An overview of the online gambling market in Arab countries

Online gambling is a very popular form of entertainment, people from all around the world enjoy playing on online casinos or wagering on sports tournaments via the internet. Some regions have much larger markets than others, however in certain areas, such as Arab countries, attitudes are starting to change and online gambling is becoming more accessible.

The global online gambling market is thought to be worth around $65 billion US dollars at present and continues to grow year-on-year. By the year 2030, it is estimated that the market could reach $172 billion dollars. 

Currently, Europe is the region that is leading the way for online gambling with its growing sports betting industry and ease of regulations. The Asian Pacific market is currently the fastest growing due to increased internet usage, cultural changes and rapid urbanisation. 

There are a number of reasons that the online gambling sector is thriving. One reason is the convenience of gaming from a smartphone or tablet, which often beats having to travel to a land based venue.

Also, the availability of different online gambling games has drastically improved over the years. When online casino games first began to pop up on the internet in the 1990s, there was not a huge amount of choice. However, as the technology improved and demand grew, games providers made an effort to target the right customers with targeted ads and offer a much bigger range of games and betting choices.

Another factor that is aiding the industry’s growth is that gambling related laws are relaxing across the world, including in places such as the United States and Canada and the attitude is becoming more positive. In recent years a number of states in America have legalised online gambling, including Connecticut, Delaware, Michigan, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia.

While there are certain states with more conservative attitudes, such as Utah and Hawaii, that are unlikely to change rulings on gambling any time soon, many other areas are leaning towards permitting and regulating internet based gambling activity. 

Outside of North America, there are a number of Arabic countries that are also becoming more open to online gambling. There are a number of online casino providers, like Casino 777, that are recognising this and opening up to this market. 

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What Arab countries allow online gambling?

Some countries still have very restrictive laws when it comes to online gambling, For example, in Algeria online gambling is strictly outlawed, as it also is in Bahrain, Iran, Jordan, Kuwait, Libya, Oman, Qatar, Tunisia and Yemen.

In many of these countries, gamers still access online gambling sites that are based abroad and accept players in their region. It is considered to be very rare for a citizen in these countries to be prosecuted for enjoying a game or two online in their own time.   

Nevertheless, online gambling market growth is being seen in a number of Arab countries

The online gambling market in the Middle East is forecast to have a 12 percent CAGR between 2021 and 2026. This shows how the industry is developing despite having a history of being prohibitive towards all types of gambling. 

Poker and roulette are both popular choices, with wealthy players putting very large wagers on games. 

Gambling related regulations laws do differ in each country in the Middle East, with many have restrictions that have been put in place mainly due to religious backgrounds, however it is something that may change in the future.

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In the United Arab Emirates, investment in gaming and online gambling is on the rise. The average adult in the UAE now spends around $115 per year on online gaming related activities. 

Smartphone usage in the region is now at an all time high and investment in the latest technologies, such as Augmented Reality and Artificial Intelligence are resulting in enhanced gaming and online gambling experiences for players.

In Saudi Arabia, an esport charity was recently set up to help provide funding for important causes, with a prize fund of $10 million US dollars being established. This country has a very young population, with around 70 percent of inhabitants being under the age of 30, meaning there are around 20 million gaming enthusiasts.

Furthermore, gaming company Activision has been working with the Saudi Telecom in the regions of Riyadh and Jeddah to introduce special servers that are to be used for Call of Duty in the region. Also, over in Kuwait the new company Zain Esports has been set up with the aim of building up a substantial calendar full of online eSports tournaments.

It is likely that countries in this region will begin to take a more positive approach towards allowing and regulating online gambling activity. As this happens, we can expect to see the online gambling market in the Arab region begin to thrive in the years ahead.

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