Wynn Resorts has achieved something very few casino operators can achieve. It will soon start building a new resort – with gambling – in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Gambling isn’t something that has received a lot of favor in the seven emirates that comprise the UAE. There were casinos decades ago, but those have all since been removed. The closest thing now is a Caesars resort in Dubai. However, it doesn’t offer any gambling. A few US-based casino operators, such as MGM Resorts, are also working on projects in the emirate.
But this is going to change within a few short years. Wynn Resorts has worked out a deal with one of the emirates to build a resort, including a casino. Ras al-Khaimah has agreed to allow a Wynn-run casino, according to the Associated Press (AP).
The AP points out that the word “casino” doesn’t appear in the announcement made by Wynn and the emirate. However, a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission highlights “the development and subsequent management of an integrated resort (IR).”
The emirate added in a statement referred to gaming and adherence to “financial crime laws.” This was a reference to the rules of the new Department of Entertainment and Gaming Regulation. The division is part of the Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA) and will be responsible for regulating IRs in the emirate.
Attracting New International Tourism
Wynn says the property will be open to the public by 2026. It will be built on Al-Marjan Island. This is a man-made island less than 30 minutes from Dubai. It will host a hotel with 1,000 rooms, a convention center, eateries, a shopping center and the “gaming area.”
The price of the development hasn’t been revealed.
Wynn could offset some of the expense if it finds a buyer for its Wynn Interactive operations quickly. However, it may decide not to move forward with the sale.
UAE Looks for New Global Image
The project’s goal is to increase and attract international tourism. The UAE has introduced a number of changes over the past year that may attract more international clientele.
Among the changes is the lifting of restrictions on alcohol consumption, as well as the decriminalization of premarital sex. No longer will foreigners be put in jail just over a public kiss.
This country allows civil marriage, not only marriage under Islamic law. This practice is still unavailable in many Middle East countries. Foreigners can also follow the laws of their home country on certain matters, such as inheritance or divorce.
In the UAE, Arab women must wear a burkha (or hijab) and cover their heads in a scarf or shaila. But, foreign women don’t have to adhere to the same rules and there are no established guidelines.
Foreigners can now start their own business without Emirati partners, thanks to the new financial laws. Also, there are changes in employment laws that regulate working hours. The work week for public sector workers was cut to just four and a quarter days as of the beginning of the year. The weekend will run from Friday afternoon until Sunday.
One of the big reasons the UAE has become attractive is because there is no tax on income. A value-added tax of 5% exists, but no tax on income is a huge plus for many.
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