Skift Travel News Blog

Short stories and posts about the daily news happenings around the travel industry.


Wynn Resorts Confirms It’s Opening First Casino in UAE

2 years ago

Integrated resort operator Wynn Resorts confirmed that it would be operating a casino at its resort in Ras Al Khaimah.

The casino at Wynn Marjan would be “somewhat larger than” the operator’s flagship U.S. gaming venue – Wynn Las Vegas, CEO Craig Billings said during the earnings call on Wednesday.

Announced earlier this year, the 1000-room Wynn Marjan set to open in 2026 in Ras Al Khaimah in United Arab Emirates will feature the first casino in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region.

The United Arab Emirates adheres to strict Islamic laws, where activities like gambling are not permitted. It was not immediately clear during that time that Wynn Marjan would feature a casino.

“When you think about a market like that where you for some period of time, will be the only operator, you certainly don’t want to underbuild the casino, but you want to maintain that sense of energy,” Billings added.

Currently focused on the United Arab Emirates project and on getting that right, Billing said the projects presents a tremendous, very high return opportunity for Wynn. “That’s really the focus of our design and development efforts at the moment.”

Calling the region a “tremendous non-gaming leisure and luxury market,” Billings said Wynn Resorts strongly believes in the non-gaming elements of the market.

Wynn is in the late stages of programming for the resort and Billings said that the operator would share renderings, programming and plans more publicly in early 2023.

“Given that it’s a man-made island without any existing development, it’s an incredibly flexible location on which to plan,” he said.

In an interview with Skift earlier this year, Raki Phillips, CEO of Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority had acknowledged that the Wynn Resorts announcement is big for the emirate.

He said it would not just fuel the growth of tourism and hospitality sectors, but would also help to create employment opportunities.

Mergers and Acquisitions

MGM in Talks With Genting for Potential Purchase of Resorts World Sentosa

2 years ago

Casino-resort Genting Singapore is in talks with bidders for the purchase of Resorts World Sentosa and US-based MGM Resorts International is one of the top contenders, according to Bloomberg reports.

While MGM’s recent talks with Malaysia’s Lim family, that owns 53 percent stake in Genting Singapore, failed to yield an agreement, the Singapore-based casino operator is said to be in early-stage discussions with other potential buyers, as per Bloomberg.

As Covid outbreaks have led to a full closure of casinos in Macau — the Las Vegas of Asia, Singapore’s eased entry restrictions make it more open to international tourists.

A prospective buyer of Genting would also have to worry less about competition as Genting and Sands have an agreement with the Singapore government that limits the amount of gaming properties to the two entities, leaving Marina Bay Sands as its only competitor.

The Singapore Tourism Board had also reached an agreement in 2019 with Las Vegas Sands and Genting Singapore allowing them to significantly expand their respective integrated resorts.

Looking to decrease its dependence on Macau, where all casinos are closed and Japan very cautiously reopening to international tourists, MGM may be keen to explore other Asian destinations for its casino business.

Last year, speaking at the Skift Hospitality and Marketing Summit, William Hornbuckle, CEO and president of MGM Resorts International, had spoken about plans to expand in Asia.

Genting Singapore operates Resorts World Sentosa, an integrated resort on the Sentosa island, off the southern coast of Singapore. The key attractions at Resorts World Sentosa include a casino, the Universal Studios Singapore theme park, the Adventure Cove Waterpark, as well as the Singapore Oceanarium, which is the world’s second largest oceanarium.