As Mahzooz pauses draws, are we about to see a UAE National Lottery?
Mahzooz has announced a temporary pause on operations…
According to the Mahzooz website – since starting operations, the popular prize draw has created 64 millionaires, given away more than half a billion dirhams to around 1.8 million winners, and through a community outreach programme has funneled funds into education, healthcare, and the environment that has “benefited 10,000 individuals”.
But as of January 1, 2024 – the draws have been put on, what the brand’s social media platforms are referring to as, “a temporary pause”. Making the number run on December 30, 2023 – the last weekly draw until further notice.
What is the reason for the pause?
Back in September of 2023, we reported on the creation of an entirely new government entity – The General Commercial Gaming Regulatory Authority (GCGRA), headed up by gaming industry veteran, Kevin Mullally. The purpose of the authority is to set-up, introduce and ensure compliance of a regulatory framework for commercial gaming, and importantly for this discussion – a national lottery.
Mahzooz, which means ‘lucky’ or ‘fortunate’ in Arabic, has also stated on its website that “in compliance with applicable commercial gaming regulations, Mahzooz will temporarily pause operations from January 1st, 2024. The pause is a result of an industry-wide mandate consistent with the Regulators’ new role to create a well-regulated gaming environment in the United Arab Emirates.”
“We consider this pause as an opportunity to implement further enhancements to our platform, and we look forward to resuming our mission of changing people’s lives in the first quarter of 2024 once successful in our bid.”
And it’s that “bid” part that makes it all even more interesting.
This isn’t the first time this Ewings-backed prize draw has been placed on hold. Originally known as Emirates Loto, the first iteration (which launched in April 2020) was placed on temporary hold until November – the stated reason behind the pause at the time was required “system updates” to enhance customer experiences.
Mahzooz and its predecessor, Emirates Loto – were categorised as prize draws rather than lotteries because rather than buying a ticket to play, you’d have to purchase either a commemorative card (as is the case for Emirates Loto) or a bottle of water (Mahzooz) with which you were given a free entry into a prize draw. This satisfies the principle of value exchange required by certain faith-based laws.