With the formal formation of the General Commercial Gaming Regulatory Authority (GCGRA), the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has made substantial progress in regulating the gambling industry. The WAM, the United Arab Emirates’ official news agency, made the statement late on Sunday, September 3.

UAE’s government has charged this new agency with developing rules for the country’s commercial and state-run gambling industries. All regulatory activities, including the granting of licenses, will fall under the GCGRA’s purview as it takes on a central position in the Emirates.

The considerable change in strategy shown by the decision to concentrate gambling regulation at the federal level rather than delegate it to individual emirates is noteworthy. In addition, the United Arab Emirates plans to levy a 25% revenue tax on mass-market gambling, with a lower 8% charge for high-end gambling.

Former Missouri Gaming Commission executive director and 17-year Gaming Laboratories International (GLI) veteran Kevin Mullally has been named the GCGRA’s new chief executive. Jim Murren, who previously served as chairman and chief executive officer of MGM Resorts from 2008 to 2020, has been appointed to the position of chairman of the board of directors for the corporation.

Eilers & Krejcik Gaming is a gaming consultancy and market research business well-known for its engagement in digital gambling, and insiders in the industry believe that GLI had a lead advisory role in designing the UAE’s regulatory framework. Thanks to this backing, discussions on legalizing internet gambling in the United Arab Emirates significantly gained momentum.

Nonetheless, there are still a few key details about the upcoming laws that are unknown.

Some Key Questions

What forms of gambling will be legalized by the United Arab Emirates and whether internet gambling will be part of the regulatory framework are two of the concerns that remain unresolved. It is also unclear what effect this will have on Wynn Resorts’ continuing building of a new casino on Al-Marjan Island in the Emirate of Ras Al Khaimah.

At the company’s earnings conference for the second quarter, Wynn CEO Craig Billings said the company was looking forward to receiving its Ras Al Khaimah license soon. Many have wondered whether Wynn will have to reapply for a license considering the federal regulatory model’s recent implementation.

Concerns have also been raised about whether the GCGRA would also be responsible for regulating the two current raffles in the nation (Emirates Draw and Mahzooz).