Shagotom, I’m Tamim originally from Chittagong now living in Dhaka. Betting football, cricket and horse racing and playing online poker have long been my only sources of income. In other words, I am one of the few professional gamblers living in Bangladesh. Asiabet.org reached out to me via a forum I’m a member of called BettingAdvice and ended hiring me to write this article on how Bangladesh residents can gamble online. While knowledgeable on the subject I ask that you bear with me some. I am a professional gambler not a writer.
I should start by telling you that my scenario differs from that of all Bangladeshi residents. I am a citizen only of our country, hold only a Bangladesh passport, and have no residency permit anywhere else. I have never lived abroad and I bet online from Bangladesh using my Bangladesh address for the accounts. Where my situation differs a little, is my aunt lives and has become a citizen of the UK. She helps me out a bit with some of the aspects involved in moving money online.
Though I have some benefit due to having a relative in the UK, I am still able to explain how Bangladesh residents without this can use foreign gambling sites. A good site offers various types of sports betting including football and cricket, as well as online poker and online casino.
Note that because Bangladesh taka (BDT) is not a supported currency at any of them, you will be given the option to open an account in another currency. For this, your best option by far is United States dollar (USD). If you make a mistake, or are not given an option, and get assigned a different currency, contact their support to get it changed to USD.
Also, while Bengali language is not supported at any of these sites, they all gladly service players from our country. In some cases, they even offer odds on our domestic sports leagues. When it was still running Bangladesh Premier League cricket could be bet here. Odds are still posted on our domestic football league at both sites.
No matter if you are playing poker, online casino, or betting sports, the gambling sites all operate on a post-up basis. To give an example you send in a $30 USD deposit (this is about ৳2335). Your starting balance is $30. You then risk $8 on an IPL cricket match. Right away that is deducted changing your balance to $22. If after the game is played your wager is a winner, the $8 is returned to your balance and the winnings from that wager are added too. At any time you can withdrawal all our part of your account balance. For deposit and pay outs you will need a banking method.
The getting paid part is not an issue, there are many options for this. The biggest challenge is that our country restricts almost every method there is to send money abroad. It is for the most part not even possible to walk into a bank and exchange taka for another currency. Our credit cards and debit cards mostly don’t work at foreign merchants. We can receive money from Western Union, but there isn’t an option for sending it out. Making a bank wire transfer involves a lot of red tape and is difficult to get approved. Sadly there is not an easy way around this.
Though it doesn’t solve the issue fully at the start, everyone gambling online from Bangladesh will want to open an e-wallet account with www.neteller.com. When choosing a currency, select United States dollar (USD) – this is important. Note that Neteller is a leader in online payments that is licensed in the UK and transfers from it are accepted at most gambling sites.
How Neteller works is you can fund it a variety of ways. It is essentially an online bank account. As Bangladesh is a fully supported NET+ country, you can also get a MasterCard debit card from them that connects to your Neteller account balance. This takes a little while to show up in the mail after it is requested. Even though your Neteller account will be in USD, you can still use it to withdrawal taka from local ATM machines. You can also use the card anywhere MasterCard is accepted. This includes local use as well as using it to shop at foreign website, buy plane tickets, book hotels or anything else! With a Neteller account you no longer face all the foreign transaction restrictions in place in our country.
The gambling side of Neteller also has unique functionality. Online gambling sites accept direct transfer to Neteller as method of deposit. They also issue direct transfers to Neteller as a method of withdrawal. Once you have money in the system it is easy to move money around between gambling sites using your Neteller account.
What we haven’t yet solved is how to get money into Neteller initially. This is a major challenge that there still isn’t an easy answer for. I will cover other ways, but at this point I need to introduce bitcoin.
One of the many ways to fund Neteller is via bitcoin deposit. Bitcoin is a digital currency that has an exchange rate with all other currencies. Using it is illegal in Bangladesh and carries a very heavy prison sentence. Fortunately, enforcement of that law is minor. All that happens is notices get posted as a scare tactic, while no one is out looking for people using bitcoin.
To buy bitcoins you first need a bitcoin wallet. There are many places to open one for free, including here.
