New UAE Commercial Gaming Regulatory Authority

November 21, 2023 | Government

United Arab Emirates (November 15 2023) — On 3 September 2023, it was announced that the UAE had established the General Commercial Gaming Regulatory Authority (“GCGRA”), a federal authority focused on “introducing a world-leading regulatory framework for a national lottery and commercial gaming”. In this article, we consider what the establishment of this authority signals for the sector.

The announcement regarding the establishment of the GCGRA noted that this is the first step in “unlocking the economic potential of commercial gambling”. The GCGRA will serve as a federal authority that will implement a regulatory framework for overseeing gambling and lotteries. The announcement explains that the GCGRA will create a “socially responsible” and “well-regulated” gaming environment. In order to achieve this, all participants will need to adhere to “strict guidelines and comply with the highest standards”.

The focus on creating a socially responsible and well-regulated environment is reflective of the sizeable shift in approach that permitting gaming will have in the UAE.

Commercial gaming is popular across many parts of the world, in particular the United States, the Far East and to a lesser extent, Europe. It is not available in any scale between China and Europe and this presents an opportunity for the UAE to attract international visitors particularly those from the wider region of Asia and Africa. This represents a significant opportunity for the UAE to further develop its offering and attract additional tourists and visitors, as well as create new jobs and business opportunities in a growing market. The UAE’s already well developed tourism infrastructure is well appointed to support this further growth.

The US$4 billion Wynn resort under construction in Ras Al Khaimah is at the vanguard of what are expected to be a number of resort developments seeking to attract visitors in this sector.

As the announcement made clear, the establishment of the CGGRA is only the first step and further legal and regulatory development is expected over the next few years to develop the robust framework needed for the licensing and supervision of this sector. Attention will also need to be paid to integrating these new laws and regulations into the established fabric of the UAE’s legal and constitutional landscape.

BY: Imtiaz Shah and Isabelle Forrest

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SOURCES:  Hogan Lovells  / LEXOLOGY

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