Is the Middle East the Next Online Gambling Hotspot?

Online gambling in the Middle East

Boston Consulting Group’s (BCG) recent report predicts that the casino online gambling industry will remain in the top two as the largest media sector globally, and television will remain first.

The Middle East is quickly becoming a new hotspot for gaming enthusiasts, with the industry projected to exceed $210 billion in revenue within the next three years.

Let’s take a look at different parts of the world and what online gambling looks like in those regions.

Gambling in Kuwait is a No-Go

Gaming and iGaming hold significant appeal in many parts of the world. However, in Kuwait, things look different. Kuwait strictly prohibits many activities due to the deeply rooted Islamic values and traditions. There is a complete absence of brick-and-mortar casinos and a legal framework for iGaming. 

There is currently a demand for gaming within the people of Kuwait, forcing citizens to turn to unregulated markets in the hope of finding thrills through offshore platforms that accept their registration. Poker and sports betting websites that cater to this audience usually operate outside of the local laws, which exposes the players to potential risks and lacks the protection offered by regulated markets.

Politicians previously expressed interest in legalising gambling and alcohol consumption. This would mainly boost the nation’s tourism sector and appeal to foreign investors. However, these plans failed to see the light of day, although it is understood that the strict laws only apply to citizens, so foreign tourists are allowed to gamble online.

Many players can access online casino Kuwait platforms via virtual private networks (VPNs) that hide IP addresses from the government. While countries like China prohibit the use of VPNs, they are readily accessible in Kuwait, and no laws currently prohibit their use for iGaming sites. 

China currently dominates the streaming scene, but the Middle East is projected to experience a three-fold increase in its iGaming audience, reaching almost 200 million by 2025.

Leaders in Online Gambling

When we talk about the leaders in the global charge for iGaming, the Middle East stands out as many residents identify as enthusiasts compared to anywhere else worldwide. This passion turned into action quickly as the region is also the leader in mobile app downloads, with gaming apps accounting for 50% compared to the global average of 40%. This not only showcases a commitment to iGaming and entertainment in general, but it’s also an economic powerhouse.

The National Gaming and eSports Strategy aims to develop games, generate exciting entertainment in Saudi Arabia, and contribute significantly to the country’s economic diversification.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE), with initiatives like AD Gaming and DMCC Gaming Centre, is not just attracting international iGaming giants. It also cultivates a homegrown talent pool, builds relationships that will last a lifetime, and helps the industry flourish. Its focus is on job creation, talent development, and global competitiveness.

Several key factors are fuelled by the rapid rise of the iGaming industry in the Middle East:

  • A young and digital-savvy population
  • Rising disposable incomes
  • Hot temperatures are causing people to seek indoor entertainment

Saudi Arabia has implemented an enterprising gaming and eSports strategy. This commitment is believed to create 40,000 jobs and develop 30 domestic games by 2030.

A Gaming Hub on the Rise

The Public Investment Fund (PIF) dedicated a $38 billion investment in Savvy Games Group, showcasing a clear objective to solidify Saudi Arabia’s position as a prominent player in the global iGaming world.

The UAE has also joined the gaming revolution with two dedicated gaming centres, including Abu Dhabi Gaming’s hub, which aims to attract global companies. This region’s existing strength in tourism is being cleverly influenced. The selling point for the UAE and Saudi Arabia is the combination of gaming and esport experiences with prominent tourist attractions. 

The Middle East’s strategic geographical location presents a unique benefit to iGaming companies, allowing them to cater to diverse global audiences easily.

Establishing the Middle East as a major iGaming hotspot is challenging. We believe that with the right approach and strategies, the Middle East will become the next big destination for the iGaming industry.

Middle East Gambling FAQs

🎲 Is the Middle East a good place to invest in igaming?

Yes, the Middle East is increasingly becoming an attractive destination for iGaming investments.

🎰 What is the current market size for Middle East gaming?

The Middle East Gaming Market size is estimated at USD 6.34 billion in 2024.

🌐 Is there a VPN I can use for free?

Not all VPN services require you to pay. There are many free VPNs, but be sure that they have all of the features you need.

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