UAE Moving Quickly on Legal Gambling Plans

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The governments of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are apparently anxious to get started with its legal gambling industry. Only shortly after creating a unified gaming regulator, it could have some regulations in place before the end of this year.

UAE Gaming Regs On Their Way

JP Morgan Securities LLC analysts foresee the possible implementation of gambling regulations in the UAE before this December. In a recent note, analysts Joseph Greff, Ryan Lambert and Samuel Nielsen expressed their strong approval for the establishment of the General Commercial Gaming Regulatory Authority (GCGRA).

The analysts highlighted the significance of this step in the industry, emphasizing the considerable expertise of the GCGRA leadership. Most of the executive ranks of the regulatory body are former executives with various US gaming authorities and regulatory agencies.

Related: United Arab Emirates' Emergence as a New Player in the Gaming Industry

Earlier this month, the UAE News Agency reported the appointment of Jim Murren, previously the chairman and CEO of MGM Resorts International, as the chairman of GCGRA. Additionally, Kevin Mullally was declared the president of GCGRA in the same announcement.

The JP Morgan team expressed that although the UAE has always attracted attention from US gaming companies, they perceive the recent occurrences as a hastening of events. When considered alongside the public statements made by Murren and Mullaly, this leads them to anticipate the possibility of further information emerging before the year is over.

Most Casino Operators Anxious

Ras Al Khaimah, one of the member emirates within the federal structure of the UAE, has unveiled its plan to develop a $3.9-billion casino. The project, Wynn Al Marjan Island, will be overseen by Wynn Resorts Ltd. It will fall under the umbrella of Macau operator Wynn Macau Ltd and will make use of reclaimed land in the emirate.

In a recent earnings call for Wynn Resorts, CEO Craig Billings expressed his optimism regarding the acquisition of a gaming license for Ras Al Khaimah. He mentioned that, with a little bit of luck, the construction of the establishment could be completed and ready to operate by 2027.

During an investment event, Bill Hornbuckle, the president and CEO of MGM Resorts International, spoke about that company’s future in the UAE, as well. He revealed his confidence in the possibility of the company establishing and running a casino in the area, although the details are still unclear.

The UAE won’t be able to count on one of the first casino operators that had campaigned for gambling in the region. This November, Caesars Entertainment will leave Dubai after already establishing a foothold with a resort.

The resort, situated on an intricately constructed man-made island, will undergo a transformative name change to Banyan Tree, as per an official announcement. This transformational development stems from a recent agreement inked last Wednesday between Dubai Holding and the hotel group Accor SA.

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