How UK Companies are Driving Middle East Gambling Boom

The United Kingdom has long been viewed as the epicentre of the global gambling industry, with its tightly regulated infrastructure the envy of most other nations worldwide. Having established a reputation for trustworthiness, many of the operators who initially launched their businesses in the UK have subsequently expanded into overseas jurisdictions. Their knowledge of the industry has been utilised to shape the development of the gambling sector in other countries, particularly from a licensing and regulatory perspective.

That is undoubtedly the case in the Middle East, where the emerging gambling industry is being powered by companies who have strong roots in the UK.

The Factors Powering Middle East Gambling Growth

Many of the top Arab online casinos are owned by firms who initially operated in the UK before broadening their horizons into overseas markets. Their presence in the Middle East is helping to legitimise an industry which is yet to fully realise its potential due to the problems presented by strict Islamic Law. However, with countries such as the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia slowly relaxing their stance on previously forbidden practices, the landscape is changing.

This point is evidenced by developments in as Ras Al Khaimah, one of seven regions that comprise the UAE, which has sanctioned the opening of a multi-billion-dollar integrated resort. Located on Al Marjan Island, the resort will reportedly include casino games such as blackjack and roulette, while sports betting may also be incorporated.

This will undoubtedly have a knock-on effect into the online gambling sector, with visitors to the resort likely to crave the same freedoms they enjoy elsewhere in the world. The youthful demographic of several Middle East nations also makes the region ripe for development for established UK gambling operators.

Increased smartphone usage coupled with improved Wi-Fi connectivity has allowed easier access to online gambling sites operating in the Middle East. Rising consumer awareness of new technologies and greater levels of disposable income are among the other factors driving market growth. None of this would be possible without governments in the Middle East recognising the possibilities presented by opening their doors to online gambling.

This has allowed software companies in the region to license their games to UK and international casino operators, thus tailoring their offering to Middle Eastern players. Sports betting is also on the rise in the region, with recent developments in the Saudi Pro League powering a significant spike in the practice.

The league has splashed the cash this summer to snap up numerous big-name players from the Premier League, Serie A and several other major European leagues. This has inevitably sparked increased interest in the league, not only among fans in the Middle East but also in other leading football jurisdictions worldwide.

With sports betting part and parcel of the fan experience in the UK and Europe, it naturally follows that the practice will become commonplace for Saudi Pro League supporters. Many of the top UK gambling brands have forged strong links with professional clubs and players, a tactic they are guaranteed to replicate in the Middle East. Betting on eSports is another massive growth opportunity, with numerous nations in the region working hard to gain a foothold in the professional gaming sector.

The gambling industry is vital to the future growth of eSports, with their involvement in the industry helping to give it the same legitimacy as traditional sports. Given how keen some Middle East nations are to become big-hitters in eSports, it will be a fait accompli that they will have to work in harmony with gambling operators.

The respected nature of the UK gambling industry is helping its operators establish a strong foothold in the Middle East. Their commitment to responsible gambling is a central tenet of this, particularly given how cautious nations in the region remain about the practice. However, by implementing player protection tools such as deposit limits and self-exclusion options, operators are able to demonstrate to Middle East nations that gambling can be enjoyed safely.

While the Middle East market currently lags behind most other jurisdictions worldwide, it will likely not be too long before it starts to rival other areas. By implementing the same legislative template as the UK, nations in the region will be able to establish a fully operational infrastructure within their borders. The expertise of UK operators will undoubtedly play a crucial role in achieving this aim, thus helping to establish a lively gambling sector across the Middle East.