The Problems of Moroccan Sports Betting

DISCLOSURE: All details mentioned in this blog post are based on personal experience and online information. I am in no way or method villainizing MDJS, WLA, or Moroccan Sports Betting groups. Instead, this piece raises awareness for observed greedy malicious practices. 

When I was 16, I bet on football for the first time ever. I remember the anxiety that crept on me when I entered the Cote Sportif shop. My hands were trembling and that made it difficult to use a pen. I worried that I will get asked for ID at any moment. 

Despite my friend reassuring me, I was nervous. It was my first time doing something illegal and I knew it. What’s worse is that the danger of getting caught made winning my first-ever gamble a thrill.

I gambled 5dh which turned into 70dh (Approx. $7) in a week. For a 16-year-old, that amount was significant. I remember splitting the amount into 50dh (Approx. $5) and 20dh (Approx. $2). The prior went into treating myself to a good meal. While the rest was spent on further gambling.

Me winning my first ever gamble – circa 2018

In about 2 weeks of sports betting, I experienced both highs and lows. Further losses made me angry and eager to bet again, while the occasional win paled in comparison to the initial jackpot rush.

Both I and my friend were able to drop this whole thing. But there are other teenagers –and young adults– who never managed to stop. For them, they face a much grimmer situation.

According to MDJS’s website, one of their core policies is: “The prevention of excessive gambling and protection of minors”

Yet for years on end, minors have been using sports betting as a way to make extra cash. This popularity was why I mentioned it in my Moroccan side hustles article.

All it takes is 5dh (Approx. $0.5) to introduce minors to an addictive gambling habit and for shops to gain lifelong clients.

This drives the question, are MDJS aware of this issue? Why are underage sports betting a thing in Morocco? In this investigative article, I dive deep into Moroccan sports betting, its problems, and what the future holds.

Moroccan Sports Betting Policies

Before we can discuss the current problems, we must first understand MDJS’ policies and code of ethics. Their website provides all the information necessary to form a starting point.

MDJS’ 5 Objectives

Based on the details provided, the group functions on 5 fundamental concepts. These notions seek to protect the consumer and they are:

  • Prevention of excessive gambling and protection of minors
  • The development of responsible gaming while minimizing the risk of addiction
  • The development of non-aggressive, transparent, and responsible communication campaigns
  • Supporting the structures in charge of players with difficulties
  • Supporting research and studies to understand the impact of gambling activity

From this, we can understand that MDJS’s core goals are to prevent gambling addiction, protect minors, support the community, and abolish predatory marketing schemes.

Word Lottery Association (WLA) Requirements

Moroccan Sports Betting WLA

The MDJS holds a WLA certificate. The acronym stands for the World Lottery Association. It is a global entity responsible for regulating gambling entities and granting operating licenses.

WLA members are ranked on various levels, from 1 being the lowest to 4 being the highest. Each level increases the scale and responsibility of the member. 

For Morocco, we own a level 4 certificate. This implies that we have to follow the strictest set of rules and code of conduct outlined by the WLA. Failure to comply means termination of the operating license and credibility.

Code of conduct

A great example of some of the rules MDJS must follow includes this code of conduct file provided by the WLA.

It lists various articles that the group must respect when taking any action. While there are many to say (10 in total), I want to quote Article 3, which says:

“Members shall take measures to ensure that no players are under the applicable legal age limit for the appropriate form of gaming in the jurisdiction where they may make gaming services available via ELECTRONIC commerce.”

Please keep Article 3 in mind as we move to the current problems with Moroccan sports betting.

The Current Problems of Moroccan Sports Betting

Underage Gambling

As mentioned before, my first –and last– time gambling was back when I was 16. Back then, I was able to receive a betting paper, process it, pay it, and cash out my reward without getting checked for ID once.

Nowadays, it seems that this policy has barely changed. While some shops ask for ID, other shops do not. In fact, some shops tend to perform very well near high schools.

I would estimate that there is a large % of teenagers who have betted in sports at least once. To this day, it remains the top method for minors to earn some quick money.

