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Wynn casino deal with UAE

UAE signs deal with Wynn Casino as the Gulf State considers gambling

Chris Grand |
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Hotel and casino giant operator Wynn Resorts will soon construct a luxury resort in Ras Al Khaimah in the UAE consisting of a “gaming area”, the firm said on Tuesday, a move that could potentially see betting and gambling being introduced in this Muslim-dominant Gulf-state.

There were no clear indications from Wynn if the gaming included matters to do with gambling, though this is a big indication that the rules of entertainment may be slightly loosened, according to a report by the Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA). RAKTDA said that it had drafted a new Development of Entertainment and Gaming Regulation as a means of regulating “integrated resorts.”

Integrated resorts are hotels that have casinos, along with other entertainment options. According to RAKTDA, the first aim of the new body would be to ensure “the appropriate practice of recreational gaming at all levels”

Requests for comment from Ras Al Khaimah’s government communications office, RAKTDA, RAK Hospitality Holding, and Wynn Resorts as to whether matters to do with gaming would be permitted in the sheikhdom weren’t responded to immediately.

In a move aimed at maintaining its edge at both a business and tourism hub amid increasing regional competition, diplomats have been quoted saying that the United Arab Emirates could soon permit gambling in the country.

In April, Dubai, the UAE’s typically the most liberal emirate went ahead to dismiss rumors that it was giving casinos licenses. Caesars (CZR.O), a casino and hotel firm, opened a non-gaming resort on Dubai’s Bluewater Island in 2018. It was its initial non-gambling project in the country.

The Wynn Resort is scheduled to open in 2026, according to Ras Al Khaimah authorities and Wynn. It will be constructed on Al Marjan, a man-made island off the coast of Ras Al Khaimah.

“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,” said Abdulla al-Abdooli, both the chief executive of Marjan and the master-developer of freehold property in Ras Al Khaimah in a statement.

The above is not all. Three other luxurious Las Vegas brand hotels from casino operator MGM Resorts are under development on another man-made land in Dubai, dubbed The Island, and are all scheduled to open in 2022.

All forms of gambling are banned in Islam and in the entire 6 Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states.

Last year in 2021, the UAE launched one of the most comprehensive law reforms in the history of the country. It decriminalized premarital sexual interactions and the consumption of alcohol. Additionally, other developments witnessed here included the introduction of longer-term visas as a means of attracting and retaining talent, as well as encouraging more firms to establish business entities.

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