Whilst rumors of a UAE gaming regulator have circulated for some time, the recent announcement regarding the establishment of the General Commercial Gaming Regulatory Authority (GCGRA), whose mission will be to introduce a world-leading regulatory framework for a national lottery and commercial gaming, marks the clearest statement of intent from the UAE government to expand its world leading entertainment and hospitality industry and to begin a foray into the world of commercial gaming.
The announcement focuses on the development a “socially responsible” gaming environment to be operated within the boundaries of a set of strict, yet-to-be-developed, guidelines. It will be interesting to see how the framework will sit alongside existing laws which broadly prohibit gambling and gaming.
With the UAE tourism industry continuing to go from strength to strength following a post-pandemic boom, the potential opportunity in extending its offering to what is proven globally to be a highly profitable industry in an almost entirely underserved region is obvious. Previously published estimates have suggested that the UAE market could generate up to USD 6.6 billion annually in gaming revenue. Given the abundance of existing and complementary infrastructure and the UAE’s track record of success in swiftly delivering on a vision it sets its sights on, it would not be a surprise to see the UAE become a global leader in the space in the years and decades to come.