Wynn Resorts expanding to Middle East with UAE casino

Wynn Resorts planning UAE casino
Wynn Resorts planning UAE casino
Wynn Resorts is planning to build a gaming venue on Marjan Island in the UAE. (Photo: CNN)

Wynn Resorts recently revealed plans to expand into the Middle East. The US-based hospitality and gambling giant will break into that market by building a new resort on the man-made Al Marjan Island in Ras al-Khaimah, United Arab Emirates.

The resort is expected to feature a gaming area, even though the UAE operates by Islamic laws which forbid gambling. But the laws are expected to be loosened in order to include gaming areas for international tourists.

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Craig Billings, Wynn Resorts CEO, noted that the venue is expected to be open in 2026.

“There has been tremendous modernization and progression in the UAE,” he said.

“The Dubai airport sees more than 80 million passengers a year. There’s an amazing amount of inbound visitation from Europe, the Middle East, India, and other surrounding countries.

“We believe there will be a robust cash-based business like we have here. We see it as a real extension of our brand.”

Billings is confident that Wynn will be the only company offering gambling in that region. He further noted that talks are ongoing with relevant bodies to ensure a smooth take-off. 

“It’s a limited supply market. For the foreseeable future, we will be the only gaming in that area. The leadership is very forward-thinking, and Ras Al Khaimah is a very progressive and thoughtful place where they do things with intention,” he said.

Earlier this year, the Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA) hinted that the resort will be built based on the values of the UAE’s culture. 

“The gaming facility is currently in the design phase and will be purposely built on the guidelines of The Department of Entertainment and Gaming Regulation, taking into consideration culture and societal norms,” the RAKTDA said in a statement.

“It will be a modern facility with games designed specifically based on the preferences of the visitors.” 

The resort will include over 1,000 standard hotel rooms, as well as meeting and conference facilities, over 10 restaurants, well-spaced lounges, a shopping mall, a spa, and an entertainment and gaming arena. 

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