The American hotel and casino operator Wynn Resorts Ltd shared expectations to soon be granted a gambling license in Ras Al Khaimah, a northern part of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in close proximity to Dubai. The announcement has raised market analysts’ hopes that everyone could see the first casino resort in the Gulf region in the near future.
On an earnings call that took place earlier today, the Chief Executive Officer of Wynn Resorts, Craig Billings, confirmed that the construction of the gambling giant’s $3.9-billion gaming resort is currently underway at the man-made Al Marjan island of Ras Al Khaimah. So far, there has been no clarity about whether the United Arab Emirates will officially make gambling legal for the entire country but Mr. Billings noted that did not worry the company.
According to Wynn Resorts’ boss, the fact that a broader legalization process needs to occur in the country in order for gambling to be permitted on the company’s property should not be considered concerning. Mr. Billings believes that while other emirates may launch discussions about gambling legalization or legalization of gambling services may be considered at the federal level, the American hotel and casino giant would be able to imminently get the much-desired license for Ras Al Khaimah.
The Wynn Resorts’ boss also described the UAE as “the most exciting new gaming market” on a global scale in decades. He further explained that the project, in which the American gambling and casino operator holds equity ownership of 40%, is expected to drive an excellent return on investment for the company’s shareholders.
Gambling Could Become a Prominent Industry in the UAE, Analysts Say
In its earning call that took place earlier on August 10th, Wynn Resorts revealed that its EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization) for the quarter that ended on June 30th, totalled $524 million. In comparison, the hotel and gambling giant’s EBITDA for the same quarter in 2019 amounted to $480 million. The strong increase in the company’s financial results was helped by the ongoing strong recovery in the special administrative region of Macau, which accounted for a profit of $246 million in the three months to the end of June and managed to return to 72% of the pre-Covid-19 levels.
According to media reports, some early discussions regarding the proposed legalization of gambling services have been taking place in the United Arab Emirates, with some gambling operators having already held informal talks with local authorities. Currently, an international law firm is known for drafting a policy that could be used by the country’s authorities at the federal level, but it is still unclear who commissioned the task.
For the time being, there are still a lot of uncertainties, especially considering the fact that Government officials have already noted that the UAE have no imminent plans to make gambling legal in the country. A representative for the Government of Dubai noted that the proposed gambling legalization was a matter that should be considered by the federal authorities.
Market analysts have projected that gambling could generate an annual revenue of as much as $6.6 billion, if it is eventually made legal in the United Arab Emirates.