Abu Dhabi's Big Ticket prize draw 'pauses operations'

Ticket sales halted with immediate effect to comply with UAE gaming regulations

Abu Dhabi's Big Ticket will pause operations with immediate effect. Supplied
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Abu Dhabi's Big Ticket prize draw has confirmed it will “temporarily pause operations” with immediate effect in order to comply with the UAE's gaming regulations.

The move – which was confirmed on the company's website and social media channels overnight – comes after fellow operators Mahzooz and Emirates Draw halted services from January.

“In accordance with regulatory gaming requirements, Big Ticket will be temporarily pausing operations starting April 1,” the company said.

“Rest assured, all previously won prizes are securely protected and guaranteed.”

In a further notice, Big Ticket said its April 3 draw would go ahead as scheduled, with “all of its prizes” to be given away to meet gaming regulation requirements.

Both Mahzooz and Emirates Draw had said they were temporarily suspending activities in statements issued at the end of December in order to adhere to gaming laws.

“The pause is a result of an industrywide mandate consistent with the regulators’ new role to create a well-regulated gaming environment in the United Arab Emirates,” Mahzooz said at the time.

Emirates Draw said at the time that participation and new account registration were suspended only for players from within the UAE.

Dubai Duty Free continues to promote upcoming prize draws on its website.

The National has contacted Dubai Duty Free for comment.

Big Ticket operators had said they would continue to run as normal in January, but will now put prize draws on hold.

The Big Ticket was established in 1992 and has created a host of new millionaires over the years.

Players were able to purchase tickets online or at Big Ticket counters at Abu Dhabi and Al Ain International Airport.

In September, the General Commercial Gaming Regulatory Authority was established in the UAE.

There is no set date for when the raffles will begin operating again.

Article No 355 of UAE law considers all forms of gambling a criminal offence. Punishments could result in imprisonment, fines, or both.

Some exceptions to prize draw laws in the UAE have meant that some companies authorised under the Ministry of Economy have been permitted to conduct raffles.

Prize draw companies in the UAE have applied to become the country's sole operator, senior figures from the firms confirmed.

Both Mahzooz and Emirates Draw have registered their intent to run the national UAE prize draw, with one licence up for grabs.

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Updated: April 01, 2024, 5:50 AM