The recent announcement by the United Arab Emirates to set up a Gaming Regulatory Body led by veterans of the U.S. Gaming Industry marks a significant shift in the region’s approach to the gaming sector and provides opportunities for Gaming operators to expand on a regional and/or multi-jurisdictional level as other Sharia States are inevitably bound to follow suit (https://www.reuters.com/world/middle-east/uae-sets-up-gaming-regulator-led-by-us-industry-veterans-2023-09-04/ ).
While technically Gaming/Gambling is prohibited in the U.A.E., a select group of operators have been offering for some time now, Prize Draws (- Raffles, and Lottery number Draws), seemingly with the State’s tolerance. However, as more Operators seek to enter the market, the pressing need for State regulation becomes evident, both to safeguard its citizens and ultimately, to harness potential new revenue streams.
For the past 15 years, the Aqueria team has played a crucial role in fostering the growth and establishment of Gaming operations in emerging markets, with a particular emphasis on Sharia-compliant states, including the U.A.E.
Consumer habits continue to evolve at pace – driven by convenience, new distribution channels /products / services, technology and changes to the way disposable income is spent. BUT at Aqueria we believe it should be highlighted it is not simply a case of ‘If you build it, they will come’. Brand affinity and consumer demand to play the games must be generated to earn the Player’s advocacy and discretionary spend – ultimately to avoid a Business Plan reliant on impulse purchases alone.
Beyond our hands-on involvement, we’ve consistently championed the need for tailored portfolio innovations with compelling reasons to play, over a “one size fits all” solutions traditionally seen in the lottery sector. This includes products, marketing and services that offset the inherent Zero-Sum characteristics of the Draw Game model – by advocating: greater transparency in Social Welfare Causes, the introduction of value-added propositions and participation benefits. In order to sustain engagement, authentic CSR initiatives need to be developed that not only make a quantifiable positive impact on society but also contributes to significant and ongoing growth for businesses.
We have found that such forward-thinking offerings do not only appeal to today’s discerning and also at times, fickle consumers but are also more likely to receive a favourable reception from a Muslim State and its Sharia authorities.
Kon Kalemis / Matt Osgood