United Arab Emirates lotteries

The landscape of lottery-like activities in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is quite unique due to the region’s cultural, religious, and legal constraints. While traditional forms of gambling are generally prohibited, various lottery-style schemes and draws exist within a framework that complies with local laws. Here’s an in-depth look at the different types:

Dubai Duty-Free Millennium Millionaire

  1. Inception: Introduced in 1999, it’s one of the oldest such draws in the UAE.
  2. Eligibility: Anyone above 18 who’s traveling through Dubai International Airport or Al Maktoum International Airport can participate.
  3. Cost: Tickets are priced at $277 (1,000 AED).
  4. Odds: Approximately 1 in 5,000, depending on the number of tickets sold.
  5. Prizes: A single prize of one million US dollars, awarded as a lump sum.
  6. Additional Draws: Beyond the Millennium Millionaire, Dubai Duty-Free also conducts Finest Surprise draws where participants can win luxury cars or motorbikes.


  1. Previous Name: Initially launched as Emirates Loto.
  2. Legal Framework: Operates by selling collectible water bottles, which is more in line with the charitable nature appreciated in the UAE.
  3. Cost: 35 AED per entry, roughly $9.50.
  4. Draw Day: Usually conducted every Saturday.
  5. Prizes: Varying cash prizes, from small sums to multi-million AED jackpots.
  6. Numbers: Players select six numbers out of 49.

Abu Dhabi Big Ticket

  1. Popularity: Highly popular, particularly among the expatriate community.
  2. Venue: Tickets are generally sold at Abu Dhabi International Airport, Al Ain Duty-Free, and online.
  3. Prizes: Offers a variety of prizes, including cash and luxury cars.
  4. Cost: Ticket prices can range from 100 AED to 500 AED, depending on the prize.
  5. Multiple Draws: Various types of draws occur, such as ‘Dream 12 Million’ and ‘Super 7.’

Etisalat & Du Promotions

  1. Type: Not a lottery per se, but telecom companies like Etisalat and Du often hold promotional draws.
  2. Prizes: Range from small items like smartphones to large prizes like cars.
  3. Eligibility: Usually restricted to subscribers of the respective telecom service.

Legal & Cultural Notes

  1. Regulation: All these draws are subject to strict government oversight to ensure they comply with legal requirements and are conducted transparently.
  2. Charitable Aspect: Many of these schemes have a charitable component, either through direct donations or by funding social initiatives, aligning with the social welfare ethos in the UAE.
  3. Public Perception: While there’s a general reluctance towards gambling in the local population due to religious reasons, these draws are generally accepted because they don’t fit the traditional gambling model.

Each of these schemes has found a way to operate within the unique cultural and legal framework of the UAE, making them both popular and lawful in a country where traditional gambling is prohibited.