Top clerics in Saudi Arabia have issued a fatwa banning the playing of Pokemon Go as a form of gambling.
The decree was issued by General Secretariat of the Council of Senior Scholars on the website of the General Presidency for Scholarly Research and Ifta, Arab News reported Wednesday.
The edict actually updates an existing ban on the Pokemon card and video games before they morphed into the mobile phone virtual reality game that has swept the world.
The clerics issued the old fatwa, (No. 21,758), 16 years ago, declaring the original Japanese game a form of gambling, which is forbidden in Islam,
Sheikh Saleh Al-Fozan, a member of the Council of Senior Scholars, said the virtual reality version of the game is the same as the old one.
The game has not been officially released regionally, but is nonetheless popular in the Middle East among gamers who have downloaded the app, the Associated Press reports.
Although Pokemon Go does not involve the winning or losing of money, the fatwa notes that it nonetheless violates the gambling ban.
This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner By Doug Stanglin, USA Today ‘ July 21, 2016.