There’s a chance that the United Arab Emirates might be allowing commercial gaming in its casinos. Recently, the country established a federal authority whose duty will potentially be to oversee and run the national lottery and commercial gaming industry as more and more operators go towards the Gulf Arab nation.

A new body established to oversee the operation:

The details about the General Commercial Gaming Regulatory Authority (GCGRA), such as the body’s structure or the way it operates, are still unknown. Kevin Mullally, who was named the body’s CEO, previously was an executive director of the Missouri Gaming Commission, which was in charge of all Missouri riverboat casinos, so he’s very familiar with the matter.

He commented: “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.”

Named chairman of the new UAE gaming, Jim Murren was previously was chairman and CEO of the famous MGM Resorts International. Along with that, he’s familiar with the Emirates officials since they worked together in the past. Dubai World collaborated with Murren to build CityCenter on the Las Vegas Strip, which opened in 2009. He also wanted to use the testing kits that UAE donated during the COVID-19 pandemic in Nevada. However, the state authorities were against it since the kits were made in China. 

It’s not the first mention of using casinos to get more revenue in the UAE, along with increasing the country’s popularity among tourists. The main target is Dubai, already a famous tourist destination.

According to the WikiLeaks release from 2004, the casino plans for Dubai have never seen the light of day because of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the country’s president. However, the rumors started growing one more time in 2018, when Queen Elizabeth 2, the famous British ship, was opened as a hotel after the $100 million renovations, but the slot machines remained deactivated. Caesars did a similar thing, along with MGM, Bellagio, and Aria, whose properties are about to be built in the country.

The plans for the future:

Wynn Resorts signed a deal with Ras al-Khaimah emirate in 2022, but it was never said that gambling would be available in the hotel. However, the term “integrated resort” kept occurring in Wynn’s descriptions of the project, which implies the existence of the casino and other amenities in the hotel. According to the CEO of Wynn Resorts, Craig Billings, the resort will be opened in 2027.

According to the Associated Press, the authorities hope that the casino industry will bring back the Chinese tourists who stopped visiting the country after the COVID-19. Potentially, casinos could bring the country a yearly revenue of about $6.6 billion and eventually surpass Singapore’s revenue.

All operations of the potential casinos will be overseen by Abu Dhabi, as the authority suggests. But each one of the seven sheikhdoms will be able to decide for themselves and have the vote in the final decision.