United Arab Emirates Founds Gambling Regulator

The United Arab Emirates has officially established the General Commercial Gaming Regulatory Authority (GCGRA). The GCGRA is the gambling regulator of the country and allows the United Arab Emirates to offer a national lottery and commercial gambling. 

The foundation of the gambling relator as a federal authority is remarkable as most part of the Arabic world considers gambling as “forbidden”. The GCGRA will be the gambling regulator in the United Arab Emirates, Emirates News Agency reports. The establishment of the GCCRA will allow the country to introduce both a national lottery and other commercial gambling activities.

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American CEO Appointed

Upon the announcement of the new gambling regulator, Jim Murren was appointed as the chairman of the new gambling organisation. Murren previously held the position of CEO of the international gambling operator MGM Resorts International, known for their different casino venues in the US. In March 2020, he left MGM Resorts to lead Nevada’s COVID-19 Response Taskforce. Murren will be joined at the GCGRA by Kevin Mullally, a gaming attorney and lobbyist, also from the United States. Mullally has been involved in gambling industry regulation for over 30 years and will take on the role of CEO at the GCGRA.

“I am delighted to have been appointed as the inaugural CEO of the GCGRA. Together with my experienced colleagues, I look forward to establishing a robust regulatory body and framework for the UAE’s lottery and gaming industry. I am very pleased with the appointment of Kevin Mullally. He brings unparalleled experience and will be invaluable in creating an appropriate regulatory framework for the UAE.”

Jim Murren, GCGRA President

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Wynn Resorts To Open Casino Resort

Previously, the casino company Wynn Resorts announced that it will build a new casino resort on the man-made island of Al Marjan in the United Arab Emirates. The Wynn Al Marjan Island project will cost $3.9 billion (NZ$ 6,38b) and is scheduled to open in early 2027. The new resort will become one of the largest casinos in the world. The casino is built in particular for foreign tourists as the country’s local laws are mainly based on the Islam, meaning gambling is considered “haram” for local citizens. The prospect of a new land based casino in the Arabic region comes against the background of increasing competition in the Gulf, with the United Arab Emirates trying to push away rapidly-opening Saudi Arabia as the tourism hub in the Arabic world. In recent years, Saudi Arabia has focused on becoming a tourist destination as a way to diversify its economy that currently depends on oil, yet it does not allow casinos on its territory.

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