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Lottoland founder sets sights on $1bn Dubai lottery

Lottoland's David von Rosen-von Hoewel says Dubai is "perfectly suited" for his new project after the launch of its new gaming authority Supplied
Lottoland's David von Rosen-von Hoewel says Dubai is "perfectly suited" for his new project after the launch of its new gaming authority
  • Dubai gaming authority established
  • Lottoland founder plans $1bn jackpot
  • 2024 launch targeted

The founder of the global lottery betting platform Lottoland has revealed plans to launch the world’s first $1 billion overnight jackpot in Dubai.

David von Rosen-von Hoewel told AGBI he is set to hold talks with the General Commercial Gaming Regulatory Authority (GCGRA). The UAE’s new industry watchdog was established earlier this month, which will lay out a regulatory framework for the country’s commercial gaming industry.

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“The UAE never does anything in halves, and its global reputation for doing things on a mega-scale can be replicated in the lotteries sector,” he said, adding that he was targeting 2024 for the Dubai launch. Von Rosen launched Lottoland in 2013.

Von Rosen said prizes would be transferred immediately without participants having to check their tickets. 

“Buying a lottery ticket online and receiving the full cash prize the very next day would be revolutionary, and it would help draw in tourists looking to win life-changing sums when on vacation in Dubai, Abu Dhabi or Ras Al Khaimah,” he said. 

Von Rosen also said he was keen to assist the rollout of the GCGRA. 

“The GCGRA is big news and a step in the right direction for the gaming sector,” he said.

“The priority for now needs to be rolling out a truly innovative regulatory framework for lottery products that’s modern and fit for purpose, whilst also offering unrivalled customer protection through digitally led lottery products.” 

Von Rosen’s plan for a $1 billion jackpot far outstrips any previous digital lottery. According to Guinness World Records, the largest online gambling payout to date is €90 million ($105 million) by Lottoland in 2018.

The entrepreneur, a German national now based in Dubai and Geneva, has founded several gaming and gambling companies around the world with an annual revenue of $1 billion, including Gibraltar-based Lottoland. 

The company is active and fully licensed in 15 markets and serves more than 18 million customers around the world. 

Von Rosen’s other ventures include Oceana Market, an online virtual stock market that offers “shares” in celebrities, and Dubai boutique property development company 25 Degrees. 

Opening the market

The establishment of the GCGRA earlier this month signalled a further move towards allowing gambling in the UAE.

Kevin Mullally, who once served as the executive director of the Missouri Gaming Commission, has been appointed as CEO. 

While gambling is currently not allowed in the UAE, a number of sanctioned raffles are held by companies such as Mahzooz, formerly known as Emirates Loto, which offer multi-million-dirham prizes.

The opening of casinos has, however, long been rumoured. Ras Al Khaimah will host the first when an 18,500 sq m casino opens in 2027 as part of the Wynn resort on Al Marjan Island.