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HomeIntelligenceDeep DiveUAE IR project investment could reach $900M, Thailand under analysis: Wynn CEO

UAE IR project investment could reach $900M, Thailand under analysis: Wynn CEO

Wynn Resorts’ Chief Executive Officer, Craig Billings, says the group’s Wynn Al Marjan project in the UAE should absorb almost $900 million in investment. As for Thailand, the group is “actively” considering possible greenfield development opportunities and observing the development of its future gaming regulatory framework.

The gaming operator recently revealed its first-quarter results, with Billings commenting on two of the region’s most promising future gaming markets.

“We’re observing Thailand, and we’re in the midst of constructing in the UAE,” stated Billings, emphasizing the positive outlook for the company’s EBITDAR and free cash flow.

Wynn Al Marjan Island, the first integrated gaming resort in the Middle East North Africa is set to open to the public in early 2027. Wynn’s beachfront resort is being built on an island covering almost 62 hectares extending into the Arabian Gulf.

During the conference call on the group’s earnings, Billings indicated that the total budget for the project should be around $4 billion, with Wynn’s capital contribution to reach some $900 million.

“That heavily depends on the construction leverage. So, we’re in the midst of figuring that out now. But you can figure something like 50-50 debt to equity and then we would be 40 percent of the equity,” Billings added.

Wynn Al Marjan Island
Arrival view at Wynn Al Marjan Island

In a separate comment, Wynn’s CFO, Julie Cameron-Doe, revealed that the group already contributed $70 million of equity to the Wynn Al Marjan Island project during the first quarter of the year, bringing the total equity contribution to date to approximately $160 million so far.

The full tower height, which is more than 300 meters, is expected to be topped off in the fourth quarter of 2025. The resort – described by Billings as a “meaningful high-ROI project” – will include a 15,000-square-metre shopping esplanade and a 7,500-square-metre meetings and events center, plus 1,542 rooms and suites, including 22 private villa estates.

“Construction is rapidly advancing on the project. And as of this week, we are currently constructing the fourth floor of the hotel tower. I expect we will further update you on the advances we have made on the project later this year,” Billings revealed during the conference call.

Regarding potential expansion into Thailand, Billings explained that the group is “actively considering greenfield development opportunities” in the country, but emphasized the need to understand the regulatory and licensing structures in Thailand before proceeding further.

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“Thailand is already a major tourism destination with significant tourism infrastructure and a world-class service culture, so we will continue to closely monitor the advancement of the legalization process,” the Wynn CEO noted.

“We need to understand the regulatory structure, the licensing structure, the bidding structure, etc., and if they will be consistent with other jurisdictions that are considered best-in-class. I personally think they will be based on the information that we have to date,” stated the executive.

Based on preliminary plans, the Thai government aims to issue between five to eight casino licenses. Locations in key economic zones, including the Eastern Economic Corridor and popular tourist destinations like Phuket and Chiang Mai, are prime candidates for Entertainment Complex (EC) establishments.

The Thai government’s proposal to tax gross gaming revenue (GGR) at a relatively low rate  of 17 percent, combined with plans for extensive industry development, signals a welcoming environment for investors.

In recent comments, the CEO and President of MGM Resorts International also stated that the cost of doing business in Thailand and the estimated margins make the possible future gaming market very compelling, while the UAE holds potential.

Nelson Moura
Nelson Moura
Editor and reporter with 10 years of experience in Greater China, namely Taiwan and Macau, in printed and online media, with a focus on finance, gaming, politics, crime, business and social issues.



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