The United Arab Emirates have officially established the General Commercial Gaming Regulatory Authority, which is responsible for creating the regulatory framework of the country in relation to national lottery and commercial gambling.
The state-run news agency WAM of the United Arab Emirates announced the creation of the regulator on Sunday evening (3 September).
The GCGRA is responsible for the coordination of regulatory activities within the Emirates. This includes licensing.
Many questions remain unanswered, including the form that the final regulations will be in. There are still many questions, including what types of gambling will be permitted in the UAE and if there will even be an online component. There are also questions about how this relates to Wynn Resorts’ ongoing development of a casino on Al-Marjan Island, in the Emirate Ras Al Khaimah.
Craig Billings, Wynn’s CEO, said that he expects Wynn to receive its Ras Al Khaimah license “immediately” in an earnings call for Wynn’s second quarter results. The announcement of the federal model does not necessarily mean that Wynn must reapply.
Kevin Mullally named chief executive
Kevin Mullally, former executive director of the Missouri Gaming Commission, will be its new chief executive. Mullally worked at GLI for 17 years.
Jim Murren, meanwhile, will be the chairman of the board. Murren was the chairman and CEO of MGM Resorts from 2008 to 2020.
Mullally said, “I’m delighted to be the first CEO of the GCGRA.” “With my experienced co-workers, I look forward establishing a robust framework and regulatory body for the UAE lottery and gaming industry.”
Murren said: “I’m delighted with the appointment of Kevin Mullally. He has a wealth of category expertise and will be invaluable to the UAE in developing a regulatory framework that is fit for purpose.
Consultants urge UAE to adopt federal gambling regulations
GLI, according to iGB’s sources, has been the leading consultant in the UAE regulatory framework.
Eilers & Krejcik Gaming is a gaming consultancy and market research company that also supported this project.
These firms demanded that the federal government regulate gambling, rather than individual emirates.
Sources said that the UAE also plans to impose a revenue tax of 25% on mass-market gambling. Premium gaming will be subject to a tax of 8%.
Wynn’s $3.9bn planned UAE casino development
Wynn has begun construction on its Al-Marjan Casino as the new regulator is being established.
The project, which recently broke ground, will be completed in 2027. Wynn owns a small stake in the project, while 60% of it is owned by local partners.
GCGRA is likely to be the organization that grants Wynn the license for his $3.9bn Casino development. There are still questions about how this will actually work.
At present, according to UAE federal law, any person who engages in gambling can be subject to two years in prison and an AED50,000 (PS10,700/$13,600/EUR12,600) fine.