Gambling practices

Q233 :Could you please tell me whether the following practices fall within forbidden gambling: (a) Gifts offered by shops and stores through a draw of envelopes or raffles; and (b) Selling one's articles or belongings through raffles. May I say that this is the quickest way of selling one's belongings when one is leaving the country. The price is divided into a number of portions which are sold as raffle tickets and a draw is made to determine who gets the article.

A233 : There is no doubt that all forms of gambling are forbidden. However, the first practice, as I understand it, may be no more than a promotional activity by shopkeepers and department stores. If you go to a shop to buy an article, say for 80 riyals and the shopkeeper tells you if you increase your purchase to 100 riyals or more, you will be entitled to draw an envelope which gives you a small gift which he does not specify, you have a choice to make. When you increase your purchase, you are not actually paying money in order to draw an envelope, or a raffle, but you are buying an additional article at its normal price. It is true that the shopkeeper does this in order to persuade you to increase your purchase, but ultimately the choice is yours. You are getting your article at their real value. You are not buying the right to draw an envelope, but you are only being persuaded to buy something which you may not have bought at that particular time. You will not buy something which is of no use to you. I feel that this is simply a promotional exercise which gives you a little extra over what you have bought. Whatever envelope you draw will give you a little gift. It is true that some gifts will be more valuable than others, but then it is merely a gift and you cannot choose your gifts at any time. As for the other practice, I am afraid it is a form of gambling. People buy these raffles and only one of them gets the article. The others lose their money. It is true that the seller receives only the fair price of the article, but what about those who lost their money. They are buying thin air. This is gambling or, at least a forbidden practice.

Our Dialogue ( Source : Arab News - Jeddah )