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.

Tags: casinos, integrated resorts, Middle East tourism, uae, wynn resorts