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Explained: UAE's RAK to build integrated resort with 'gaming area'

Project on Al Marjan Island will mark the first by casino giant Wynn Resorts in the Mena region



Al Marjan Island, Ras Al Khaimah. Photo: Supplied
Al Marjan Island, Ras Al Khaimah. Photo: Supplied

By A Staff Reporter

Published: Wed 26 Jan 2022, 12:35 PM

Last updated: Wed 26 Jan 2022, 2:21 PM

Come 2026, a manmade island in the UAE would welcome guests to a multibillion-dollar ‘integrated resort’. The project on Ras Al Khaimah’s Al Marjan Island will mark the first by casino giant Wynn Resorts in the Middle East and North Africa region.

The first beach development by the US-based Wynn Resorts will feature 1,000 rooms, a shopping mall, a meeting and convention facility, a spa, more than 10 restaurants and lounges and entertainment choices. It will also feature what is being called a “gaming area”.

Here is all you need to know:

Who is the operator behind the new project?

Founded in 2002, the company is an operator of high-end hotels and casinos. It has designed, owns and operates Wynn Las Vegas, Encore Boston Harbor, Wynn Macau and Wynn Palace, Cotai.

How is Wynn involved in the project coming up on Marjan Island?

Marjan, RAK Hospitality Holding and Wynn Resorts jointly announced the project on Tuesday.

The integrated resort will be developed with “significant foreign direct investment” by Wynn Resorts.

What is an integrated resort?

Such projects are usually large-scale developments and feature multiple amenities like accommodation, retail, dining, entertainment and gaming, including casinos. It’s not immediately clear if the project on Al Marjan Island will feature a casino as authorities are yet to explain the nature of the gaming area that will be part of the resort.

According to a Press release, the resort will feature these: “1,000+ room hotel, high-end shopping mall, a state-of-the-art meeting and convention facility, an exclusive spa, more than 10 restaurants and lounges, a wide array of entertainment choices, a gaming area, and other amenities.”

Does Ras Al Khaimah offer an integrated resort licence?

The Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA) has formed a new division focused on regulating integrated resorts. These include hotel operations, convention space, entertainment, restaurants and lounges, spa, retail and gaming facilities.

What will this new division do?

The Department of Entertainment and Gaming Regulation within RAKTDA will consider the social, cultural, and environmental landscape of the Emirate and cover licensing, taxation, operational procedures, and consumer safeguards. The foremost priority is to “create a robust framework that will ensure responsible gaming at all levels”.

“The regulatory structure will address the entire gaming enterprise within integrated resorts, requiring compliance with all applicable laws and regulations (including financial crime laws) from operators, suppliers and employees. Additionally, the regulations will cover marketing, advertising, and financial transactions,” the RAKTDA said.

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Where is the resort coming up?

It will be built on an “exclusive island” that covers an area of almost 250,000 sqm. It will offer spectacular views of the Arabian Gulf as well as sandy beaches and a marina.

Has construction on the project started?

The new resort is in the initial stages of design and development and will be applying for an integrated resort licence from the RAKTDA.

sahim@khaleejtimes.com


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