UAE gaming regulation could come before year-end, analysts say

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.

JP Morgan analysts expect “some form” of gaming regulation in the United Arab Emirates.

United Arab Emirates.- Analysts at JP Morgan Securities say they believe that gaming regulation may be introduced in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) before the year’s end. In a memo released on Friday (September 15), JP Morgan Securities analysts Joseph Greff, Ryan Lambert and Samuel Nielsen noted the establishment of the General Commercial Gaming Regulatory Authority (GCGRA) as a significant milestone.

They expressed optimism about the GCGRA’s leadership, noting their industry expertise and connections to US-based gaming operators and regulatory bodies. The government has named Kevin Mullally, a veteran of US gambling regulation, as the GCGRA’s chief executive. Other appointments include former MGM Resorts International general director Jim Murren as chair.

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 an 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.

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