UAE Opportunity Highlighted by New Gambling VC Ixia Capital

Hassan Khalid
June 19, 2024
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UAE Opportunity Highlighted by New Gambling VC Ixia Capital

Ixia Capital, a new venture capital (VC) fund, is aiming to benefit from the promising future of online gaming in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) with its $20 million (£15.8 million/€18.7 million) fund.

This fund, run by experienced professionals in gaming and finance, will invest in “high-growth” gambling companies from the seed stage to Series A. Over the next five years, it plans to launch more than 25 startups in online gaming, Web3, crypto, and blockchain sectors.

The fund is especially focused on opportunities in the soon-to-be-regulated UAE market. Ixia Capital’s CEO, Mona Motwani, told iGB that while the exact regulations are still unknown, the region looks very promising, and operators are preparing for a bright future in UAE gambling.

In September, the UAE established the General Commercial Gaming Regulatory Authority (GCGRA) to create a framework for a national lottery and commercial gaming in the region. Motwani believes the legal casino market in the UAE will be significant.

Although Ixia Capital is a global fund, its initial focus will be on the UAE, India, and Africa, where the team has core expertise.

Experienced Team in Gaming and Finance

Mona Motwani, who spent seven years at Sportradar managing government relations in the Indian subcontinent, leads the team. Other partners include Tyler Dean, Imran Bukhari, and Biren Gala.

Tyler Dean has extensive experience in VC funds, managing and advising on various funds in the US. Imran Bukhari, with a background in tech development, has worked as a software consultant for Bet365 and runs NE Group, providing igaming solutions in Africa. Biren Gala has ten years of private equity experience with Mayfair Equity Advisory in the UK.

Fund’s Investment Goals

Ixia Capital’s US-based venture studio, Ixia Studio, has already made several investments. These include FasFas Games, a Sports NFT Trading Exchange, a gaming loyalty rewards platform, a sports investment thought leadership platform, and a sports coverage and engagement app. Details on these projects are still limited, but they are expected to launch soon.

Motwani mentioned that the fund is interested in both B2B and B2C startups and is excited about unique projects combining esports, gaming, Web3, crypto, and blockchain.

Near-Term Regulated Gaming in the UAE

A June report by investment firm CBRE expects regulated gaming to be introduced in the UAE soon. For now, online casinos in UAE are licensed off-shore. It is however unclear whether online casinos will be part of the potential regulation act. They predict changes in laws through a Federal Decree or adjustments to the criminal and penal codes. With increased activity and public company interest in the region, these changes are anticipated in the next few months.

CBRE also noted that a well-regulated online gaming environment could develop quickly due to the current accessibility of illegal online gaming providers in the UAE via VPNs or proxies. They expect the GCGRA will prioritize regulating this area.

Currently, Wynn Resorts is building an integrated resort in Ras Al Khaimah, expected to be completed by 2027.

Author Hassan Khalid

Hassan Khalid, a reviewer at casinoarabie.com, leads the effort to explore the world of Arab online casinos. With his long experience in the online gaming industry, Hassan brings a new vision to many operators seeking to establish themselves in the Arab world. Unlike most international content writers in the online gaming space, Hassan has a great understanding of the challenges and opportunities related to online casino gaming in Arabic-speaking countries. Therefore, he is responsible for the editorial vision of casinoarabie.com