The UAE unveils a gambling regulator, lawmakers in Brazil add casino gaming to the country’s sports betting fever, and authorities in Curaçao open a licensing portal.
The UAE establishes gambling regulator
There are a few things about iGaming that just don’t change: the UK sets regulatory trends, players in LatAm love betting on football, and the Gulf states are a very black market.
Two of those are still true.
In the UAE, however, there’s about to be a sea change.
Gambling has always been entirely banned in the Muslim-majority country, with trademark stiff punishments doled out for infractions (except, as we detail in our ebook, you know when, where, and how to bet).
But the past few decades have seen the Emirates look for ways to diversify its economy, embracing new tech such as cryptocurrencies along the way.
This month, the UAE established the General Commercial Gaming Regulatory Authority (GCGRA), which will set regulations for commercial gaming and the national lottery. While that will come as a surprise to many, there is one clue to the government’s decision to regulate gambling on the island of Al-Marjan, which is set to be the location of Wynn Resorts’ newest casino.
It’s expected that there will be a 25% revenue tax on “mass market gambling” and an 8% tax on “premium gaming.” As of yet, it’s unknown whether the country’s two raffles — Emirates Draw and Mahzooz — will be moved under the GCGRA umbrella.
There’s been no mention of legal iGaming, though the country does have an established model for how it might approach the subject. Muslim citizens of the UAE are prohibited from consuming alcohol in the country, but visiting foreigners are permitted to do so within certain limits. It’s always possible the UAE could establish a similar system for gambling.
Brazil betting law passed by lower house
With the introduction of a provisional measure to regulate sports betting, Brazil became one of the world’s biggest betting markets this summer.
Now, lawmakers are moving to pass a full law (the provisional measure is temporary) that would regulate sports betting for good. And the law contains a few details that iGaming operators will be very interested in.
The lower house of the country’s congress has passed a law that would legalize not just sports betting but online casino gaming, owing to a round of amendments that were added to the bill during debate.
However, international operators with their eyes on the Brazilian market will face one hurdle; licenses will only be available to domestic companies.
And, despite resistance, gaming taxes remain high — over 30%, once all has been accounted for. In order to prevent unregulated gambling, only organizations with approval from the Central Bank will be able to conduct financial transactions.
The bill now heads to the upper house. If the bill is approved there it will become law, though it should be noted that there is a strong conservative bloc which is very opposed to gambling.
Curaçao opens license portal
The revamp of the Curaçao licensing regime has dominated headlines in the iGaming industry since the new changes were announced.
The island is ditching its old master license and sublicense system in favor of a standard application process. In order to ease the process, the Curaçao Gaming Control Board opened an online license application portal on September 1.
Through the portal, visitors can either apply for a new license or register as a sublicensee. The opening of the portal coincides with the introduction of the National Ordinance for Games of Chance.
The change in regulations were a condition of receiving relief money from the Dutch government during the coronavirus pandemic. Curaçao had previously gained a reputation as being one of the more permissive licensing authorities.