Morocco, with a population of 34 million people, lies on the north east coast of Africa. Morocco is fairly well developed in spite of only having a per capita PPP GDP of about $7,600 per year. Morocco not long ago ranked first though in quality of life among African countries, and although they have dropped a bit since then they still sit in fourth overall.
Morocco is 99% Muslim, and it is unusual in that Muslim countries generally don’t take to gambling all that much, but this is not the case at all here, even after the political uprising that occurred here recently during the so called Arab Spring period where the government became even more Muslim oriented. (1)
Gambling is big in Morocco nonetheless, and a lot of this is driven by the role that tourism plays in this country, and the long standing presence of casinos here, going back all the way to 1952, even before Morocco achieved its independence. Tourism is the second biggest industry here and Morocco gets about 7.5 million tourists a year, and a lot of them come to gamble.
So casinos are completely legal here, and it’s not only the tourists that are allowed to play at them like you see in some other Arab countries, the locals are welcome as well, and they do partake in gambling. Another thing that stands out here is that while gambling isn’t anywhere near as rampant in Morocco as you see in most Arab countries, with only a very small percentage of the population engaging in it, about 10% of Moroccans gamble regularly, an impressive amount for a Muslim country where gambling is seen as prohibited on religious grounds..
This represents about 3 million people who actively participate in the gambling market here and that, together with all the tourists Morocco gets, makes gambling a pretty thriving activity here, and while it’s not on the scale of the biggest African gambling markets like South Africa, it is definitely growing. (2)
It’s not that gambling is completely legal here, there are only certain forms of it that you can play, but it’s fairly liberal. Aside from casino games, poker is legal as well, as certain forms of sports betting and the lottery, all very popular among Moroccan people. (3)
The government has even taken the lottery online, and this has resulted in some real growth of online gambling in general, not only with the lottery but with other forms of online gambling as well. The new government here that has taken over isn’t crazy about the idea and has shown at least some restraint, recently banning televised coverage of lottery draws, but that’s about the extent of the resistance towards it here so far.
Morocco’s involvement in regulated online gambling has been confined to just the lottery thus far, and given the change in view somewhat towards gambling in general here, it might be a while before they end up expanding this, as once again the attitude toward this has shifted a bit towards the more conservative side. Over 60% of Moroccans have access to the internet these days though and many do gamble online. (4)
With the relatively low income here along with the fairly low percentage of people who like to gamble though, it‘s not that the online gambling market here is a huge one, but it‘s still pretty significant given that several million Moroccans do like to gamble, and many have the means to do so online.
Playing Poker in Morocco
Morocco is actually a hotspot for poker, especially when it comes to live poker events. There are a lot of poker tournaments that happen here, at the country’s 7 casinos, and 6 of the 7 offer dedicated poker rooms which offer cash games in addition to frequent poker tournaments. (5)
One of the leaders in the Moroccan government, Mohamed Yatim, is hoping to get a bill passed to curb the amount of gambling advertising that can be shown in Morocco, and this seems to be especially targeted to poker advertising, which drives the poker market a lot, and should this law pass, this is said to be likely to have a big negative effect on the poker market here.
The fact that there is so much advertising related to poker that they need a law to restrict it tells us a lot about how big poker is here, as the very existence of this much poker advertising really makes Morocco stand out among other African countries.
As it turns out, Yatim’s son is a poker player, and he recently took third place in a World Poker Tour event held in Morocco. So this is pretty ironic, but at least Yatim isn’t looking to get rid of poker altogether, only to slow down its growth, and that’s a far cry from the strategy used in other Arab countries to be sure.
Players come from all over Europe to play poker in Morocco, and Morocco has adopted the strong poker culture that exists in Europe these days, and this has led to their being the hub of poker on the continent of Africa. Many African countries are in their infancy when it comes to the development of an interest in the game of poker, but not so in Morocco, it is a well developed now and is only getting bigger.
Another thing that Morocco has going for it is that there are several professional poker players from here, and they get plenty of media coverage, and there’s perhaps nothing as effective at driving interest in poker than to see your countrymen do well, and especially if the tournaments themselves are hosted in your country as well.
As far as involvement in online poker goes, for whatever reason this poker frenzy hasn’t translated to a huge migration to online poker by Moroccans as of yet, and the amount of Moroccans that play online poker regularly isn’t nearly as high as you see in some Arab countries where it’s also taken off, such as Lebanon and the United Arab Emirates, where it is a lot more popular.
Still though, online poker is growing here, and there’s nothing really stopping Moroccans from enjoying this great game online as so many others from all over the world do.
Top Online Poker Sites For Players From Morocco
We have the four best online poker sites for you if you are from Morocco, and the best news is that these four are among our top 5 online poker sites in the world, so Moroccan players can choose from the best of the best here.
All four offer nice welcome bonuses to allow you to pad your bankroll as an extra reward for just trying them out by playing some poker with them. All of these sites are top notch by the way and well worth trying.
888 Poker is widely regarded as the finest online poker site in the world overall, especially when you factor in that in spite of their huge amount of traffic, there are lots of fish here as well. This is a very attractive place to play and has been my personal favorite for many years now.
Titan Poker and Bet 365 Poker are mentioned together here, since they are both on the iPoker Network, which is the leading poker network in the world. Either of these sites are great choices, and Bet 365 is also one of the highest rated sports books in the world as well, so if you like to bet on sports, they give you a first class experience with that as well.
Black Chip Poker is also a fine place to play online poker, and more and more players are being turned on to this growing site as they give it a try. The competition here is particularly soft, and that’s one of the most important things that affect your bottom line, it’s the biggest by far actually. It’s a very good site overall as well.
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