First Gambling License Awarded in the UAE to Wynn, Construction Announced

Published November 15, 2022 by Lee R

First Gambling License Awarded in the UAE to Wynn, Construction Announced

The UAE is historically allowing the first inkling of casino projects.

Casino empire Wynn is introducing the first casino to the United Arab Emirates.

The Project Details

The casino will be built on an artificial island off the coast of the Ras Al Khaimah RAK Emirate and open in 2026.

The Permission

The construction takes place by virtue of the granting of Wynn Resorts with the January permission to build a resort “with gaming.”


Wynn CEO Craig Billings confirmed the construction of the casino this week, concluding UAE’s long-standing prohibition on building casinos. 


The Wynn Marjan will be the only casino in the UAE, which Billings predicted to "shape up to be somewhat larger than Wynn Las Vegas."

Covering an estimated 18,500 square meters to almost double the size of Wynn’s Las Vegas site, the $2 billion casino project will become one of the 10 biggest casinos in the world.

Wynn CEO Speaks

Billings expanded on the importance of momentum in the project: 

When you think about a market like that where you are, for some period of time, the only operator, you certainly don’t want to under-build the casino, but you want to maintain that sense of energy.

Emerging UAE Projects

RAK is one of the least known of the UAE’s seven total emirates, with another project emerging in the neighbouring emirate of the well-known Dubai. Casino giant Caesars Palace has built a resort in Dubai, but as yet without a casino, while MGM Resorts is constructing an additional resort.

The New UAE Market Landscape

These two resort projects are conjectured to eventually emerge as competitors to Wynn in the UAE’s future gambling market. 

The Regulation Model

To accommodate its new gaming market, RAK is writing gaming laws based on Singaporean and US models. 

The Importance to Wynn

Billings called the project a high priority for the Wynn organisation due to its “very high return opportunity." 

Future Visitors

As for patronage, Billings pointed out:

The UAE is already a substantial destination for not only the region but for Europe, for Brits, for Germans, for folks from all over the place. So this is a significant customer acquisition opportunity and a really material extension of our brand.

Billings estimates that "95 percent of the world’s population will be within an eight-hour flight of a Wynn Resorts property” after the new casino opens.

Governing Bodies

RAK’s tourism development authority has created a division for regulating integrated resorts, with a new Department of Entertainment and Gaming Regulation regulating procedures.  


The Wynn project paves the way for licensed gaming in the highly liquid Dubai region and must be considered a major industry breakthrough.


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