Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA) has announced plans to form a new division to regulate entertainment and gaming operations, including resorts, lounges, spa, convention spaces, and gaming facilities in the Emirate.
A New Regulatory Division in Ras Al Khaimah
In order to consider the cultural and social aspects and cover taxation and licensing of entertainment and gaming operations, Ras Al Khaimah will form a new division. The regulatory division is going to monitor and oversee the operational procedures and consumer safeguards. Ras Al Khaimah is following the global practices of regulating gaming operations that operate as part of integrated resorts across different jurisdictions all over the world.
The authority is focusing on developing a robust framework to ensure responsible gambling within their jurisdiction. The entire gaming operations within integrated resorts will be addressed by the new division. This will also include all the laws and regulations for suppliers, operators, and individuals working in the sector. Further, the division will also oversee the advertising, marketing, and financial transactions so that the operations comply with the Ras Al Khaimah Department of Entertainment and Gaming Regulation.
About Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority
Established in May 2011, Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA) is responsible for developing and promoting the tourism offering and infrastructure across the Emirates. The authority works under the government of Ras Al Khaimah and focuses on establishing the Emirate as a compelling destination for travel and leisure.
Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority holds a license to monitor and regulate the tourism and hospitality industry in the Emirates. The authority aims to attract over 3 million visitors by 2025 and establish Ras Al Khaimah as a world-class destination. Here are some steps that this authority takes to promote the tourism operations:
- Educate travellers about Ras Al Khaimah’s attractions.
- Implement joint initiatives and coordinate with industry partners.
- Develop branding and marketing strategies to promote tourism.
- Host sports, cultural, and CSR events.
- Research and analyze tourism trends and future projects.
Wynn To Open An Integrated Resort With Gaming Facility in UAE
Aside from the formation of a new division to regulate gaming activities, Ras Al Khaimah has promoted several gaming operators to set up gaming businesses in the Emirates. Recently, the Wynn Resorts, which is a casino operator and hotel based in Las Vegas, has announced plans to develop a multi-billion-dollar resort including a gaming area on the Al marhan island of Ras Al Khaimah.
As the RAKTDA will form a new division to monitor and regulate ‘integrated resorts,’ it will also help in promoting responsible gambling across the Emirates. The new division will ensure responsible gaming at all levels. However, the authority will also consider the social and cultural aspects of the Emirates. This means the government may not allow ‘gambling’ but regulate ‘gaming’ as gambling is often considered illegal in many Arab jurisdictions, including the United Arab Emirates.
The integrated resort planned by Wynn Resorts is scheduled to open in 2026 with gaming, entertainment, and convention facilities. Even though the Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority has announced ‘gaming’ in its statement, many believe that the government may regulate gambling activities. However, there is no certainty as the UAE has strict regulations against gambling and related activities.
Regulating integrated resorts can be considered a significant move by the government. This can be another effort of liberalizing reforms in order to diversify the tourism and entertainment sector along with the traditionally oil-based economy of the United Arab Emirates.
Is Ras Al Khaimah The Next Gaming Hub?
In the past few years, gaming has become a common form of entertainment in several regions of the United Arab Emirates. In fact, the introduction of online gaming has resulted in the significant proliferation of the gaming industry in the Emirates. The interest and investment of people in the gaming industry are growing. Now people in the UAE not only just participate in online games but also develop and run online gaming businesses.
What worked as an additional fuel in the growth of online gaming is the penetration of the internet and the easy availability of gaming devices. The growing production of gaming apps and sites is expected to create a huge market opportunity in the UAE over the forecast period.
If we take the example of Saudi Arabia, the government there is investing in amusement spaces and theme parks. Similar to this, the recent announcement by Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority to regulate gaming can be an effective step to make this jurisdiction the next gaming hub.
Will RAK Authority Regulate Online Gambling?
As the news of the future establishment of an integrated resort in Ras Al Khaimah spread, many people started believing in the possibility of regulating online gambling activities by the authorities. This is because neither Wynn Resorts nor the RAK Authority clarified if ‘gaming’ included ‘gambling.’
Usually, integrated resorts are hotels with gambling, casinos, and other entertainment facilities. Now, the Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority and Wynn Resorts did not respond when many requested to comment on whether gambling and casino activities would be allowed there or not.
However, many diplomats believe that the United Arab Emirates government may permit it as part of legislative reforms for the growth of the tourism sector in the country. In April, one of the most liberal Emirates, Dubai, denied the rumours of granting casino licenses. Further, there was an establishment of a non-gambling project by Casino and Hotel operator Caesars on Bluewaters Island, Dubai.
Let us tell you that many Islamic countries, including the United Arab Emirates, prohibit gambling and consider it an illegal activity. However, online casinos are now the easiest way for people to indulge in gambling. Online gambling and casino sites have also become the most profitable form of entertainment. The United Arab Emirates, in particular, has witnessed the increased growth of online gaming platforms.
The recent announcement of the establishment of a hotel with gaming amenities and the formation of a new division to regulate integrated resorts will add to the Emirate’s tourism strategy to attract tourists from all over the world. Aside from this, there are also many other resorts being built in other Emirates. While most of them are funded by top casino operators, people assume that the UAE may also regulate online gambling and casinos.
After months of rumours of gambling coming to the home to oil-rich regions, the United Arab Emirates, Ras Al Khaimah has finally announced the formation of a new division to regulate gaming operations and promote responsible gambling. The new division will monitor if the integrated resorts are operating and complying with the applicable laws and regulations.
The authorities have not yet said anything about the ‘gambling’ being regulated or not. Further, the word ‘gaming’ is often used as a substitute for ‘gambling’ in some countries. This can be one of the few reasons why people are expecting the regulation of gambling in the United Arab Emirates. Overall, this step taken by the Ras Al Khaimah authority can be an effective way to boost its tourism industry.