Once you have a bitcoin wallet, you can then purchase bitcoins. This is where knowing someone that lives abroad makes everything so much easier. In the United States it is possible to buy bitcoin via Coinbase.com using credit card and checking accounts. Even in India there are bitcoin exchanges. The UK and many other countries have easy ways to get bitcoin too. We don’t have an easy way. If you know someone with a foreign bank account or someone living in a country that can purchase them easily, work out a deal where they buy them for you. You give them taka, they give you bitcoin. Build in a little profit to them for their efforts.
If you can’t find someone to buy bitcoin for you, where now down to dealing with strangers. The good news is there are some that can be trusted. Check Local Bitcoin Bangladesh for those selling bitcoins locally. What you will find is most sales of Bitcoin to our country is done by sending cash through mail. This is risky but check the seller’s profile. There are some with good track records for this method. Neteller accepts bitcoin as a funding method, so once you have them you can fund and their value will be converted to USD and added to your Neteller account balance.
Another way to fund Neteller is to get a transferred from another user. It is possible for Neteller users to transfer money to other Neteller accounts. Is there something you can purchase in Bangladesh and sell online listing your accepted payment methods as both bitcoin and Neteller? If so, receiving either will get you started. This is also why freelancers, such as those doing web content, selling links, translations etc. have a much easier time gambling online from our country. They can ask their clients from abroad to pay them via bitcoin or Neteller transfer.
Another option is to deposit with another method and then cash out in Bitcoin or Neteller. This is doable, however most sites require that in order to cash out with Neteller you have funded your account at least one time in the past using this method. A way around this is to use www.5dimes.eu or www.bookmaker.eu. These sites MIGHT allow you to cash out with Neteller even if you never funded with it before. If not, they also offer bitcoin payouts for which there is no requirement you had previously funded with that method.
The above suggestion is a valid one but does not help unless you have another method to fund with. If you happen to travel then while abroad you could fund 5Dimes or Bookmaker making a Western Union transfer. Taking a holiday to Thailand might be a good idea, because this a country foreigners can make transactions to other countries from without much challenge. To go there you will need a visa. Here is a company that can help which has application centers in Dhaka, Chittagong and Sylhet.
If traveling doesn’t work for you, then you might be reduced to using hundi. If you need to ask around local illegal lottery sellers, loan sharks etc. are the mostly likely to know someone with hundi ties. If you get in with the right network this is safe. But if asking around blindly you are more likely to be scammed by someone only claiming to have ties.
If you can get legit access to hundi chances are they will also be able to purchase bitcoins for you. If not, you will be looking for hundi to make a Western Union transfer on your behalf. You give them taka, and they from another country transfer the agreed upon amount to the name and location provided.
www.5dimes.eu is a betting website you can then use. Work it out in advanced with hundi and have them on standby. Then tell 5Dimes you wish to deposit with Western Union. They will give you a name and location to send to. Hundi sends there. You contact 5Dimes back with the name of sender, location of sender, control number and amount. Within 30 minutes the money will be added to your 5Dimes betting account.
It is quite sad that I had to mention sending cash in the mail and using hundi before covering our own banking systems, but that is the state of affairs in our country. It still might be possible to use legal means to transfer. Neteller does accept bank wire transfer as a funding method. For this your local bank will refer you to Bangladesh Bank which will require you submit paperwork to approve your transfer. It is most likely to be approved if your request involves transfer that is for the purpose of travel, medical treatment, or education.
If you are planning travel then using this as an excuse to open a Neteller account that will have a card capable of being used to make hotel bookings can be used as a valid reason for Bangladesh Bank to approve an outward remittance wire transfer. If showing you already have the visa for that trip this will help. Another idea is to look for an online course where the only method is debit / credit card. Explain you need to fund this account via wire for purchasing this course. This process will be frustrating but it is possible.
My tip is to make the minimum Neteller deposit at as many online betting sites as you can afford. 5Dimes, Bookmaker, BetVictor, etc. are all sites you eventually might use when gambling online. In the future you might fund them via other methods. For example, bitcoin direct. By having made a single transaction there in the past using Neteller this account is now linked to your account at that site. You can now use this method to cash out with them in the future when funding another way.