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Decoding digital play: Legal frontiers in the UAE explored at SiGMA Eurasia 2024

The inaugural panel of SiGMA Eurasia 2024 set a compelling tone for the conference, focusing on the legal complexities of online gaming in the Middle East.

sigma eurasia 2024 digital play

Titled “Decoding Digital Play: Unveiling Legal Frontiers in Middle East Online Gaming,” the session brought together industry experts to dissect the evolving regulatory landscape and its profound impact on the burgeoning gaming industry in the region.

Moderated by Jaguar Adva Gal, CEO at Jaguar Reg&Comp, the panel comprised distinguished figures in the field: Joseph F Borg, Partner & Head of Innovative Technology at WH Partners; Lana Turbova, Head of Licensing & IT at Eternity Law International; Tony Petrov, Chief Legal Officer at Sumsub; and Sheikh Muhammad Noman, Co-Founder & BDP at Halliday Growth.

Joseph Borg set the tone by emphasizing the importance of regulators only intervening where necessary, advocating for the construction of a functional regulatory framework through open dialogue and feedback from industry operators. Borg cautioned against historical pitfalls observed in other jurisdictions, urging the UAE regulator to adopt a collaborative approach.

Lana Turbova echoed Borg’s sentiments, underlining the significance of aligning regulations with Islamic principles in the predominantly Islamic MENA region. She suggested leveraging AI technologies to enforce compliance with Islamic law, particularly in restricting local participation in gaming activities that involve betting while also highlighting the potential of AI in fraud detection and compliance management.

Tony Petrov foresaw a future of stricter regulatory measures for responsible gaming in the MENA region, emphasizing the increasing importance of compliance within the gaming sector. Sheikh Muhammad Noman emphasized the UAE’s attractiveness for businesses, citing its welcoming environment and robust social and business security as key advantages.

During the discussion, Jaguar Adva Gal prompted reflections on the necessity of regulation in the UAE and associated risks. Joseph Borg emphasized the importance of due diligence in verifying the legitimacy of operators, with a focus on protecting vulnerable individuals, preventing fraud, and ensuring fairness in gaming practices.

Ultimately, the panel reached a consensus on the pivotal role of regulators in fostering an ecosystem conducive to the industry’s longevity. Emphasizing a forward-looking approach, they advocated for regulatory frameworks that support innovation while safeguarding consumer interests and maintaining the integrity of the gaming landscape. As the SiGMA Eurasia conference progresses, it is evident that discussions like these will shape the future trajectory of the online gaming industry in the Middle East.

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