New UAE Gaming Regulatory Authority- A Move towards Legalisation of Casinos?

September 4, 2023

United Arab Emirates has set up, GCGRA (General Commercial Gaming Regulatory Authority). The setting up of the new UAE gaming authority at the federal level will introduce a regulatory framework for national lottery and commercial gaming, reported WAM.

Kevin Mullally has been appointed as the inaugurating CEO of the authority. Mullally who has 30 years experience of working in the gaming regulations sector has served in key positions like executive director of the Missouri Gaming Commission. His extensive experience also includes more than 17 years of work at Gaming Laboratories International along with serving as Chief Executive of MGM Resorts.

Apart from Mullally, other notable names to lead the authority include Jim Murren who will be chairman Board of Directors,

What Purpose Will Be Served by UAE Gaming Authority?

WAM has reported that the new UAE gaming authority will ensure adherence to strict guidelines and compliance with the highest standards by creating a socially responsible and well-regulated environment. GCGRA will help explore the economic potential of the sector while issuing licenses to businesses.

The move is likely to pave the way for casino businesses to be legalized in the region. Just a few weeks back, Wynn Resort reportedly confirmed that they were likely to receive a license for opening a casino at Ras al Khaimah.

What Does GCGRA Mean for UAE’s Anti-Money Laundering Efforts?

UAE was put on FATF grey list in March 2022. Since then, the region has taken some solid measures to combat money laundering and terrorist financing risks in financial and DNFB (Designated Non-Financial Business Sector). UAE even recently set up a judicial body to combat economic crime. Gaming is one of the most vulnerable sectors to money laundering and terrorist financing and hence the region may need to ensure that regulations specific to the gaming sector take into account the potential risks of illicit finance.