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UAE Roll the Dice on Regulated Gambling and Welcome International Casino OperatorsIn exciting news for the gambling industry, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) revealed the launch of its first-ever gambling authority, the General Commercial Gaming Regulatory Authority (GCGRA). We also cover the Wynn's $3.9 billion Al-Marjan casino resort.
It is well-known that the United Arab Emirates has strict religious and cultural taboos regarding what most Western countries consider entertainment. Historically, the region has not looked favourably upon the consumption of alcohol, smoking in public, certain types of Western clothing, and, of course, gambling.
However, over time, as the oil-rich region has attracted more international cooperation, it has created destination locations within its domain where foreign guests can feel at home, allowing them to live as they would have in their own countries.
The Nation’s First Federal Gambling Regulator
In a surprising turn of events, the United Arab Emirates announced the formation of its first-ever General Commercial Gaming Regulatory Authority (GCGRA).
The announcement was aired on September 3rd by WAM, the state-run news agency, which said:Quote
“The General Commercial Gaming Regulatory Authority (GCGRA) has been officially established in the United Arab Emirates as a federal authority to introduce a world-leading regulatory framework for a national lottery and commercial gaming. Globally respected regulator Kevin Mullally has been appointed as CEO. He brings over 30 years of experience in national and international gaming regulation to the GCGRA.”
With the formation of the GCGRA and his appointment as CEO now public knowledge, Mullally commented:Quote
“I am delighted to have been appointed as the inaugural CEO of the GCGRA. With my experienced colleagues, I look forward to establishing a robust regulatory body and framework for the UAE’s lottery and gaming industry.”
The WAM press release further clarified that the GCGRA has been tasked with developing a “socially responsible and well-regulated gaming environment” within the UAE, which includes creating strict gambling guidelines, compliance with the highest standards, and managing all casino and gambling venue licenses nationally.
While the gambling regulator is expected to drive growth and take full advantage of the region's financial potential, its highest mandate is to ensure it is all achieved responsibly.
Perfect Timing for the Planned Ras Al Khaimah Resort
One of the emirates that is already friendly to Western interests is Ras Al Khaimah. As fortune would have it, the formation of the GCGRA aligns perfectly with the groundbreaking of the new $3.9 billion Al-Marjan casino resort.
Speaking of the new casino on the Al Marjan Island, Wynn chief executive Craig Billings said:Quote
“We have spent the past year meticulously programming and concepting Wynn Al Marjan Island, carefully considering its unique location. 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, new and old.”
The high-end gambling destination will offer an extensive casino floor, 1500 rooms, several dining and lounge experiences, high-end shopping and fashion brands, a wellness centre, and a range of entertainment venues, including a full theatre.
There is no need to rush to book your flights just yet, as the Wynn Al Marjan Island casino and resort is only expected to open its doors to the public early in 2027.
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