Online Gambling Laws in the UAE: Are There Any Prospects for Operators?

26 june 2020
Online casino
Author: James Burton
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Many people associate the United Arab Emirates with wealth, luxury and many prospects for business development. Representatives of the gambling industry are increasingly turning their attention to this potentially profitable market. Beginning businessmen often ask “What are the UAE gambling laws?”

If you are also interested in conducting business in this country, the Casino Market team proposes you to learn more about the features of online gambling laws in the UAE.

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The Current State of the Gambling Market in Dubai 

Gambling market in Dubai: current state

Most of the UAE population professes Islam. It is noteworthy that the laws of this country are based on Sharia rules. That is why any gambling activity is considered a sin here. There are no casinos or slot machines in luxury hotels in Dubai. Besides, local sports enthusiasts cannot make bets in bookmaker kiosks.

UAE law enforcement agencies control the activities of the underground casino business in the UAE tightly. Offenders are subject to huge fines. Moreover, there is a risk of real imprisonment.

Despite the ban, a weak manifestation of gambling business in Dubai exists. For sure, you have heard about sports competitions that take place in the UAE. One of the most famous events is the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Sometimes, the authorities allow organising lottery draws and betting on the outcome of some competitions.

It should be noted that this applies only to very significant sporting events. Moreover, obtaining the appropriate permission is a very complex and costly process. Not every entrepreneur manages to get it. It can be

Nevertheless, it can be concluded that the UAE betting business is developed rather poorly. In addition, it is under strict state control.

It is worth noting that not all Muslim countries have a negative attitude towards gambling activities. There are several examples of states allowing betting and casino games. Tunisia, Malaysia, Lebanon and Egypt combined gambling and the hotel industry successfully. Millions of tourists visit these countries every year. The gaming industry brings huge amounts to the treasuries of the above states.

Attractiveness for Operators

Dubai and other emirates are attractive to investors for many reasons. Let us consider some of them:

Potential profitability

As is well-known, most of the UAE residents are high-income people. This peculiarity is incredibly beneficial for the development of gambling in Dubai

The openness for tourists

The country is open to tourists. Millions of people visit Dubai, Abu Dhabi and other cities every year

Digital technology development

UAE residents use the latest technological developments in their daily lives. Interest in modern technologies can play into the hands of representatives of the casino business in the UAE

It is no secret that oil sales have long been not the only source of income for the UAE. State leaders made a strong emphasis on the tourist area. It allowed them to attract the attention of people from around the world to their country.

Since the end of the 20th century, a construction boom has begun in Dubai and other cities. Many impressive buildings and fancy hotels have appeared in the United Arab Emirates. Many businessmen hope that the active evolution of the tourism industry will contribute to the growth of the gambling business in Dubai. However, gambling laws in the UAE are still very strict today.

Expectations of Entrepreneurs

The hope for some mitigation of casino laws in the United Arab Emirates appeared in 2018. A really impressive occasion happened that year. The famous corporation Caesars Entertainment, which is well known for the largest casinos in the world, has opened its hotel in Dubai.

At the same time, the head of the company convinced media representatives that conducting a gambling business in Dubai was not the goal of launching this project. The corporation considers Dubai exclusively as a tourist mecca. The respect for local traditions does not allow the firm to open its casinos here.

Nevertheless, it is no secret that the tourism and gambling spheres are always closely interconnected. Opening a casino in Dubai could bring significant sums to Caesars Entertainment. Therefore, many experts believe that representatives of the corporation can influence the acceleration of the UAE betting business legalisation.

Online Gambling in the UAE

Online gambling in the UAE

Land-based gambling in Dubai is evolving quite slowly. Nonetheless, many gamers from this country often use mobile devices to play their favourite games of chance. That is why lots of operators are often asking “What are the online gambling laws in Dubai?”

Unfortunately, online gaming and betting activities are prohibited in the country. However, there are several significant differences between offline and online gambling in Dubai.

The essential points are as follows:

  1. State control.
  2. The use of modern technologies.
  3. The level of profitability.

Government Control

As already mentioned, the UAE law enforcement agencies control the activities of land-based institutions and punish offenders. Regarding virtual gambling, it is worth noting that betting laws in the United Arab Emirates strictly monitor the activities of entrepreneurs working on the Internet too.

Although, there is an exception to this rule. The fact is that the actions of law enforcement agencies are directed mainly to websites registered within the state. Therefore, operators wishing to open online casinos in the UAE often license their projects in foreign jurisdictions. Locals and tourists can visit such online resources almost unhindered.

Advanced Technologies

Resorts in Dubai and Abu Dhabi cannot boast of vivid, exciting slot machines and luxurious gambling halls with the most advanced equipment.

That is why the residents began to look for a decent alternative on the Internet. It is noteworthy that many regular customers of foreign gambling resources prefer entertainments, imitating the atmosphere of real establishments (for example, live games, VR and AR casinos).

Potential Profitability

Even if the expected changes in gambling laws in the UAE occur, land-based casinos will focus primarily on foreign tourists. Undoubtedly, a huge number of wealthy citizens live in the country. They are ready to visit real gambling establishments.

At the same time, a huge percentage of people prefer a more convenient and simple format of gaming. Unlike land-based casinos, virtual platforms can operate around the clock. In addition, users do not need to leave their homes to play their favourite games.

An important aspect is also the lower cost of starting an online business. Entrepreneurs will not have to spend large amounts on the construction or rental of premises, the search for personnel, and the purchase of equipment.

The Main Things about Online Gambling Laws in the UAE

Online gambling laws in the UAE

Gambling laws in the UAE are characterised by the following features:

  • a strict prohibition on gambling activities;
  • many entrepreneurs are working in the online space;
  • some entertainments (sweepstakes, lottery draws) are permitted with the appropriate permission.

Despite the high incomes of citizens, the huge flow of tourists and the technological advantages of Dubai and other cities, the country remains closed for many entrepreneurs willing to open online casinos in the UAE.

However, there are several prerequisites for speeding up the process of changing the UAE gaming laws:

  • successful experience of other Muslim countries (Egypt, Lebanon, Tunisia, Malaysia);
  • a constantly growing number of tourist sites;
  • the rapid development of digital technologies;
  • the search for new profitable industries.

Operators need to keep abreast the situation within the country. If you want to learn more about the gambling business in the UAE and other countries of the Middle East region, please contact Casino Market managers. We will be glad to answer all your questions.

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