them.
Black Chip Poker also wants you to check them out and these guys are really serious about showing you why they are one of the fastest growing online poker sites around lately, and hardly anyone has had an account here so players are flocking to them to see what the fuss is all about here.