UAE considers granting a casino licence for each emirate

The UAE is expected to become the first Arab country with legal gambling.
The UAE is expected to become the first Arab country with legal gambling.

Each of the seven emirates may be granted a licence.

United Arab Emirates.- The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is considering the possibility of granting a casino licence to each of its seven constituent emirates, according to Bloomberg. Certain emirates are already considering building casino facilities.

However, the emirate with the largest international tourism industry, Dubai, reportedly does not view the introduction of gambling facilities as a top priority given the performance of its existing tourism sector.

Projections have suggested that gambling in the UAE could generate as much as US$6.6bn in annual gaming revenue. Some analysts anticipate that it could eventually outperform Singapore’s gaming market.

Several operators are already pressing ahead, expecting regulation to come soon. Wynn Resorts expects to open a US$3.9bn casino resort, Wynn Al Marjan Island, in Ras Al Khaimah, in early 2027. Craig Billings, CEO of Wynn Resorts, expressed the expectation of obtaining a gaming licence for Ras Al Khaimah during the company’s second-quarter earnings call. 

Meanwhile, Bill Hornbuckle, CEO and president of MGM Resorts International, has expressed confidence in being authorised to operate a casino in the UAE. It has a project in Dubai.

The government has already formed a gambling regulator, the General Commercial Gaming Regulatory Authority (GCGRA), that will govern commercial gaming and lotteries. Kevin Mullally, a veteran of US gambling regulation, has been named the GCGRA’s chief executive.

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GAMBLING REGULATION land-based casino