Jim Murren (pictured in a file photo), a former chairman and chief executive of casino group MGM Resorts International, has been appointed chairman of a new gaming regulator for the United Arab Emirates, the latter’s news agency said in a Sunday release.
The announcement added that Kevin Mullally has been named as chief executive of the General Commercial Gaming Regulatory Authority, referred to as the GCGRA.
The release carried by the Emirates New Agency said the new body was being established in the United Arab Emirates as a “federal authority to introduce a world-leading regulatory framework for a national lottery and commercial gaming”.
One of the emirates that is a member of UAE’s federal structure – Ras Al Khaimah – is to host a US$3.9-billion casino resort called Wynn Al Marjan Island, to be managed by Wynn Resorts Ltd, the parent of Macau operator Wynn Macau Ltd.
Last month on Wynn Resorts’ second-quarter earnings call, its CEO Craig Billings said the group expected its gaming licence for Ras Al Khaimah “imminently” . The group has said the property might open in early 2027.
According to a LinkedIn page with biographical information on Mr Mullally, prior to being named CEO of the UAE regulator, he was vice president of government relations and general counsel for Gaming Laboratories International LLC, a gaming equipment testing and consultancy business. Before that, he had been in senior roles at the Missouri Gaming Commission in the United States, according to the LinkedIn page.
Mr Murren was cited in Sunday’s press release from the news agency about the UAE gaming regulator, as saying: “I am delighted at the appointment of Kevin Mullally. He brings unparalleled category experience and will be invaluable in creating a fit-for-purpose regulatory framework for the UAE.”
MGM Resorts, a former employer of Mr Murren, is the majority owner of Macau operator MGM China Holdings Ltd.
Mr Murren had announced in February 2020 that he was stepping down from the casino group. He had served as chairman and CEO of MGM Resorts since 2008 and had been with the company since 1998.
The news agency release said that the new UAE body would “create a socially responsible and well-regulated gaming environment, ensuring that all participants adhere to strict guidelines and comply with the highest standards”.
It added the organisation would “coordinate regulatory activities, manage licensing nationally and facilitate unlocking the economic potential of commercial gaming responsibly”.
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