UAE Al Marjan Island’s integrated casino resort set to open in 2027

Lea Hogg 9 months ago
UAE Al Marjan Island’s integrated casino resort set to open in 2027

The issue of the inaugural license permitting casino operations within the UAE appears to be imminent, as indicated by Craig Billings, CEO of Wynn Resorts. He disclosed that the company’s forthcoming casino resort, Wynn Al Marjan Island, is expected to be awared an operating licence. This development marks a significant milestone, as it is the first and only casino resort officially established within the Emirates, specifically in the Northern Emirate of Ras Al Khaimah.

During the announcement of Q2 2023 results, Billings articulated his optimism regarding the licensing process for this groundbreaking project. He stated, “We have everything we need to operate gaming in Al Marjan. I expect that we will have our license for Ras Al Khaimah actually imminently.” He further addressed the intricate legal landscape of gambling in the UAE, which has historically prohibited such activities.

Ras Al Khaimah and the significance of the UAE venture

The Las Vegas casino and hotel operator is set to launch the multi-billion dollar resort on Marjan Island off the coast of the Emirate of Ras Al Khaimah in 2027. As well as luxury rooms, a minimum of 10 restaurants and a large state-of-the-art conference centre, the resort will also include a dedicated gaming and casino area. Wynn Resorts already operate similar projects in Las Vegas, Boston and Macau.

The emirate of Ras Al Khaimah has set up a new authority to regulate integrated resorts to ensure responsible gaming guidelines are followed. The Authority will also oversee hotel operations, the conference venue, restaurants, retail outlets and the conference suite as well as all types of gaming facilities offered in the resort. It will be responsible for authorising licencing, monitoring taxation and setting up player safeguards to ensure responsible gaming.

Marjan Island is a development of four reclaimed islands with more than 7.8 kilometres of pristine beaches and 23 km of waterfront, in addition to a wide range of world-class hotels and premium residential developments.

Abdullah Al Abdooli, (pictured above) Chief Executive Officer of the Marjan Island venture, said that the decision to partner with Wynn Resorts was because the group is one of the world’s most renowned integrated resort companies with a strong track record of developing luxury destinations that offer exceptional accommodation, dining, entertainment concepts and gaming facilities.

High return opportunity

Wynn Resorts would have a management contract “sitting on top” of the business model of the partnership.

Billings said, “I think there’s confusion here because there’s a lack of understanding regarding individual Emirates versus the UAE as a whole. I think I’ve talked about it before. But there should be no concern that there is a legalization process that needs to occur in order for gaming to take place in that property.”

Wynn Al Marjan Island, an opulent integrated resort, will encompass an array of leisure offerings, including 1,500 accommodations comprising rooms, suites and villas, along with a variety of dining establishments, a spa, an events centre and a theatre hosting distinctive production shows. Tailored for extended stays and day trips from the neighboring emirates, the resort will also feature nightly laser and light shows reminiscent of Las Vegas entertainment.

Projected to open its doors in 2027, this US $3.9 billion resort will house the UAE’s inaugural casino, occupying at least four percent of the total hotel area. The architectural blueprint, crafted by HKS, illustrates the casino premises on the ground floor and a ‘Sky Gaming’ enclave on the 33rd floor. Moreover, the layout unveils the expansive retail zone spanning approximately 120,000 square feet and an extensive spa facility.

New authority will regulate casino resort

Billings highlighted the strategic significance of the UAE venture during the Q3 2022 earnings call, noting the substantial dedication of resources to the project. He asserted, “[It is] a very high return opportunity for us we expect. And so, that’s really the focus of our design and development efforts at the moment.”

Earlier assessments by Billings celebrated the alluring allure and diversity of Dubai, Ras Al Khaimah, and the other emirates. He reiterated, “The UAE is already a substantial destination for not only the region but for Europe, for Brits, for Germans, for real folks from all over the place. So this is a significant customer opportunity and a really material extension of our brand. When we open that property, 95 percent of the world’s population will be within an eight-hour flight of a Wynn Resorts property.”

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