Boasting world-class beaches, an endless amount of professional and personal prospects, year-round sunshine, a rich historical background, and tax-free perks, it would be difficult to resist the allure of relocating to the UAE to pursue an exciting career within the iGaming industry.

In today’s blog edition, we’re delighted to have BettingJobs CEO Jennifer Innes join us. With over 18 years’ experience in the iGaming industry, Jennifer is an expert in recruitment within the UAE. Below, Jennifer shares her insights on relocation, regulation, recent visits to the UAE and much more.

Who receives a license to become the first regulated lottery operator in the UAE is on the cusp of being announced, which is phenomenally exciting news as the UAE is the last frontier globally in iGaming to regulate. It will also be interesting to evaluate the impact that regulation will have both in terms of global iGaming companies and their interest in the region plus what impact, if any, regulations may have in other locations (such as Turkey).

There are a host of reasons why people are employed by the gaming sector in the UAE, one of those being the fact Dubai is a ‘middle ground’ for African and other Asian countries like India. Potentially, it is likely easier to ask someone to relocate to Dubai due to the endless perks relocating to the city presents. There are also many individuals who have moved there recently as a consequence of conflict or war; there is now an abundance of Russian and Ukrainian nationals in Dubai. Also, with the rise of remote based opportunities post covid, there are now many individuals who have seized the opportunity to relocate somewhere they wanted to which has zero income tax and presents an idyllic lifestyle, even it is only for a short period of time. I believe once regulation occurs, people will move there to pursue a career, rather than merely moving there for a short period of time or because of conflict and ultimately having no other choice. I think once regulation happens, as far as ‘unlocking possibilities’ is concerned, that the stability regulation brings will also be there as well as the possibility.

When it comes to schooling in the UAE, you can be confident the education your children receive will be world class. People often talk about the bullying they experienced at school in the UK for example because they were “different” from others. However, mostly everyone within the UAE is “different”, as 90% of the population is non-Emirati and has moved there from other cultures, therefore everyone is far more welcoming. It’s all about the ‘rich tapestry’ of cultures and nationalities and what everyone can bring to the table. Moreover, the UAE now hosts various sporting events, including the Dubai World Cup for horse racing. The country also boasts world-class restaurants, serves as a hub for further international travel, and promotes a healthy lifestyle with numerous renowned fitness and wellbeing facilities. As far as gaming companies in the UAE are concerned, there’s always been gaming companies who have targeted the Middle East. Only recently has it become more feasible to base yourself there, and there is no longer a level of confidentiality or secretiveness required when discussing the region. I still think companies are so used to having started in the shadows there isn’t such a ‘joined-up’ community there. So, I feel that’s a real possibility that can happen as time goes on.

There are also the regulations as far as cryptocurrency is concerned. There are two main regulatory bodies in Dubai which has led to a few cryptocurrency businesses setting themselves up there. Some iGaming firms have opted to relocate segments of their teams from places like Malta to Dubai. This move aims to facilitate better access to Middle Eastern and Asian/Southeast Asian markets as companies are finding find it easier to tap into quality talent in these markets from the UAE. Additionally, it is less complex for individuals to secure visas in the UAE compared with elsewhere in Europe, for example. There’s also some ‘freezones’ in Dubai that are actively targeting and pursuing some of the iGaming operators in Malta, so I am confident we will see other business in time. Although it will not happen overnight, I believe other operators/suppliers will begin setting themselves up there as Dubai is making itself so favourable and welcoming of gaming.

Since visiting the for the first time, it was apparent regulations had moved forward in Dubai. Conferences are quickly on the rise in the region, as demonstrated by the success of recent events such as SiGMA Eurasia earlier this year which brought together over 15,000 iGaming industry professionals and more than 250 exhibitors. if you had told me 5 years ago that we would be discussing recruitment in Dubai or the UAE in general that i would most likely have laughed about that possibly, but here we are!

10 years ago, or so, if you thought about a person relocating to Dubai, they likely would have been receiving a massive salary and a huge benefits package. For the most part, companies in the UAE offer housing allowance, relocation visas and healthcare, but I would say salaries in the UAE have become more reflective of the current state of recruitment where salaries are not perhaps as inflated as they once were. Many individuals are now more realistic about what they are willing to accept to be in their desired location. After being confined to places like the British Isles or Malta during COVID, they are likely more willing to accept £5k-£7k less than what they previously held out for in order to be based in Dubai. Having that ‘Dubai lifestyle’ means more, so I would say it’s no longer all about massive base salaries. Individuals now contemplate the job opportunities in the UAE much the same as they would in the UK and elsewhere in Europe & the US i.e., what is the company doing, what is their role in the company, what is the stability of the opportunity etc. It’s not just that they’re going to be able to offer you a far higher salary than any other company elsewhere in the world would.

As a foreign national relocating to the UAE, you will never be able to become an Emirati national. There are a few visas you can obtain such as the ‘Golden Visa’, open to those who have invested at least 5 million AED in a public project in the UAE, which has made it more possible for individuals to feel part of the community. Beforehand, a lot of people would move to Dubai, then move on. For example, a lot of Indian nationals moved there as they can find work and are able to easily relocate to the UAE from India. But the thing is, no matter how long an individual resides in the UAE, they are unable to secure a residency card or become, as you can in the UK by comparison, a British citizen after 5 years of living in the country. The above therefore highlights one of the reasons people may choose to move on from the UAE.

Special thanks to UAE Recruitment expert and BettingJobs CEO Jennifer Innes for joining us in today’s blog edition.

We hope that this article has provided you with a clearer insight into the rapidly growing iGaming industry in the UAE, as well as the relocation process and opportunities that awaits you within the region.

In the meantime, don’t forget to browse the excellent UAE opportunities currently available at BettingJobs.

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