eSports betting is becoming more popular worldwide, even in regions like the Middle East where gambling has traditionally been discouraged. Surprisingly, in 2023, there is a significant number of bettors from this region who are showing a growing interest in Middle East eSports betting. In this article, we will explore the reasons behind this sudden surge in betting on eSports tournaments and provide insights into how and where they participate in this exciting activity.
The Middle East is Embracing the Digital Revolution
eSports has gained traction in the Middle East in recent years, while it has yet to reach the same degree of popularity as countries such as the United States, China, and South Korea. However, if current trends continue, Arab countries such as Saudi Arabia could emerge as key eSports hubs by the end of the decade.
The support of Middle Eastern governments has played a crucial role in the growth of eSports in the region. Saudi Arabia is at the forefront of the gaming industry in the region and is taking bold steps to solidify its position. Through its Vision 2030 strategy, the Saudi government plans to invest over $4 billion in the gaming and eSports sector over the next five years. This ambitious strategy aims to establish Saudi Arabia as a global hub for gaming and eSports, paving the way for exciting opportunities in the industry.
The eSports Sector Keeps Growing in the MENA Region
Last year, the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) eSports business earned around $1.8 billion in sales and is forecasted to reach $2.8 billion by 2026. Not only is revenue increasing, but so is the number of eSports players in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and the UAE. Currently, there are less than 70 million are considered eSports athletes across the region, with that figure predicted to rise to 87.3 million by 2027. Similar growth is expected in other countries in the region, for a variety of reasons.
But what is deriving this growth? Technological improvements have made it easier for people in the Middle East to obtain the essential hardware and software for playing online video games. Secondly, the region has a sizable population of young people, with 55% of the MENA region’s population being under the age of 30, the ideal age for eSports. In addition, we are seeing an increase in female participation and representation in eSports. Women gamers are defying stereotypes and making a name for themselves in the industry.
The final reason for the increasing popularity of eSports in MENA countries is the presence of successful eSports athletes. The achievements of players like Amjad Alshalabi and Aldossary Mossad inspire others to follow in their footsteps. Even those who are not entirely interested in becoming professional players still support and follow these athletes.
Middle Eastern eSports Fans Keep Betting at Foreign Sportsbooks
In most parts of the Middle East, online sports betting is still not prohibited because of Islamic law, which forbids gambling. However, some countries like the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia, and Egypt are more lenient when it comes to gambling. Even though there are rules against it, many people in the Middle East still gamble online using offshore websites based in other countries. These websites offer the chance to bet on eSports events allowing residents of Arab countries to bet on events and players from their own countries.
More and more people in the Middle East are calling for the rules on gambling to be loosened. This change in opinion is making politicians think again about their views on sportsbooks and casinos because they realize that taxes from gambling could bring in a significant amount of money for the economy instead of it going to foreign countries.
The popularity of online eSports betting has skyrocketed throughout the Middle East, defying the region’s traditional disapproval of gambling. Given the history of gambling views, this move is quite astonishing. Government backing is playing a crucial part in promoting the growth of eSports and placing the region as a potential worldwide powerhouse for this business. As the Middle East’s fascination with eSports continues to captivate audiences, there are exciting possibilities for further expansion in the future. The region’s growing interest in eSports presents promising opportunities for the industry’s continued growth and success.