Agbrief.com has reported that the United Arab Emirates (UAE) will create a General Commercial Gaming Regulatory Authority (GCGRA) with Jim Murren reported to lead the committee. This decisive step is said to be taken to allow casino licenses in a country where gambling is banned.
While there has not been any official statement on it, with no specific mentions of casinos or gambling, the appointment of experienced industry professionals indeed displays a major shift in UAE’s gaming stance, based on how things are panning out.
CEO of MGM Resorts International and former Chairman of the American Gaming Association, Murren, is said to head the board of directors of GCGRA.
Former Executive Director of the Missouri Gaming Commission, Kevin Mullally, was also appointed CEO of GCGRA. If the reports are to be believed, one of the key roles for both the latest recruits will be to emphasize the commitment to establishing a regulatory framework for the UAE’s gaming industry.
The latest development in the country’s approach can be deemed significant, citing how the Islamic laws in UAE strictly prohibit gambling. This recent change sees the country align its ideology towards the global gaming trends with the thought of looking to tap into the booming gaming industry.
However, the UAE will face increased competition while looking to take a piece of the lucrative gaming industry pie, with neighbouring countries like Qatar and Saudi Arabia also looking to take similar steps and develop their edge in the Middle East.
The UAE government was anticipated to make such a move since Dubai opened its Burj Al Arab hotel nearly 25 years ago. Various speculations suggested that the bar on the top floor was actually meant to be a casino that would introduce gambling in the country.
Wynn Resorts announced its plans to build a $3.9 Billion gaming resort in Ras Al Khaimah in 2022. One of the seven members of the UAE, the emirate of Ras al-Khaimah, is just 45 minutes away from Dubai and is expected to get a license soon, state news reports.
While the preliminary construction work has already begun, Wynn’s project, situated on Al Marjan Island, will reportedly open its doors in 2027. While the establishment of a committee like GCGRA surely displays a major shift in the country’s culture, the UAE is expected to tread carefully, especially with various cultural and religious factors that need to be considered.
The UAE will have to balance the economic opportunities while exploring the potential sector. It remains interesting to see how the country puts its step forward and impacts the global gaming industry.
Smit is a sports writer at Gutshot Magazine. After completing his Bachelor’s in Mass Media, and a Master’s degree in Sports Management, this sports fanatic uses articles as a tool to express his opinions. Bring up cricket or football and you will find this usually quiet guy speak for hours! He also co-heads the official supporters club of Chelsea FC in Mumbai, wherein he hosts screenings, football meets and other such events.
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