The United Arab Emirates in the Middle East is considering granting a casino licence to each of its seven constituent emirates, reported Bloomberg, citing a person said to be familiar with the matter.
But the same report said that while some emirates might move forward with developing a casino, one of them, Dubai, which already has a thriving international tourism sector, might put any plan for a gaming complex on the “back burner”.
The report suggested that senior Dubai government officials didn’t consider it a priority to be able to offer gambling, as the tourism sector there was already doing well. No time frame was indicated for how long a casino concept might be put on hold.
The UAE could pull in as much as US$6.6 billion of gaming revenue annually and eventually surpass Singapore, Bloomberg reported, citing its Bloomberg Intelligence arm.
Bill Hornbuckle, chief executive and president of casino operator MGM Resorts International – parent of Macau concessionaire MGM China Holdings Ltd – told an investment event in September, the firm believed it could eventually be authorised to operate a casino in Dubai. He gave no timeline.
In Ras Al Khaimah (pictured), a constituent emirate north of Dubai, United States-based casino firm Wynn Resorts Ltd – parent of Macau operator Wynn Macau Ltd – has announced plans for a US$3.9-billion integrated resort that might open in 2027. The scheme is known as Wynn Al Marjan Island.
Jim Murren, a former chairman and chief executive of MGM Resorts, had in September been appointed chairman of a UAE body called the General Commercial Gaming Regulatory Authority (GCGRA). It will be responsible for regulating commercial gaming, and a national lottery.
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”We committed to the government to provide a full business idea and plan for Phase 1b around 12 months after the casino opens, therefore, probably early 2025”
President of the Mohegan Inspire Entertainment Resort in South Korea