Former Missouri Gaming Director Tapped To Create Gambling System In Middle East

Written By Hill Kerby on September 18, 2023 - Last Updated on September 19, 2023
Photo of Kevin Mullally, former Missouri gaming director who will head up gambling efforts in the UAE

Kevin Mullally was an instrumental figure in shaping the gambling industry, both in Missouri and nationwide. Now, he’s taking his expertise to the Middle East.

Mullally was selected as the inaugural CEO of the General Commercial Gaming Regulatory Authority, a new entity formed by the United Arab Emirates to create a regulated gaming and lottery industry.

It’s no accident the UAE chose Mullally to create the framework for what looks like a soon-to-launch gambling industry. He has over 30 years of experience in the field, with a resume including:

  • More than 12 years as a Missouri Gaming Commission member, including two terms as executive director from 2000-2006.
  • More than 17 years at Global Laboratories International, including seven years as general counsel & director of government relations and 10-plus years as vice president of government relations & general counsel.
  • A seat on the board of trustees for the International Association of Gaming Advisors

Mullally a true pioneer in gaming in Missouri

While at the Missouri Gaming Commission (MGC), Mullally was a leader in promoting policies for Missouri casinos that served as a model for other state regulatory agencies, most notably in responsible gambling.

Mullally led the charge in making Missouri the first state to enact responsible gambling measures, such as creating a self-exclusion program and employing full-time advocates for problem gamblers. He was also the first chairman of the Missouri Alliance to Curb Problem Gambling, where he served two terms before joining Global Laboratories International (GLI).

GLI chose Mullally to form its legal department, and he began working with gaming operators and regulators in more than 475 jurisdictions on six continents. GLI provides consulting services, certifies the compliance of gaming devices and conducts audits and inspections backed by cutting-edge technology from its 20 worldwide labs.

Mullally also authored the University of Nevada-Las Vegas’ Land-Based Casino Regulation textbook chapter on Public Policy Implementation & Regulatory Practice.

UAE assembling a formidable agency

The UAE’s establishment of a regulatory gaming body, General Commercial Gaming Regulatory Authority (GCGRA), is another step on its path to legal gambling and lottery games. It will lean heavily on Mullally’s experience, backed by decades of research and industry knowledge on a global scale, to create a safe, licensed and regulated gaming environment that maximizes its economic potential.

Mullally says he looks forward to the challenge.

“I am delighted to have been appointed as the inaugural CEO of the GCGRA. With my experienced colleagues, I look forward to establishing a robust regulatory body and framework for the UAE’s lottery and gaming industry.”

Jim Murren joins Mullally as the chairman of the GCGRA and will help introduce the agency’s regulatory framework. Murren is a former MGM Resorts International CEO with experience on Wall Street.

Murren spoke candidly of Mullally, saying he “brings unparalleled category experience and will be invaluable in creating a fit-for-purpose regulatory framework for the UAE.”

In addition to Mullally and Murren, the GCGRA’s leadership team includes numerous globally accredited experts in the gaming field. With this foundation, the UAE casino industry will put itself in a place to immediately become a worldwide gambling destination.

Writing on the wall for future UAE casinos

The GCGRA’s formation comes at a time when the world’s largest casino operators have committed to building mega-resorts in the UAE.

Caesars Palace Dubai opened in 2018, a five-star property that has everything you’d expect from the name, except a casino. MGM began construction in 2019 on a resort that includes MGM Grand, Aria and Bellagio hotels that plans to open in 2026

Wynn Resorts is also jumping on board, confirming its plans to open a $3.9 billion resort in 2027 on the manmade Al Marjan Island in Ras Al Khaimah. CEO Craig Billings said during an investors call in August that he believed the company had everything it needed to operate a gaming business and expected to have a license “imminently.”

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Hill Kerby

Hill Kerby is a proponent of safe, legal betting, and is grateful to be able to contribute to growing the industry. He has a background in poker, sports, and psychology, all of which he incorporates into his writing.

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