Las Vegas hotel operator Wynn to build 1,000-room resort in Ras Al Khaimah

Emirate's tourism authority sets up new division to regulate 'gaming facilities'

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Latest: Gaming 'just one element' of new RAK mega resort says developer

Ras Al Khaimah will open a multibillion-dollar resort on Marjan Island with Las Vegas hotel operator Wynn Resorts.

The development is set to open in 2026 and will have 1,000 rooms, at least 10 restaurants and a large convention centre.

The resort will also include a “gaming area”, according to a statement announcing the opening. Wynn is best known for its casino hotel resorts in Las Vegas, Boston and Macau.

The department of entertainment and gaming regulation will consider the social, cultural, and environmental landscape of the emirate and cover licensing, taxation, operational procedures and consumer safeguards
Ras Al Khaimah Tourism and Development Authority

Tourism chiefs have formed a new division to regulate “integrated resorts” and ensure “responsible gaming at all levels” in the emirate. The Wynn hotel will be one of these integrated resorts.

The Ras Al Khaimah Tourism and Development Authority (RAKTDA) said the “department of entertainment and gaming regulation” will oversee “hotel operations, convention space, entertainment, restaurants and lounges, spa, retail and gaming facilities” in these resorts.

“The department of entertainment and gaming regulation within RAKTDA will consider the social, cultural, and environmental landscape of the emirate and cover licensing, taxation, operational procedures and consumer safeguards,” it said.

“The foremost priority of this new division is to create a robust framework that will ensure … the regulatory structure will address the entire gaming enterprise within integrated resorts, requiring compliance with all applicable laws and regulations [including financial crime laws] from operators, suppliers and employees.”

Marjan Island is a development of four reclaimed islands with more than 7.8 kilometres of pristine beaches and 23km of waterfront, in addition to world-class hotels and residential developments.

With 1,000 rooms, the Wynn hotel would be the third largest in the country, after Dubai's JW Marriott Marquis with 1,600 rooms and Atlantis The Palm with about 1,500.

“Al Marjan Island is a pristine setting and an ideal greenfield location for us to create the one-of-a-kind guest experiences for which Wynn Resorts is renown,” said Craig Billings, chief executive of Wynn Resorts.

“The region offers tremendous potential for the hospitality and tourism industry, and we are excited about the prospect of developing an integrated resort in Ras Al Khaimah.”

Marjan, meanwhile, said "gaming is a responsible form of entertainment and leisure tourism that takes into consideration community, cultural and social norms". However, it did not define what gaming meant.

"Gaming is only one of the many elements of the resort, which will also include a 1,000 plus room hotel, a high-end shopping mall, a state-of-the-art meeting and convention facility, an exclusive spa, more than 10 restaurants and lounges, a wide array of entertainment choices and other amenities," a Marjan representative said.

It has yet to be known on which of the four islands the hotel will be built.

“The integrated development, featuring a world-class hotel, entertainment and gaming amenities, will add to the emirate’s destination strategy to attract tourists from across the world,” said Abdulla Al Abdooli, chief executive of Marjan.

“We are partnering with Wynn Resorts, one of the world’s most renowned integrated resort companies, which has a strong track record of developing luxury destinations with exceptional accommodation, dining, entertainment concepts and gaming facilities.”

The new resort is in the initial stages of design and development and an integrated resort licence will be applied for from RAKTDA.

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Updated: January 26, 2022, 8:25 AM