Gaming in the Middle East: A Rising Force in Global Entertainment

Gaming in the Middle East: A Rising Force in Global Entertainment

The Middle East is making a big mark in the global gaming scene, driven by unique factors that set the region apart.

According to a recent report by Boston Consulting Group (BCG), gaming is predicted to be the second-largest media sector worldwide, just behind television. The Middle East is quickly becoming a hotspot for gamers, with the industry expected to exceed $210 billion in revenue within the next three years.

Kuwait, however, has a different stance on casinos. Due to Islamic values and traditions, the country strictly prohibits many popular activities, including brick-and-mortar casinos and iGaming. Despite this, there is a noticeable demand among the population, leading Kuwaiti citizens to turn to unregulated online platforms. Some politicians have considered legalizing gambling and alcohol consumption to boost tourism and attract foreign investors, but so far, these plans have not materialized.

In the face of strict gambling laws, Kuwaiti citizens have found ways to access online casinos through virtual private networks (VPNs) that hide their IP addresses from the government.

On a broader scale, the Middle East is leading the global charge in iGaming. More residents in the region identify as gaming enthusiasts compared to anywhere else globally. This passion translates into action, with gaming apps accounting for 50% of mobile app downloads in the region, surpassing the global average of 40%.

Governments in the Middle East are taking notice of this trend and making strategic investments to support the growth of the gaming industry. Saudi Arabia, for instance, has the National Gaming and eSports Strategy, aiming to contribute to economic diversification. The UAE is also fostering a homegrown talent pool and attracting international gaming giants with initiatives like AD Gaming and DMCC Gaming Centre.

The Middle East’s strategic geographical location provides iGaming companies with a unique advantage to cater seamlessly to diverse global audiences.

Several factors are fueling the rapid rise of iGaming in the Middle East, including a young and digital-savvy population, rising disposable incomes, and the appeal of indoor entertainment in scorching temperatures. Saudi Arabia’s ambitious gaming and eSports strategy, backed by significant investments, aims to create jobs and develop domestic games, solidifying the Kingdom’s position in the global iGaming landscape.

The UAE is also joining the gaming revolution, with dedicated gaming centers and the clever integration of gaming and esports experiences with tourist attractions. This strategic approach could attract a new wave of visitors, establishing the Middle East as a major player in the global iGaming landscape.