Retired US Cop Gets New Role at UAE’s New Gaming Regulator

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UAE’s newly established gaming commission, the General Commercial Gaming Regulatory Authority (GCGRA), has announced the appointment of retired US lieutenant Ed Aylward as its Head of Investigations.

Aylward previously concluded a three-decade tenure with the Missouri State Highway Patrol in 2022. During his time in Missouri, Aylward assessed the suitability of licensees, suppliers, and vendors and conducted comprehensive background checks. He will perform similar responsibilities in his new role with the GCGRA.

The Emergence of the GCGRA and the Future of Online Gaming

In September, the UAE took a decisive step towards legalizing online gaming by creating the GCGRA, which will build and oversee the regulatory framework for national lottery and commercial gaming in the Emirates.

Although the state’s official announcement of the GCGRA avoided direct reference to gambling or casinos, the appointment of seasoned experts in the gambling industry within the authority suggests a change in the UAE’s approach to gaming.

Islam forbids gambling, and this forms the foundation for the federal and local emirate regulations that currently ban all forms of gambling in the UAE and several other Muslim-dominated states in the Middle East.

However, heightened competition from neighboring countries like Saudi Arabia and Qatar is compelling the UAE to implement a range of liberalizing measures and be at the forefront of global trends to retain its competitive advantage in the region.

GCGRA Leadership

The GCGRA is headed by Kevin Mullally, while Jim Murren chairs its Board of Directors. Before his current role, Mullally served at New Jersey’s Gaming Laboratories International, a company that focuses on testing and certifying gaming equipment, as VP of Government Relations and General Counsel for a decade. He also accumulated 12 years of experience with the Missouri Gaming Commission.

Murren previously held the role of the Chairman and CEO of MGM Resorts from 2008 to 2020. He also served as the Chairman of the American Gaming Association between 2014 and 2017.