UAE and Wynn deal shows promise for gambling expansion
Major casinos have been working diligently in recent years to establish a presence in the Gulf region and it appears to be showing some positive results. Gambling has long been banned due to religious law, but sweeping legal reforms are signaling a more relaxed stance on a wide range of issues. This is yet another step to promote more global tourism in the region and appeal to a wider audience.
Rather surprisingly, it isn’t Dubai leading the way this time. It is Ras Al Khaimah with the creation of a Department of Entertainment and Gaming Regulation. They appear to be taking things slow and with an eye towards integrated resorts, which have less of a focus on gaming and more on a wide range of entertainment in general.
If successful, this would undoubtedly represent a significant expansion to the gaming industry.
Perhaps the most significant concern though is that the market is likely to be open to only a few of the largest corporate players. First-mover advantage is massive for companies of their size, and they won’t be keen to relinquish any control once they have it. This will ultimately result in less competition overall, but it will certainly be a major area to watch over the next few years.