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Wynn Resorts Confirms Plans to Complete the Construction of First UAE Casino until 2026

Craig Scott Billings, chief executive officer of the US hotel and casino giant Wynn Resorts, confirmed that the company is set to open a casino in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The gambling operator is currently building a luxury casino resort that will be the first for the Gulf Arab region, where gambling has long been banned due to religious reasons.

Mr. Billings confirmed that the construction of the casino is set to be completed in 2026. The venue is to be situated on a man-made island off the coast of Ras Al Khaimah.

The establishment of the Wynn Resorts’ casino would be a crucial moment for the Gulf, a region where stricter Islamic rules than ones in other parts of the Middle East have been traditionally imposed. Furthermore, the prospect of a new casino comes at a time when the competition in the Gulf has been rising, with the tourism and business hub of the United Arab Emirates competing with Saudi Arabia to become a more welcoming destination in a region that has been trying to diversify its oil-dependent economy.

In January 2022, the emirate of Ras Al Khaimah and Wynn Resorts announced that the US hotel and casino giant’s luxury casino resort was granted a gambling license. At the time, however, it was not specified what type of gambling will be allowed at the resort, which sparked renewed talk of casino gambling being introduced in other emirates across the UAE.

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Currently, Ras Al Khaimah is one of the smaller and less popular of the seven emirates in the UAE. In Dubai, which is a large regional and business center, Caesars Palace already operates a resort without a casino, and MGM Resorts International is currently building another.

As explained by the CEO of Wynn Resorts, the establishment of a casino component in one of the UAE emirates was quite exciting, especially considering the fact that the US gambling company would be operating the venue on its own, at least for a certain period of time. According to Mr. Billings, this would shape the company up to be a business larger than Wynn Las Vegas. The boss of Wynn Resorts shared that the company certainly did not want to underbuild the casino, given the fact that the establishment of such a casino resort is a huge step for both the company and the emirate where the resort would be hosted.

The project, called Wynn Marjan, is planned to start operation on Dream Island in Ras Al Khaimah in 2026. It will host a casino venue of approximately 18,500 square meters, which will make it one of the largest casinos on a global scale, and almost double the size of the company’s property in Las Vegas.

The tourism development authority in the Ras Al Khaimah emirate has already established a special division for the regulation of integrated resorts. A new Department of Entertainment and Gaming Regulation has also been created to take into consideration the environmental, cultural, and social environmental landscape of the emirate, and cover licensing procedures, operational procedures, taxation, and consumer safeguards.

 Author: Harrison Young

Harrison Young is an experienced writer, who started his career almost 8 years ago. Prior to joining our team at CasinoGamesPro, he worked as an editor for a small magazine.