The emirates of Ras Al Khaimah and Abu Dhabi will push ahead with plans to open casinos in the UAE after Dubai reportedly pulled out of the race, Bloomberg reported.
The UAE has recently taken a decisive step towards the legalisation of gaming in the country by creating a General Commercial Gaming Regulatory Authority headed by Jim Murren, former chairman of the American Gaming Association and CEO of MGM Resorts.
Under the current proposal, the central government could grant a single casino licence to each of the seven emirates, if the jurisdiction wants to open up to gambling
A 2023 report by Bloomberg Intelligence estimates that the UAE could generate up to $6.6bn in gambling revenue annually, potentially surpassing Singapore.
Now, according to Bloomberg, Abu Dhabi is currently looking at potential sites for such an integrated resort, with two of the main options being Yas Island, already home to many entertainment offerings, and a site close to the port.
As for Ras Al Khaimah, gaming operator Wynn Resorts has already announced in 2022 its plan to establish an IR with a casino in this emirate, with preliminary construction work beginning on Wynn Al Marjan Island, with the property set to open in 2027.
However, Bloomberg cited sources which indicated that senior government officials in Dubai currently don’t believe that a casino is necessary, since the city is already a large tourism hub in itself.
Source: Asia Gaming Brief