MGM Resorts President Reveals Plans to Develop Luxury Casino Resort in Dubai
- MGM has an existing project in Dubai initially planned as a hotel-only development
- MGM boss Bill Hornbuckle said the project may be expanded to include a casino
- Hornbuckle has high hopes about the plan, especially as they’re partnering with the ruler of Dubai
Las Vegas-based casino operator MGM Resorts International is optimistic about the prospect of operating an integrated resort with a casino in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
MGM Resorts has an ongoing project in Dubai, at Porto Island, Jumeirah, just north of the famous Burj Al Arab building. MGM CEO and President Bill Hornbuckle said that while the original plan for the project was for it to be constructed purely as a hotel, it could expand to include a gaming venue.
Dubai Project Could Include Casino
Hornbuckle made the remarks during the recently-concluded 2023 Bank of America Gaming and Lodging Conference in which he shared his views on the possibility of MGM running a casino in UAE, especially as the country has just established a new regulatory body for gaming, called the General Commercial Gambling Regulatory Authority (GCGRA).
The move is viewed by many industry observers as preparation for a potential launch of a regulated gaming market in the UAE. Hornbuckle offered some insights about their project in Dubai, saying it was initially designed to be a hotel-only development, with around 1,500 rooms.
MGM is building the project on a site controlled by Wasl, an asset management company, whose chairman is Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the current ruler of the Emirate of Dubai.
Hornbuckle said the fact that they’re doing business with the leader of the Emirate could help them with plans to develop and operate a casino in Dubai which is UAE’s most populous city. The MGM boss said they’re already in talks with the people at Wasl about the plan. MGM may put equity in or lease the entire casino, Hornbuckle said.
He further revealed that they have added an extra platform to the Dubai project which may be converted to a retail center or a casino.
Hornbuckle Confident in Dubai’s Gaming Potential
Hornbuckle believes in Dubai’s strong potential, given that it’s already as big as Las Vegas. The city and UAE in general offer a fascinating opportunity for the MGM group, he added.
The MGM CEO could not comment on the timeline of the planned casino development but he is confident MGM would end up leasing the gaming venue if things go according to plan.
Apart from Dubai, another Emirate, Ras Al Khaimah, could become home to the UAE’s first casino. MGM’s rival Wynn Resorts is involved in the ongoing development of a US$3.9 billion casino resort project there, called Wynn Al Marjan Island.
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