Publication Details

McKechnie, D. S., Grant, J., Sadeghi, H., Khan, L. & Taymaskhanov, Z. 2009, 'Casinos and Gambling in Dubai: finding common ground between polarized stakeholders', 3rd International Conference on Destination Branding and Marketing, Macau, SAR, China, pp. 1-13.


The likelihood that one day gambling and casinos may be allowed in Dubai has long been a subject of speculative conversation fueled by the rapid growth and development of the city-state. While it appears unlikely that such activities would be permitted any time soon – if at all – the question about stakeholder response does generate curiosity. In the case of Dubai, two segments who are arguably the most polarized and yet, the most likely to be impacted are tourists and the host people of the country – UAE Nationals. Thus, this research considers that the prospective tourists’ needs and wants as visitors may potentially be counter to the host people’s support and approval. With that in mind, this research sought to identify similarities and differences in the responses from each group. 400 self-administered surveys were distributed throughout urban Dubai – 200 to each respondent segment. The findings suggest that tourists have moderate viewpoints about the impact of gambling and casinos on Dubai society, tourism and economy. UAE Nationals appeared somewhat naïve but nevertheless, hold stronger, but not uncompromising, views about the idea of gaming establishments. Marketing efforts targeted to the UAE Nationals may educate, inform and ultimately gain support from this group. Both respondent segments agreed that if gambling and casinos were to be allowed, then they should be privately operated under government regulations. Limitations include that this study was based on a hypothetical scenario; the extent to which respondents considered that gambling and casinos would ever be permitted may have influenced results.