Will We Soon See Legalized Gambling in The UAE?

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a popular tourist attraction and a luxurious destination that many want to visit. This is especially true when it comes to Dubai. Although, you can do a lot of things in Dubai, gambling is not one of those things. As a matter of fact, gambling and sports betting is strictly forbidden across the UAE.

There have been numerous calls to legalize gambling in the country over the years, but so far nothing has come of it. However, there are rumors that the situation might change in the near future. The main reason is that one of the seven sheikhdoms in the UAE said they will allow “gaming” while announcing a multi-billion-dollar deal with Wynn Resorts, a Las Vegas-based casino giant. Therefore, will gambling become legal in the UAE? Let’s find out.

The state of gambling in the UAE today

As mentioned before, any form of gambling is strictly forbidden across the Emirates. For the most part, Maisir (games of chance) is totally prohibited by Islamic law. But will the new deal with Wynn Resorts finally change the situation in the UAE? Probably not.

The main reason is that there’s already a massive casino resort in Dubai operated by Caesars Palace where gambling is not allowed. Therefore, just because another operator is coming to UAE, it doesn’t mean that gambling will be legalized. However, should things do, in fact, change, it could open the doors for Arabic online casinos and usher in the entire industry to UAE that will benefit the country’s economy, tourism and popularity, among other things.

What would legalization of gambling mean for UAE?

Should gambling become legal in the UAE, it could mean a wave of foreign investments pouring into the country. As mentioned before, UAE is a popular and luxurious destination, which attracts people with a lot of money they’re willing to spend. However, the announcement by Ras al-Khaimah stated they’ll allow “gaming” is pretty vague as they didn’t want to comment whether that implies gambling or not.

Ras al-Khaimah authorities simply refused to elaborate further for now, which leaves “gaming” something to be debated about. In the US, gaming usually refers to gambling as gaming is often used a euphemism. That doesn’t imply that it means the same in the UAE.

What we do know is that a statement from the authority stated that a new gaming division would require compliance with all applicable laws and regulations, which includes financial crime laws from operators, suppliers and employees. It would also have to ensure responsible gaming at all levels. What that could mean is anyone’s guess but the Wynn Resort construction is well under way and it’s estimated that it will be completed by 2026.

Is there a reason for gambling to be legalized in the UAE?

There’s certainly a great interest for the legalization for gambling in the UAE. As a matter of fact, there are many foreign workers who live and work in the UAE. There’s also an influx of tourists every year. Not to mention the investor interest in land and real-estate should gambling become legal in the UAE. Despite the interest it remains uncertain whether authorities in the UAE will allow gambling in their country after it was forbidden for so long. It remains to be seen how the situation will develop further.

Whether or not gambling in the UAE will be legalized a difficult question to answer, as gambling is currently illegal and forbidden. But times are changing and perhaps the gambling situation in the UAE will change as well.