Wynn Deal With UAE May Pave the Way for First Gulf State Casino

  • There will be a “gaming” area at the resort, but it is unclear if there will be gambling options
  • RAKTDA has also created a new department to oversee integrated resorts
  • The resort will be built on a man-made island, scheduled to be completed in 2026
  • A few big casino companies have gotten involved in non-gaming resort projects in the region
UAE long flag
Wynn Resorts is getting involved in a luxury resort project in the UAE that could have a gambling element. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Gaming area uncertainty

Wynn Resorts has entered into an agreement to develop a luxury resort in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Tuesday’s announcement stated that there will be a “gaming” area at the multi-billion-dollar resort in Ras Al Khaimah, but it is unclear if this area will have gambling options. None of the involved parties have replied to media questions regarding potential gambling at the planned property.

started a Department of Entertainment and Gaming Regulation

It appears that the rules around gambling in the UAE might be easing somewhat. The Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA) revealed on Tuesday that it has started a Department of Entertainment and Gaming Regulation in order to oversee “integrated resorts.”

An integrated resort is a label often given to a hotel that has a casino and other forms of entertainment options. A major for this new body is to develop a regulatory framework that would make sure that there is a “responsible practice of recreational gaming at all levels.”

A major project

Marjan, the developer of the project, hopes to open the new luxury resort in 2026 on a man-made island just off the coast in Ras Al Khaimah. It will have 1,000 hotel rooms, ten restaurants, a convention center, a spa, and shopping facilities. The project is currently in the early design phase and is less than an hour’s drive from the Dubai International Airport.

Marjan’s chief executive Abdulla al-Abdooli spoke about the planned Wynn resort in a statement. He said: “The integrated development, featuring a world-class hotel, entertainment and gaming amenities, will add to the emirate’s destination strategy to attract tourists from across the world.”

tremendous potential for tourism and hospitality in the region

Wynn Resorts CEO Craig Billings said that there is tremendous potential for tourism and hospitality in the region and that the company is excited about developing an integrated resort there.

Changing times in UAE

There has been speculation among diplomats that the UAE might look to allow gambling as part of a wide-ranging set of legislative reforms. The goal of these changes would be to ensure that the country remains a hub for business and tourism and that regional competition continues to rise. The state already made significant legislative changes last year, including the decriminalization of alcohol consumption and premarital sexual relations.

Gambling is an activity that is not permitted under Islamic law. There is no legal gambling in any of the six Gulf Cooperation Council states.

There had been rumors last year that Dubai officials were looking at issuing gambling licenses, but the government denied the reports in April. Caesars Entertainment did open a resort in Dubai in 2018, marking the casino company’s very first non-gambling project. MGM Resorts International is also developing three luxury hotels in the country, each of which should be open at some stage this year.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *