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Meet the GCGRA Team: The Gaming Regulator in the UAE

Cover image for post Meet the GCGRA Team: The Gaming Regulator in the UAE
Meet the GCGRA Team: The Gaming Regulator in the UAE
Meet the GCGRA Team: The Gaming Regulator in the UAE

The General Commercial Gaming Regulatory Authority (GCGRA) in the United Arab Emirates represents a significant development in the nation’s approach to managing its emerging gaming sector.

Established with a clear focus, the GCGRA is dedicated to ensuring the gaming industry grows in a manner that is responsible, ethical, and beneficial to the economy.

This brief overview introduces the GCGRA’s objectives, highlighting its commitment to innovation, consumer protection, and aligning the gaming sector with international best practices.

The purpose of the General Commercial Gaming Regulatory Authority (GCGRA) in the UAE is to regulate, supervise, and support the growth of the commercial gaming sector in the country.

It aims to ensure that the gaming industry operates in a manner that is responsible, transparent, and contributes positively to the economy.

The authority is tasked with creating a regulated environment that fosters innovation, protects consumers, and prevents illegal activities associated with gaming.

By doing so, the GCGRA seeks to enhance the UAE’s reputation as a leading destination for commercial gaming, attract investment, and generate economic benefits while ensuring compliance with international standards and practices​​.

Each member brings a wealth of experience and expertise to their role, working collectively to ensure the gaming industry operates within a framework that promotes integrity, compliance, and social responsibility.

Here’s a quick look at the key figures driving the GCGRA’s mission:

Name Position
Name Jim Murren Position Chairman
Name Kevin Mullally Position CEO
Name Edward Aylward Position Head of Investigations
Name Colin Espiner Position Director of Communications and Marketing
Name Serena Paul Position HR Business Partner
Name Myriam Dimitri Position Head of Talent Management
Name Ian Tannock Position Responsible Gaming Coordinator
  • Jim Murren, Chairman – Provides leadership for the board, setting the strategic direction of the GCGRA.
  • Kevin Mullally, CEO – Acts as the primary spokesperson and representative of the organization to stakeholders and the public.
  • Edward Aylward, Head of Investigations – Supervises investigative staff and coordinates with law enforcement as necessary.
  • Colin Espiner, Director of Communications and Marketing – Manages all internal and external communications, public relations, and marketing strategies.
  • Serena Paul, HR Business Partner – Aligns human resources strategies with business needs, focusing on talent development, performance management, and organizational design.
  • Myriam Dimitri, Head of Talent Management – Develops and implements strategies for talent acquisition, management, and organizational development.
  • Ian Tannock, Responsible Gaming Coordinator – Oversees initiatives to promote responsible gaming practices within the regulated sector.

Each of these individuals plays a crucial role in ensuring the GCGRA fulfills its mission to regulate and support the growth of the commercial gaming sector in the UAE, maintaining high standards of integrity, compliance, and social responsibility.

The General Commercial Gaming Regulatory Authority (GCGRA) in the UAE, since its inception, has been focused on establishing and guiding the framework for the gaming industry within the country.

As one of their initial actions, they have decided to pause operations for weekly raffle draws, such as Mahzooz and Emirates Draw, starting from January 1, 2024.

This decision is part of an industry-wide mandate to ensure compliance with new commercial gaming regulations, aimed at creating a well-regulated gaming environment within the UAE.

Mahzooz has completed its application process for a lottery license and is awaiting approval, indicating that the GCGRA will award the national lottery license to only one raffle draw operator in the UAE.

Despite the pause, Mahzooz has expressed optimism about receiving the license, citing its proven track record of creating 66 millionaires and awarding over Dh500 million to more than 2 million winners globally.

As part of its future activities, the GCGRA will likely focus on further developing its regulatory framework, issuing licenses, and overseeing the establishment and operation of gaming and lottery ventures within the country.

This includes the potential opening of casinos, subject to the regulatory and social standards set by the authority, and possibly varying approaches across the different emirates based on local rules and customs

Moreover, the establishment of the GCGRA signals the UAE’s intention to potentially allow gambling, as seen with the announcement of a $3.9 billion Wynn Resort in Ras Al Khaimah, which is set to open in 2027.

This move is part of a broader strategy to enhance the UAE’s position as a regional hub for trade, tourism, and financial services, amidst growing economic competition in the Gulf​.

The establishment of the GCGRA and its forward-looking initiatives reflect the UAE’s strategic vision to cultivate a regulated, responsible, and thriving gaming sector.

Through the diligent efforts of its leadership team and the implementation of comprehensive regulatory measures, the GCGRA is set to play a central role in shaping the future of gaming in the UAE.

This endeavor not only promises to enhance the nation’s appeal as a global gaming destination but also contributes to its economic resilience and diversification.


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