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Thai gaming market extremely compelling, UAE casino still on the radar: MGM CEO

The cost of doing business in Thailand and the estimated margins make the possible future gaming market very compelling, while the UAE holds potential, notes the CEO and President of MGM Resorts International.

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.

“Thailand is interesting. Obviously, it’s fully within the government’s control and hands at this point. The dialog to date has been encouraging. We will see. The cost to do business there, the margins that could be had would be compelling, very,” William Hornbuckle said in the group’s most recent conference call.

Addressing the possibility of the development of a gaming market in Thailand, the MGM CEO expressed belief that the proposed government plans would eventually “come to fruition”.

Marsa Al Arab, Dubai, UAE. Gaming, MGM, Thailand

Possibilities in the UAE, Japan progressing

Among others, Wynn Resorts and MGM Resorts International have designs to enter a potentially lucrative gaming market in the United Arab Emirates, a Middle Eastern country of about 9 million people.

Wynn is a little further along with its $3.9 billion project, on the man-made Al Marjan Island in Ras Al Khaimah, which was first announced in early 2022.

Wynn Resorts, Marjan Islands (1)
Wynn Al Marjan

“I think there’s enough indicators there, enough work has been done to recognize that either Abu Dhabi of note, or one of the other Emirates will come to life. Wynn has a project in the ground and is waiting for national legislation and regulatory framework. So, I think that would be the most affirmative,” the MGM CEO pointed out.

MGM is developing a non-gaming resort in Dubai, the UAE’s largest city, with three hotel towers totaling 1,500 rooms branded under the Aria, MGM Grand and Bellagio names.

As for the group’s IR project in Osaka in partnership with ORIX, Horbuckle pointed out that the venture closed on the JPY530 billion ($3.4 billion) project financing for the property.

OSAKA-IR, MGM-Orix, Japan
MGM Osaka IR

“We also bought back over $500 million of shares in the quarter and as of yesterday, we’ve reduced our outstanding float to 313 million shares, 37 percent fewer than at the start of 2021.

Nelson Moura
Nelson Mourahttp://agbrief.com
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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