Rumors claim that the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is considering casino gaming. This would be big news in the gambling industry, though some aren’t convinced the rumor holds water. Either way, Caesars Entertainment is clear that it’s evaluating the possibility of a dedicated casino in Dubai.
Caesars Bluewaters Dubai is already in operation, but functions without casino services. Should the rumors prove true the venue would transition to a gaming establishment. The regional president at Caesars Palace Anthony Costa weighed in on the situation. He made it clear that a casino in Dubai is being considered.
Costa’s statement comes just months after Wynn Resorts made a big move of its own. The mega-corporation has committed to building a multi-billion dollar resort on Al-Marjan. Al-Marjan is smaller than the seven emirates, but the project still holds enormous potential.
A Wonderful Opportunity
Costa continued that many believe the possibility of gambling in the UAE is real. He elaborated that it isn’t clear in what form gaming will be allowed. What he is certain of is that companies like MGM and Caesars are already looking very closely at the situation. He concluded that the possibilities are wonderful.
Caesars has been in Dubai since 2018. At the time a company spokesperson made it clear that the corporation is willing to license its brands. This means that The LINQ, The Cromwell, Flamingo, and Caesars Palace may all also soon appear in the region.
Meanwhile MGM Resorts International is also busy. A major MGM project is under construction in Dubai, though also won’t be offering any gaming. If gambling ever did become legal there is no question that both resorts would jump at the chance.
The Biggest Untapped Market
The UAE is considered to be the biggest untapped global market. Other markets like the United States and Macau are already saturated. This means that the biggest gambling corporations are in need of a new playing field. All have their eyes on the UAE. If the region did soften its regulations the response would be explosive.
The Wynn on Al-Marjan will offer gaming, and early projections suggest a 20% return on investment. A similar venue in Dubai is estimated to do a great deal better. So if the number at the new Wynn turns out to be high it could be the needed transformational spark.
A Big Tourism Boost on the Horizon
If the UAE ever does legalize gambling the Singapore model will likely be followed. Singapore is home to 2 resorts, with a focus on drawing tourists. If locals do enter a Singapore gaming premises they are charged an upfront fee. In short legalized gambling is a major boon for the state.
This model could be very appealing to the UAE. Not only is tourism a big part of the economy but 90% of the population is foreigners. This means that even a foreigners-only policy would do little to stifle business.
This latest news also seems to be a change of heart for Caesars. It wasn’t long ago that the company seemed sour on the idea of international expansion. In 2019, Tom Reeg declared that an international opportunity would have to be stupendous to warrant investment. Now just a few years later Dubai is firmly being evaluated. Perhaps this was the stupendous opportunity that Reeg was referring to.