Attempts by the Moroccan government to outlaw live gambling on state TV have been criticized by certain sections of society. Al Arabiya reports that the Moroccan telecommunications minister Mustapha al-Khalfi is proposing the ban in order to protect TV viewers, especially of the younger generation, from the “negative impact” gambling has.
“On one day in February, the number of viewers watching live gambling was more than 900,000,” Khalfi said. “There is a difference between social liberalism and this type of unlimited liberalism that does not work towards protecting younger generations.”
On the other side of the debate there’s an argument brewing that this is a step towards Islamization of the state media and that banning live gambling shouldn’t be this high on their list of priorities. Saeid Lakhal, an authority on Islamic movements, told Al Arabiya: “This decision could have been significant had it been accompanied by a series of other steps related to politics and the economy.
“Banning live gambling will not solve any of the problems of average citizens. This only concerns gamblers and anyway they know where to go when they want to gamble and will not be affected by the ban.”
Gambling is a contentious issue in certain countries that are dominated by Islam such as those in the Middle East. It’s generally recognized that gambling is forbidden (haram) under Islamic law and given the new administration in Morocco is Islamic then is not a surprise they don’t want to piss off their God.
Khalfi has threatened his resignation if the ban on live gambling on state owned media isn’t passed and it’s an issue that seems to have split the North African nation. Statistics estimate that around three million Moroccan citizens partake in different forms of gambling. The industry is thought to generate almost 2.9 billion dirhams for the state treasury.