The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has increasingly been using top-class Cricket sports as a vehicle to showcase what the country has to offer to the rest of the world.
As one of the most popular sports in the UAE, cricket has inevitably featured heavily in the country’s quest to become a major player on the global stage.
The ongoing 2023 Abu Dhabi T10 tournament is a perfect example of this in action, with numerous high-profile overseas players participating in the event.
The popularity of the T10 format of the game in the UAE can be attributed to several factors including the structure of the demographic who live there.
Almost half of the population who reside in the UAE are aged between 15 and 35 – an age group where brevity in sports events is hugely attractive.
Numerous respected pundits have urged cricket bosses to develop shorter versions of the game to maximize interest among younger people.
They also argue it makes the sport more appealing to the online gambling industry, with the quickfire nature of T10 and other short tournaments lending themselves perfectly to wagering.
This mindset has undoubtedly played a part in the UAE bidding to host the 2025 Champions Trophy – one of the most important One-Day International (ODI) tournaments in the world.
Pakistan was originally chosen to host the prestigious event, but objections from India citing political and security reasons have opened the door for the UAE to step in.
With the tournament attracting massive interest in online betting circles, the UAE’s eagerness to stage the event is unquestionably noteworthy.
Much like the rest of the Middle East, gambling has been a taboo subject in the UAE due to religious beliefs and the strict laws prohibiting the practice.
However, the landscape has been changing in recent years, with the government largely turning a blind eye to international operators who allow Arab players to use their sites.
This has opened the door for different types of online casinos in the UAE to operate without fear of sanction from local lawmakers.
Web-based casinos have become extremely popular, with players able to easily access popular games such as online slots, table gables, and poker.
Liver dealer games have also become increasingly prevalent, allowing UAE citizens to experience the thrill of visiting a land-based casino in a digital environment.
With mobile app casinos also in the mix, it has never been easier for Arab players to fuel their passion for gaming whenever and wherever they want.
The creation of a licensing and regulatory framework to oversee gambling in the UAE will remove the remaining obstacles to the practice becoming commonplace within the country’s borders.
This will have a knock-on effect on the associated sports betting sector, which is eager to capitalize on the UAE’s growing footprint in professional sports.
Grabbing the rights to stage the 2025 Champions Trophy would boost those aims, although there are hurdles to overcome before this becomes a reality.
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has reportedly urged the International Cricket Council (ICC) to appoint an independent security agency to determine whether the tournament should be moved.
This agency would liaise with the Pakistani government and security officials to assess the security arrangements for all participating teams, including India.
The PCB has argued that if India’s matches are moved elsewhere or they lose the hosting rights to the tournament, they should be compensated.
Given the wealth at the UAE’s disposal, they have the financial means to smooth the path for the ICC to switch the tournament which would further increase their profile on the global sporting stage.