A family member of mine asked the following question: You must have heard about skill based Internet gaming sites like Yahoo and SkillJam etc. These sites provide various games like pool, golf etc which can be played against an opponent by paying a small amount of entry fee. If a player wins, he gets some profit while the defeated player does not get paid as he lost the game. Now the games are totally skill based and does not depend on luck. From Islamic perspective, is it forbidden to play or do business with this type of game? Can you please clarify?
The definition of unlawful gambling/chancing is “the ownership of wealth with a risk of loss (tamlik al-mal ala al-mukhatara).” (Ahkam al-Qur’an of Imam al-Jassas, 2/11) As such, if money is staked in order to acquire a reward, then it constitutes unlawful gambling.
In view of this, it is not permitted to participate in the various online games such as golf and pool provided by internet gaming sites due to the fact that one is required to pay an entry fee in order to play and win the award.
One of the forms of gambling is where payment is certain from one side, but the return is uncertain. The one paying for certain is actually staking his wealth, in that it may bring with it more wealth or it may be lost totally, depending on the outcome of another event.
If the player wins the game, the money staked in the form of the “entry fee” brings back profit, but if he were to lose the game, this money is totally lost. In fact, the winner is given his award through the money accumulated from each player’s contribution by way of the entrance fee.
This is nothing but pure gambling which has clearly been prohibited in Islam. The earnings made from participation in such games is filthy and Haram.
And Allah knows best
[Mufti] Muhammad ibn Adam
Leicester , UK