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A potentially lucrative casino market is coming online.
A “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 casino gaming.
The GCGRA will be headquartered in Abu Dhabi, the country’s capital
According to Bloomberg, casinos in the UAE could generate $6.6 billion in gambling revenue annually.
Globally respected regulator Kevin Mullally has been appointed as CEO of the GCGRA. He brings over 30 years of experience in national and international gaming regulation to the UAE.
Mullally is a former executive director of the Missouri Gaming Commission.
“I am delighted to have been appointed as the inaugural CEO of the GCGRA,” Mullally said. “With my experienced colleagues, I look forward to establishing a robust regulatory body and framework for the UAE’s lottery and gaming industry.”
According to the UAE, the GCGRA is led by a team of internationally credentialed leaders with track records and “a deep understanding” of global best practices in regulating and maintaining “an effective, safe, and responsible gaming industry.”
Industry veteran Jim Murren will chair the regulator’s Board of Directors. Murren is the former CEO of Las Vegas-based MGM Resorts International. He’s also set to be inducted into the American Gaming Association’s Gaming Hall of Fame.
Murren said in a statement: “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.”
The GCGRA will create a “socially responsible and well-regulated gaming environment, ensuring that all participants adhere to strict guidelines and comply with the highest standards.”
Furthermore, it will “coordinate regulatory activities, manage licensing nationally and facilitate unlocking the economic potential of commercial gaming responsibly.”
Las Vegas-based Wynn Resorts reportedly already has an inroad to the market.
According to the Associated Press, the UAE’s northern-most emirate Ras al-Khaimah announced a multibillion-dollar deal with Wynn Resorts in 2022.
In April, Wynn Resorts put the cost of the Ras al-Khaimah resort at $3.9 billion.
“We have spent the past year meticulously programming and concepting Wynn Al Marjan Island, carefully considering its unique location,” said Craig Billings, CEO of Wynn Resorts, “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.”