Gambling Legislation

UAE sets its sights on regulated casinos

There’s a new gambling hub that is emerging on the global gaming stage

The United Arab Emirates has established a “General Commercial Gaming Regulatory Authority (GCGRA),” headquartered in Abu Dhabi, to act as a federal authority, introducing a “world-leading regulatory framework” for commercial casinos and a national lottery. UAE casinos could generate $6.6 billion in annual gaming revenue, according to Bloomberg.

Kevin Mullally, a globally respected gaming regulator, has been named CEO of the GCGRA, with over 30 years of experience in national and international gaming regulation. He’s also a former executive director of the Missouri Gaming Commission.

“I am delighted to have been appointed as the inaugural CEO of the GCGRA,” said Mullally. “With my experienced colleagues, I look forward to establishing a robust regulatory body and framework for the UAE’s lottery and gaming industry.”

Gaming Industry veteran Jim Murren will head the organization’s Board of Directors. The former CEO of MGM Resorts International is also slated to be inducted into the American Gaming Association Gaming Hall of Fame.

Murren released a statement saying, “I am delighted at the appointment of Kevin Mullally. He brings unparalleled category experience and will be invaluable in creating a fit-for-purpose regulatory framework for the UAE.”

Reports are that Las Vegas’ Wynn Resorts already has an inside track to the new market. The northernmost emirate in the UAE, Ras al-Khaimah, announced it had reached a multibillion-dollar deal with Wynn Resorts in 2022, according to the Associated Press. Last April, Wynn Resorts estimated the cost of the proposed Ras al-Khaimah resort at $3.9 billion.

Craig Billings, CEO of Wynn Resorts, said, “I am incredibly proud of our design and development team’s ability to impart our legacy of rich, thoughtful design into a sun-soaked beachside resort that will delight customers. We look forward to opening Wynn Al Marjan Island in early 2027.”

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