Majority of UAE residents oppose casino talks, says survey

Jenny Ortiz 1 month ago
Majority of UAE residents oppose casino talks, says survey

The majority of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) residents oppose the idea of legalising casinos in the country, according to a survey conducted by Dubai Casino, a media outlet focused on the potential liberalisation of gambling.

Based on the survey result, only 29% of the 3,000 respondents are in favour of bringing in casinos in the Middle Eastern country while 42% are against legalising it.

According to the researchers, those who expressed opposition to legalising casinos in Dubai are concerned about the potential clash between Emirati culture and the gambling scene.

Establishment of UAE’s commercial gaming authority

In September 2023, the UAE government formed a commercial gaming regulatory body called the General Commercial Gaming Regulatory Authority (GCGRA).

The agency is expected to consider legalising casino resorts this year. 

GCGRA has been entrusted with the monumental task of formulating a regulatory framework that will govern both the national lottery and the commercial gaming sector within the country.

Heading the GCGRA is Jim Murren, a former MGM Resorts International Chairman and CEO. 

Murren earlier suggested allowing four casinos to be built in or around Dubai.

Gambling remains illegal

Gambling is still prohibited in Dubai and the whole of UAE. It is also not allowed in Islam, the official religion in the country.

Gambling activities within the UAE are a criminal offence, and violators can face imprisonment for up to two years and substantial fines. 

Organizers of gambling activities face even more stringent consequences of imprisonment for up to ten years.

Minority support for casinos

The survey found that those who support legalising casinos in the UAE believe the move could bring a positive impact on the country’s economy,

The majority of those who favour legalising casinos agree that it could grow tourism and generate new tax revenue.

Meanwhile, a third of the respondents suggested that only foreigners be allowed to gamble in casinos in the UAE.

SiGMA Eurasia and SiGMA Africa – less than a month away

With less than a month until the highly anticipated SiGMA Africa event kicks off in Cape Town, South Africa on the 11th of March, the gaming industry is abuzz with excitement. Building on the success of its inaugural edition in Nairobi, Kenya, in January 2023, SiGMA Africa is strategically positioning itself at the forefront of Africa’s burgeoning gaming landscape. With the continent’s market poised for exponential growth, driven by a rapidly evolving digital ecosystem and increasing mobile connectivity, SiGMA Group recognizes the need to foster collaboration and innovation within the industry. By bringing together leading stakeholders and visionaries in gaming, SiGMA aims to catalyse progress and propel Africa towards a new era of prosperity and opportunity. As the countdown to the event begins, anticipation mounts for what promises to be a landmark gathering of gaming enthusiasts and innovators in the vibrant city of Cape Town.

The fourth edition of SiGMA Eurasia will once again be held at the InterContinental Dubai Festival City. Held between the 25 and 27 February 2024, the summit provides invaluable opportunities for attendees to network with industry professionals, gain exposure to the latest tech and innovations in the sector, meet key decision makers, and gain insight into new markets. 

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