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UAE to have only one national lottery operator

UAE to have only one national lottery operator
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Popular raffle operators in the UAE, Mahzooz and Emirates Draw have bid for the national lottery licence with the General Commercial Gaming Regulatory Authority (GCGRA). The operators have confirmed that the application process for the National Lottery licence has been completed and that regulators are currently conducting a thorough process to select the best applicant for the national lottery licence.

In line with the directives from the UAE’s Gaming Regulatory Authority (GCGRA) — a federal body set up in September, Emirates Draw and Mahzooz, two popular raffle draws have put their operations on hold from January 1, 2024.

Here is all you need to know:

Will the UAE have one national lottery operator?

According to Mahzooz and Emirates Draw, popular raffle and gaming operators in the UAE, confirmed that UAE will have only one national lottery operator. The license will be awarded by the GCGRA within the first quarter of 2024.

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“We have been told by the authority that there will be only one national lottery operator in the UAE. The GCGRA started receiving applications for the licence from the third week of December 2023 and the last date was the first week of January,”

said Suzan Kazzi, head of communications at Ewings (operator of Mahzooz).

Are both Mahzooz and Emirates Draw running for the licence?

Yes, both companies have applied for the national lottery licence.

Paul Chader, head of commercial, Emirates Draw, said that Emirates Draw has distributed over Dh168 million in prizes to more than 800,000 winners in less than three years, which is one of the reasons making them hopeful for the National Lottery Licence.

He highlighted other reasons that make them an ideal applicant.

“Our diverse portfolio of games (MEGA7, EASY6 & FAST5) caters to a wide range of audiences, starting at just Dh15. With a robust and secure IT infrastructure, we prioritize the safety of our participants. Our machines are truly top-notch and internationally recognised for their impressive features, customization options, and advanced security,”

said Chader.

“Emirates Draw stands as the largest draw in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia, offering a grand prize of Dh100 million. We've introduced a unique FAST5 prize format of Dh25,000 every month for 25 years, making it easier for participants to win the grand prize. Backed by a team with over 200 years of collective global expertise, we're confident that our solutions lead the way in the global gaming landscape."

Mahzooz completed their application process in the first week of January 2024. Kazzi highlighted that Ewings has a proven track record of changing people’s lives through Mahzooz’s excellent performance for the past three years.

“We have created 66 millionaires and given away over Dh500 million to more than 2 million winners worldwide, in addition to the 10,000 that we touched through our CSR outreach program,”

said Kazzi.

“Our existing customer base, infrastructure, team of international experts with over 127 years of combined experience from mature markets and network of partners can be leveraged to immediately start new operations as soon as given the green light,”

said Kazzi.

Have raffle draw operators been impacted by the decision?

No, both Dubai Duty Free and Big Ticket Abu Dhabi continue to sell tickets and crown new millionaires.

Abdurehman, an Ethiopian national based in Ethiopia, won $1 million in Millennium Millionaire Series 445 and Gowda Ashok Gopal, an Indian national based in Mumbai, was also announced as the winner of $1 million in Millennium Millionaire Series 446. The draw was held on January 3, 2024.

People willing to participate in the Dubai Duty Free can still purchase the tickets online for the upcoming draws.

Similarly, Big Ticket is also operational. During the December 31st Big Ticket live draw, Kapadia Huseni and Milind Kini walked away with brand-new cars — a Range Rover and a BMW 430i.

Participants can purchase tickets for series 260 for the grand prize of Dh15 million on the Big Ticket website. The Draw is scheduled to take place on February 3, 2024.

Did the latest winners of the Mahzooz Draw win after operations were paused?

Serhii from Ukraine and Zenobia from India, two participants of Mahzooz, welcomed the New Year by taking home Dh10 million each. Sharing the Dh20 million jackpot, they won before operations were paused. They received their winnings during a ceremony held in Dubai recently.

Can participants still access Mazhooz and Emirates Draw online platforms?

The online platforms of both companies are active. However, features like ‘My Cart’, ‘Buy Now’, ‘Add Credit’, and ‘Play’ have been temporarily disabled.

Will user accounts remain active?

Yes. However, the features mentioned above will remain disabled.

Will new registrations be available?

Yes, but without the purchasing facilities.

News Source: Khaleej Times

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