MGM Resorts International CEO Bill Hornbuckle expressed optimism that the United Arab Emirates (UAE) would become a hub for casino resorts and pointed out that the group’s project is awaiting a nod from the Emirati authorities.
According to Gambling News, in a speech at the Global Gaming Expo (G2E) in Las Vegas, Hornbuckle stated that the group’s project in Dubai, in partnership with the Wasl Asset Management Group, is being designed with a flexible space of 150,000 square feet, awaiting approval from the UAE leadership.
The Wasl Asset Management Group, is one of the largest real estate development and management companies in Dubai.
The 25-acre resort development is being projected on a man-made island in the emirate and is set to include three hotel towers totaling 1,500 rooms, branded under the Aria, MGM Grand and Bellagio names.
The UAE has recently taken a decisive step towards the legalization of gaming in the country by creating a General Commercial Gaming Regulatory Authority (GCGRA) headed by Jim Murren, former chairman of the American Gaming Association and late CEO of MGM Resorts International.
A 2023 report by Bloomberg Intelligence estimates that the UAE could generate up to $6.6 billion in gambling revenue annually, potentially surpassing Singapore.
Hornbuckle stated he was optimistic about the future, highlighting MGM’s longstanding relationship with Dubai and the company’s readiness to adapt to various scenarios, including equity investments or outright leasing of gaming venues.
Gaming operator Wynn Resorts also announced in 2022 its plan to establish an integrated resort (IR) with a casino in the emirate of Ras al-Khaimah. Preliminary construction work has begun on Wynn Al Marjan Island, which is set to open in 2027.