UAE's Mahzooz, Emirates Draw stop operations: Will past winners still get their money?

What happens to existing accounts and will e-wallet credit balances be refunded? All your questions answered

by

Sahim Salim

/

Waheed Abbas

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Published: Mon 1 Jan 2024, 6:00 AM

Last updated: Mon 1 Jan 2024, 9:28 PM

UAE's two most popular gaming and raffles draw operators have put their activities on hold. Mahzooz and Emirates Draw said the pause from January 1, 2024, is temporary but did not specify when the games would resume.

Here is all you need to know.

  • Why have raffles been put on hold? Will other companies follow suit?

The move is in line with the latest directives from the UAE Gaming Regulatory Authority (GCGRA) - a federal body set up in September. It was not immediately clear when other gaming companies will follow suit, although Mahzooz said this is an "industry-wide mandate" that "aligns with regulators' efforts to create a well-regulated gaming environment in the UAE".

Emirates Draw said the temporary pause from January 1, 2024, will help it return with an “enhanced gaming experience soon”.

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  • Have ticket sales been paused? When was the last draw for the two companies?

Mahzooz updated its FAQ, where it revealed that “no draws will be held after December 30, 2023, until further notice from the regulators". Emirates Draw has paused the sale of tickets in the UAE after December 31.

  • Will there be any refunds of credit balance in e-wallets?

Customers can request the withdrawal of any remaining account balance.

  • Will existing accounts be frozen?

Existing accounts will remain active even during the pause. “Any balance you have will be secure until we resume operations or until you decide to withdraw it,” Emirates Draw said, adding that certain features like creating new accounts, buying tickets or adding credits will be paused.

  • Will winners who won prizes in previous draws still receive their money?

Every prize, whether small or big, can be withdrawn and paid in full.

  • When are the draws likely to resume?

Mahzooz said it is looking forward to resuming the draws “soon” – mostly likely in the first quarter of 2024 once it gets the go-ahead from the regulators. “We genuinely appreciate your understanding during this short break.”

Emirates Draw said it will provide detailed information through official channels “at the appropriate time”.

What's the GCGRA? What is its role?

The GCGRA was established as a federal authority to introduce a regulatory framework for a national lottery and commercial gaming, state news agency Wam reported in September. Tasked with creating a "socially responsible" gaming environment, the authority is to ensure that all participants "adhere to strict guidelines and comply with the highest standards". Among its mandates are to coordinate regulatory activities, manage licensing and unlock the economic potential of commercial gaming responsibly.

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