UAE Opening Up To Gambling With New Wynn Resorts Project
- UAE expected to open first gaming facility in Ras Al Khaimah
- Wynn Resorts selected to construct resort with gaming facilities
- Will the UAE permit more gambling facilities in the coming months?
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) does not casinos of any kind as gambling is forbidden based on Islamic laws. However, it appears the UAE might be willing to make an exception as an official announcement was made regarding the development of a new resort that will feature gaming facilities.
Ras Al Khaimah Tourism and Development Authority (RAKTDA) announced that there are plans to develop a multi-million dollar resort on Al Marjan Island in Ras Al Khaimah. RAKTDA confirmed that Las Vegas casino operator Wynn Resorts has been selected to develop their resort that will feature gaming facilities. There was no further explanation given as to what gaming facilities will be present at the resort.
RAKTDA released a statement and confirmed that the department of entertainment and gaming regulation will oversee the resort and all operations which include convention space, non-gaming, gaming, hotels, restaurants and spas. The regulator will also be responsible for determining and monitoring the social, environmental and cultural impact that this project will have both short term and long term.
Unofficial reports suggest that RAKTDA will follow similar gaming regulations that Singapore has imposed on its gaming market. The plan is to have two separate gaming tax rates with premium gaming being subjected to a 5 percent tax and mass gaming being subjected to a 15 percent tax.
Wynn Resorts CEO Craig Billings confirmed that the company was working together with RAKTDA to develop a unique project in the UAE. This will the first venture for Wynn Resorts in the Middle East and Billings is excited about the opportunity. He said Ras Al Khaimah has tremendous potential and Wynn Resorts was looking forward to create a world class integrated resort on the island.
Al Marjan Island consists of a set of four islands and is already a popular tourist destination. The addition of an integrated resort will significantly boost tourism to the island. As of now, there is no indication as which of the four islands will host the integrated resort.
Will The UAE Allow Gambling?
The big question is whether this will be a one-off gaming project or will the UAE be more open to gambling despite its Islamic laws.
As of now it looks like the UAE will test the waters with this project and then take a call on whether more gaming facilities will be allowed.