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Maldives is a series of islands off the coast of India and is the smallest country in Asia in terms of population, with only about 400,000 people. The capital and largest city is Male, with about 150,000 people. The total size of Maldives is only a little over 100 square miles which includes all of their islands, so it‘s a very small country in size as well. (1)
Maldives is an Islamic country and therefore does not take a permissive view toward gambling at all, and gambling in all forms are prohibited here. It has been independent since 1965, after a long period of colonialism that saw several countries run it at various times, the last being the British who took over in 1867.
So now the Maldives is completely self governing, and they have been a Muslim country for almost a thousand years, so their faith now governs their laws and this is the case with gambling as well. (2)
Maldives isn’t the poorest country in Asia by any means but this is not a particularly wealthy country either, and they come in at 89th in the world in terms of per capita GDP, middle of the road here really.
Much of the economy here is based upon tourism, and they get over a million tourists a year, which is pretty impressive for a country of this very small size, but they have resisted the temptation to build casinos to try to capture even more tourist dollars, and there does not seem to be any movement to build any casinos anytime soon here. (3)
The penalty for gambling here involves a small fine or up to six months in jail under the 1968 penal code, but Maldives is in the process of implementing a new penal code to replace the original one, and it is said that the new code no longer criminalizes gambling, although this doesn’t mean it isn’t an infraction, but doing so would at least eliminate possible jail time. (4)
Since the new law is still based upon Islamic law, gambling is still prohibited here, they are just looking to go a little easier on violators is all, as well as ease up in some other areas as well, as well as clarifying the law here which will make it easier to apply.
Playing Poker in Maldives
In spite of the law, gambling still does go on here, and the police aren’t looking the other way here at all, and even have been known to break up private home based poker games. Often these arrests are made while seeking out those dealing in illegal drugs though, and at the time of the bust there just happens to be a poker game going on and they get charged with that as well.
So it’s not as if there is a police squad that specifically hunts down poker games, but there certainly is one targeting drug enforcement, and it’s common for them to search premises and if you happen to be sitting at the table playing poker they are going to get you for that too, at least under the old penal code anyway. (5)
So there does seem to be some home games going on here and there at least, and poker is played in this country for sure, although there aren’t any live venues you can go do, legal or otherwise, and the playing of live poker is confined to home games only, where of course you need some pretty intimate connections with the host to become invited.
A fair number of people in Maldives have internet access, with a penetration rate of about 25%, which is pretty good compared to a lot of Asian countries. So the potential is there to play online poker here and most large online poker sites willingly accept players from Maldives.
There is a lot of internet censorship here but the main concern is with sites that promote religious and political views that the government finds unacceptable, and there’s no reports of online poker sites being blocked here, although it’s not hard to just connect to them through a proxy server located in another country if you have any trouble, which is what people do here to see the full selection of what the internet has to offer.
Top Poker Sites Accepting Players from Maldives
The selection of top poker sites for players from Maldives is actually pretty good considering this is at the very least a grey market country, and poker sites are steering away from those, but Maldives isn’t on that list with some of the best ones out there.
It might be that Maldives is too small for a lot of them to even care, but that’s certainly fine by players from here who have some pretty good selections to choose from indeed. So here are our top picks for you and all offer nice welcome bonuses where you can get paid to simply play some poker and try them out.
Online poker sites don’t really get any better than 888 Poker, who have been on the online poker scene since the dawn of online poker and they just got better year after year, and now they are at the pinnacle of online poker and are a favorite among a great many online players.
The iPoker network is another heavily trafficked place to play online poker and our picks for you from this top network are Titan Poker and Bet 365. Titan Poker has been one of the best online poker sites for years, and Bet 365 offers you the same tables and are also a leader in sports betting as well.
Black Chip Poker isn’t as big as these other three but they have been really catching up lately, and they have now elevated themselves to a position where they now have the kind of traffic to make them a worthy consideration alongside our other top selections for you.