The master developer of Ras Al Khaimah's Marjan Island said gaming activities will be only one of many elements of a multibillion-dollar mega resort planned to open in 2026.
Las Vegas hotel operator Wynn is to open the 1,000-room hotel by 2026 and it will feature at least 10 restaurants, a large convention centre and gaming area.
RAK tourism chiefs and Wynn declined provide any further clarity on what constitutes a gaming area, but Marjan said this element would adhere to "cultural norms".
"Gaming is a responsible form of entertainment and leisure tourism that takes into consideration community, cultural and social norms," a spokesperson for Marjan said.
Wynn and RAK Tourism have declined to say what “gaming” entails.
It is a term widely used for gambling in the US but it is unclear what the term refers to. Gambling is not permitted in the Emirates and it is not yet clear if a change in the law would be needed if it was introduced. The country allows prize draws, in which people buy a ticket to win a jackpot.
"Gaming is only one of the many elements of the resort, which will also include [a] 1,000 room hotel, 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," the spokesperson said.
"What differentiates us is that we are developing a total resort experience that is integrated in every sense. This project will create opportunities across numerous sectors, adding value to the economy, creating new jobs and strengthening the emirate’s service infrastructure.”
The hotel will need to apply for a special licence from the emirate to operate.
The resort announcement came on the same day that Ras Al Khaimah Tourism and Development Authority (RAKTDA) 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.
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 new resort is still in the design and development stage, while an integrated resort licence will be applied for from RAKTDA.
Marjan, meanwhile, is a manmade cluster of four islands extending 4.5 kilometres into the Arabian Gulf and underpins Ras Al Khaimah's efforts to draw more tourists to the emirate.