Former MGM Resorts CEO Named Chairman of UAE Gambling Authority

Jim Murren, former CEO of MGM Resorts International, has been named Chairman of the newly founded General Commercial Gaming Regulatory Authority (GCGRA) in the United Arab Emirates. This appointment is a huge step forward for the UAE as it establishes its gaming business and builds its first casino resort, the Wynn Al Marjan Island.

The $3.9 billion Wynn Al Marjan Island project is one of the country’s most ambitious projects. This initiative, managed by Wynn Resorts Ltd, has the potential to reshape the Middle East’s attitude toward gambling, transforming it from a taboo issue to a viable entertainment alternative.

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The GCGRA’s primary goal is to establish a robust regulatory framework for the country’s budding gambling sector. Jim Murren’s extensive experience in the iGaming industry positions him well to help create a regulatory structure capable of addressing the unique challenges of a nascent market.

While Wynn Resorts CEO Craig Billings has indicated that the Wynn Al Marjan Island is expected to open its doors in early 2027, this timeline remains flexible and subject to change. The project’s actual completion date may evolve in response to market dynamics and other factors.

In addition to Jim Murren’s appointment, the GCGRA has named Kevin Mullally as its Chief Executive. Kevin’s previous roles at Gaming Laboratories International LLC and the Missouri Gaming Commission have equipped him with comprehensive knowledge and experience, making him a valuable asset to the regulator.

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Jim Murren expressed his satisfaction with Kevin Mullally’s appointment, emphasizing the importance of his extensive industry experience. With these two key appointments, the GCGRA now boasts a blend of private sector, public sector, and regulatory expertise, positioning it well to oversee the launch of the UAE’s first casino resort and the establishment of gambling within the United Arab Emirates.

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