Iran shuts down ‘Who Wants to be a Millionaire’ equivalent, accuses TV channel of ‘running a halal casino’

Iranian state TV has temporarily shut down its equivalent to “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” after clerics bashed the show for offering cash prizes and warned that the program is counterproductive to the “culture of hard work” the country is trying to promote.

On top of that, a senior Shia cleric issued a religious ruling or fatwa, against similar shows that reward winners with money, the BBC reported Friday.

Grand Ayatollah Nasser Makarem-Shirazi’s fatwa targets “games of chance” and maintains they are strictly forbidden under Islamic law.

The show, “Be a Winner,” is hosted by actor and model Mohammad Reza Golzar and gives players the chance to win 1 billion Iranian rials or about $30,000. It also allows watchers at home to win money by participating through an app.

News agencies have slammed state-broadcaster Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting for “running a halal casino.” Some conservative outlets called the show an “embarrassment” and demanded the head of the channel that airs the show be fired.

The IRIB also said it would look into shows it airs that offer contestants cash.