New 'Las Vegas' Being Built in Dubai

New 'Las Vegas' Being Built in Dubai

New 'Las Vegas' Being Built in Dubai

Plans to legalize gambling in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are underway, alongside the construction of a new 'Las Vegas' in the region. A massive $4 billion resort and casino by a major Las Vegas casino company is set to rise on the Marjan Islands, with completion expected by 2027.

Wynn Resorts' $4 Billion Investment
Wynn Resorts, a prominent Las Vegas casino operator, is leading the charge with its $4 billion project in the UAE. The area is bustling with activity, filled with workers building five-star resorts, shops, and villas on the artificial yet long-unused Marjan Islands in the emirate of Ras Al Khaimah (RAK).

Development on Marjan Islands
The Marjan Islands, spanning 2.7 square kilometers, are currently home to projects by at least 20 developers at various stages of completion. The islands, which are half the size of Dubai’s famous Palm Jumeirah and completed in 2013, are undergoing extensive development with a projected total cost in the billions of dollars.

Highlighting the Casino Project
RAK's small international airport is also planning to increase its capacity to handle 2 million passengers annually by 2027. However, the most notable aspect of the development is the casino. Wynn's resort and casino project will feature 1,500 rooms and is scheduled to open in 2027. The casino is expected to significantly boost tourism in the RAK region.

Legal and Cultural Shifts
Currently, gambling is illegal in the UAE under Sharia law, which imposes fines or up to two years in prison for offenders. Apart from Lebanon and Egypt, gambling is rare in the Arab world, and none of the six Gulf Cooperation Council countries have casinos. The UAE has formed a commission to legalize gambling, but no law has been enacted so far.

Creating the 'Vegas of the Gulf'
Khalid Bin Kalban, CEO of Dubai Investments PJSC, remarked that Wynn’s casino and resort is a game-changer for Marjan. The expectation is that RAK's tourism will grow rapidly with the casino's presence, essentially bringing a mini Las Vegas to Ras Al Khaimah.

Future Development Plans
In Marjan, a total of 9,000 hotel rooms and an equal number of homes are planned. Currently, the islands have six hotels with a combined total of 3,052 rooms and about 3,000 homes. Marjan Island is described as a getaway from the hustle and bustle of Dubai or Abu Dhabi, where alcohol is legal, and it attracts mainly Russian and Chinese tourists.

The construction of a new 'Las Vegas' in Dubai marks a significant development for the UAE. With the potential legalization of gambling and major investments like the Wynn Resorts project, the Marjan Islands are set to become a major tourist destination, transforming the region’s economic landscape and attracting a global audience.