Genting Is Latest Major Company to Express Interest in UAE Casino

  • Genting Group Chairman Lim Kok Thay has confirmed UAE interest
  • He said that the company will need more clarity on regulations though
  • Wynn Resorts and MGM Resorts are aleady planning UAE expansion
UAE flag
Genting Group is the latest company to express interest in a UAE casino project if gambling becomes legal in the region. [Image:]

Monitoring developments

Casino companies are keeping a close eye on discussions going on in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) about allowing integrated resorts to have gaming areas.

Talk of gambling expansion began last year and led to the creation of a new federal regulator in the UAE, despite the region prohibiting the activity as it breaches Islamic law.

the latest casino company to express interest in throwing its hat into the ring

Genting Group is the latest casino company to express interest in throwing its hat into the ring for a potential casino in the UAE. The company’s chairman Lim Kok Thay confirmed during an annual meeting for Genting Singapore last month that it might pursue such an opportunity. The meeting minutes became public on Friday following a stock exchange filing.

Weighing up its options

Responding to a question about potential expansion into new markets, such as the UAE and Thailand, Lim said that the company “would be happy” to work on a Middle East integrated resort project, leveraging its experience in non-gaming projects.

He acknowledged that a standalone casino in the region appears unlikely and that the company needs to see “more visibility on the terms and conditions for legalizing gaming in other jurisdictions” before committing to anything.

The General Commercial Gaming Regulatory Authority (GCGRA) was set up last year to look at regulating a national lottery and any forms of commercial gaming in the UAE. Former MGM Resorts International CEO Jim Murren is heading up the body.

The emirates that appear the most bullish about gambling expansion are Ras Al Khaimah and Abu Dhabi, with the tourist hotbed of Dubai taking a back seat for now.

Interest from other companies

Wynn Resorts and MGM Resorts International are also showing interest in UAE casino projects. The former is building a $3.9bn integrated resort in Ras Al Khaimah that aims to open by 2027 and the developer is allocating 4% of the resort size for a future gaming floor. Wynn Resorts believes it could receive a casino license before the end of the year.

their revenue could surpass the integrated resort market in Singapore

MGM Resorts, meanwhile, is building a resort in Dubai that could also host a gaming area. UAE casinos hold a lot of promise if they get the green light, with some analysts predicting that their revenue could surpass the integrated resort market in Singapore.

Genting Group subsidiaries operate casinos in countries like the UK, Malaysia, Singapore, Bahamas, Egypt, and the US.

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