That’s not to say that it is a broken system. We should acknowledge MDJS for its efforts. Specifically when it comes to their mobile/online application.

Their app bars minors from betting by requiring and verifying bank accounts, national IDs, and other documents.

Moroccan Sports Betting MDJS Application

This is where the aforementioned article 3 comes into play. Centralized online products managed by MDJS itself must follow WLA’s code of conduct. In contrast to non-central franchises and shops –more on this later.

Unfortunately, despite government efforts, minors looking to gamble online can easily visit websites like 1xBet, CSGO Empire, and similar platforms.

Turning Profit is Statistically Impossible

Note: The issue explained below applies to every sports betting entity in the world. This isn’t limited to Morocco.

Did you know, to make your money back from sports betting you need to win 52.4% of your bets? For reference, some of the world’s greatest sports gamblers have a 55%-58% success rate.

Unlike what napkin mathematics dictates, the % needed to break even is 52.4% instead of 50%. This is because service providers always set 1.0 to 1.1 odds to compensate for losses.

To put into perspective, if you were to bet 1000dh (Approx. $100) on a single ticket, you need to cash out at least 1100dh (Approx. $110) to make back the original amount.

The only logical response is to diversify bets to statistically increase. But smaller safe bets rarely pay out above 1.1x.

As a result, consumers are more tempted to take bigger bets on many matches in a single ticket for a big checkout. The caveat is that the probability of making a sequence of correct bets in a row is difficult — if not, impossible.

So, betters are stuck between a rock and a hard place. Make small bets and the reward does not cover fees. Make large bets and the chances of winning decrease.

Moroccan Sports Betting Pros and Cons

In all honesty, sports betting odds have and will always continue to favor the founders (The house always wins).

Why Fixing The Moroccan Sports Betting Scene is Challenging

Despite what you might initially think *cough* greed *cough*, there are many reasons why minors can bet on sports.

Difficulty in Managing Franchises

Did you know that roughly 1300 sports betting shops exist in Morocco? All these shops are franchises of the MDJS brand, meaning that they are not directly managed by the group.

Yet, not anyone can start a sports betting place. In fact, there are conditions to clear before joining the franchise. According to MDJS, they are:

  • Having a commercial space
  • Carrying out commercial activities
  • Being registered with a patent and having a certificate of registration for the professional tax
  • Being registered in the trade register and having a copy of the RC identifying the establishment
  • Having a CIN

Only when a person holds all these –easy to have– requirements can they apply to the franchise. Their document is then processed by the MDJS, which then accepts or denies the application.

In reality, if a person owns a space and practices a commercial activity, then the conditions are already cleared. So this easy-to-enter funnel leads to thousands of applicants.

Moroccan Sports Betting MDJS Requirements

Consequently, people of all backgrounds and motifs can run a sports betting shop. And the result is hundreds of providers breaking the rules and allowing minors to gamble.

Underage Gambling Generates Lots of Money

We’ve already implied that sports betting is a popular activity among high schoolers. They often bet with the least amount possible –5dh but sometimes more– on a frequent basis.

For a shop owner, rejecting minors from gambling means losing a decent amount of revenue. Let’s consider a betting shop located near a medium-sized high school of 1000 students.

Assuming that 45% of students are male (450) and of that amount, only 20% will gamble (90) on an off-day basis. A shop will lose out on 5400dh (90 students x 3 days per week x 4 weeks x 5dh minimum amount) of revenue per month. That amount can pay an employee and bills!

This is being generous with the estimations. Since teenagers gamble with their allowance money and lack logical and emotional reasoning.

In contrast, an “adult” can rationally bet and gamble on an occasional basis –excluding addicts and “professionals”.

It is Easy to Cover Up Minors’ Earnings

Moroccan Sports Betting Accounting Fraud

I should confess that there is no evidence to back up this claim –the lack of Moroccan data/studies is a huge issue–. However, the economist in me (I lied I don’t have the economy dawg in me) leads me to assume this claim.

As we have established, teenagers tend to make many small bets with each one paying out a small reward. On the opposite side, adults —who can afford to– tend to gamble with bigger amounts for a higher payout.

For underage cashouts, some sort of justification must be provided for why money has been withdrawn from the shop register.

I hypothesize that smaller bets with low payouts can be covered up with the right excuses –ranging from operational to human error.

It is entirely possible that large adult payouts cover up the smaller ones on records. At the same, it could also be possible that minimal figures are neglected in the bigger picture.

I should once again clarify that this is only speculation from my side. Whether it is true or not, I let that up for you to decide. But what is factual, is that the money paid to minors has to show up on financial records somewhere.

Perhaps, everyone turns a blind eye. We might never know.

The Future of Moroccan Sports Betting

Esports Gambling

Moroccan Sports Betting MDJS Esports

Back in April 2022, MDJS became the official supporter of FRMJE, Morocco’s national Esports federation. This comes after the entity’s own efforts in expanding to Esports.

One of their contributions was founding their Esports team, Fox Gaming. Whom I happen to have interviewed before, nice coincidence.

While this great news paints a brighter picture of the future of the local Esports scene. I can’t help but wonder what will happen to the audience.

It is well known that the average esports fan is a teenager or young adult with a strong passion for their game.

When the Rabat gaming zone project officially opens, I won’t be surprised if Esports betting becomes a thing. Fans will have an attractive entry point to sports betting through Esports.

So more than 3 million Moroccan gamers will have the option to gamble on their favorite team. It is also worth mentioning that Esport fans are very familiar with the concept of sports betting.

Will it Ever be Fixed?

When I was researching this article, I asked r/Morocco to see if this problem was local to my city. The overwhelming majority of replies mentioned similar instances happening in their areas.

What surprised me the most is that a good sum of commenters mentioned that it isn’t a problem in their eyes. They claimed that teenagers seem to appreciate that they can make money from sports betting.

It saddens me to know that this opinion is not unique to Reddit. Tens of thousands of high schoolers and young adults across Morocco gamble every single day.

While I am an avid supporter of making money and supporting yourself (who isn’t?), sports betting is not it, chief. We live in a society (he said the 🤡 line) where teenagers have to resort to gambling to fund themselves. I’m already worried that this article will land me in legal trouble, so I will save that conversation for another day.

It is hard to be optimistic about the future. Yet I find myself hopeful that as the economy recovers, shop owners wouldn’t feel as greedy. Then again, you can buy alcohol from Moroccan alcohol shops as a minor, no questions asked.

Finally, I should clarify once more that this article bears no ill intent to anyone. I try to be understanding of everyone’s perspective and do not wish to villainize anyone.

I am simply reporting on information available online and my experience. If there is one thing I wish people could take away from this is that: Gambling is bad, it’s a losing game.

Moroccan Sports Betting Gambling Meme
Just kidding, most gamblers quit right before they win. 

Post-credit Random Insights

To keep it with my blog’s traditions, imagine what you read was a video and these are the post-credit scenes. I’m not gonna lie, I felt like a 60’s LA Noire journalist while writing this story and it was fun.

I know you don’t care about how this story took me more than a month and a half to research and write. Instead here are some fun insights.

MDJS Social Work is a Requirement by the WLA

Kudos to MDJS for sponsoring and supporting many Moroccan sports programs and initiatives. While part of this support comes from kindness, another part comes from WLA.

The World Lottery Association rules that every participating member must contribute to social improvement. It isn’t a bad thing, it’s a win-win situation for everyone involved.

Currently, Morocco has no Laws on Online Gambling

As the heading mentions, Morocco currently has no laws or regulations about online gambling. That’s it that’s the insight, do with that information as you will.

Sponsoring Sports Kid Events and Tournaments

Am I the only one that finds it weird that MDJS is sponsoring kid events and tournaments? Sure it isn’t harmful and the financial support is great to have, but it does not sit right with me.

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About Me

Abdo spends most of his time either binging Youtube or writing what is on his mind. Hailing from Morocco, this trilingual writer is passionate about video games, entrepreunership, and interesting stories

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