The Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet), Turkey’s top religious body has issued a fatwa on games of chance, claiming that buying lottery tickets was “haram,” meaning that it is forbidden by Islamic law.
The National Lottery General Directorate will hold a special draw on December 31, with a 61 million Turkish Liras ($15.8 million) as New Year’s grand lottery prize.
The Diyanet said on its website that all games which rely on luck were “gambling and haram.”
“All gambling games that are based on one of the sides winning and the other losing are deemed within the context of gambling and are declared haram [forbidden by religion]. Because while one side loses the other side wins undeservingly,” the answer on its their website stated.
The directorate added that such games of chance have a widespread damaging effect “because masses participate in them.”
The Diyanet also responded to a question concerning the revenue contributed to the state by such games of chance, saying that while some institutions and charities take advantage of it, that does not make these games legitimate, nor changes their religious status.
The national lottery’s jackpot in Turkey is particularly big on New Year’s Eve when a single ticket can be purchased for 60 liras, or about $15. Such a ticket allows the purchaser to win the entire jackpot. With a half ticket sold at 30 liras, the buyer shares the jackpot with someone else.