Mahzooz raffle draw announces temporary pause from Jan. 1, 2024. Photo for illustrative purpose only

Dubai: Mahzooz, one of the popular raffle draws in the UAE, has announced a temporary pause in its operations.

“In compliance with applicable commercial gaming regulations, Mahzooz will temporarily pause operations from Jan. 1, 2024,” Mahzooz said in an announcement to its subscribers on Sunday.

It cited industry-wide mandate consistent with the guidance and directives of the regulators as the reason. “We look forward to resuming our mission of changing people’s lives soon and we genuinely appreciate your understanding during this short break,” it said.

Gaming regulators

The announcement about the mandate from the gaming regulators comes a few months after the UAE established the General Commercial Gaming Regulatory Authority (GCGRA).

The last Mahzooz weekly draw was on December 30, 2023. Mahzooz has updated its website’s FAQ session with further details about the temporary discontinuation of its operation.

Mahzooz will be pausing the sale of tickets, and no draws will be held after December 30, 2023 until further notice from the regulators. It said Ewings, the company running the raffle draw, is exploring various options for future endeavours.

No sale of tickets

Whilst the pause is in place, customers will not be able to purchase tickets online or through kiosks as kiosks will also be temporarily disabled during the pause period.

However, customers’ accounts will remain active allowing for withdrawals as per the usual procedure. Customers may request withdrawal of any outstanding balance in their Mahzooz account even after the temporary pause starting Dec. 31, 2023, according to the website.

64 millionaires

Meanwhile, Mahzooz on Sunday also announced that two winners shared the Dh20million top prize in its last draw held on Saturday.

This brings the total number of winners who became millionaires through Mahzooz to 66. The 161st draws that took place on Saturday also awarded a total of Dh 24,052,185 to 236,979 winners in various categories of prizes. Additionally, the same draws exclusively awarded Dh1,295,000 to 100 guaranteed raffle prize winners.

Launched in 2020, Mahzooz has given away more than Dh500,000,000 to over 1.8 million winners. Its community outreach programme focused on education, healthcare, and the environment that has benefited 10,000 individuals. Over the past three years, it has distributed over 26 million water bottles to over 40 shared accommodations and not-for-profit institutions and NGOs, impacting over 10,000 beneficiaries, the company stated.