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Las Vegas’s Wynn Resorts confirms Gulf’s first casino in RAK

Wynn's CEO confirmed that the planned casino in RAK will be even bigger than its 110,000sq ft site in Las Vegas Creative Commons
Wynn's CEO confirmed that the planned casino in RAK will be even bigger than its 110,000sq ft site in Las Vegas
  • Casino will be part of multibillion-dollar resort on Marjan Island
  • Gambling is currently banned across the UAE
  • RAK plans to double its number of hotel rooms by 2025

Las Vegas’s Wynn Resorts will build a casino within its hotel complex on Ras Al Khaimah’s Marjan Island, the company’s CEO confirmed in an analysts call this week.

Wynn announced plans back in January for the multibillion-dollar resort, which it said would be completed by 2026 and feature more than 1,000 rooms, a shopping mall, conference facilities, spa and over 10 restaurants and lounges, plus what it referred to as a “gaming area”. 

This wording sparked speculation that the casino owner would have Las Vegas-style gambling facilities at the complex in Ras Al Khaimah, one of seven emirates in the UAE, a country where gambling is banned. 

Wynn’s CEO Craig Billings has now confirmed this would be the case. 

“The casino component, where at least for some period of time we will be operating on our own, which makes it quite exciting, is shaping up to be somewhat larger than Wynn Las Vegas,” said Billings. 

The casinos at Wynn’s Las Vegas Casino & Resort span 110,000sq ft (10,219sq m). 

“When you think about a market like that where you for some period of time will be the only operator, you certainly don’t want to under-build the casino, but you want to maintain that sense of energy,” added Billings. 

Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA) declined to comment. 

When asked by AGBI in June whether Wynn’s reference to a “gaming area” meant a casino in the traditional sense, RAKTDA’s CEO Raki Phillips was non-committal, saying: “We’ve got four years to figure out what that is.

“So, I think, rather than rush into something that might change, or we might not be sure what it is, we need to study things to make sure we do things the right way.”

Ras Al Khaimah has enjoyed mixed results in its efforts to expand its tourism sector. A Real Madrid resort island was scrapped in 2013, although the emirate has a target to double its number of hotel rooms by 2025. 

AGBI has asked the RAK Media Office for comment.

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