Wynn Sees UAE Spend of $900M, Confirms Interest in Thailand Casino

Posted on: May 8, 2024, 10:52h. 

Last updated on: May 8, 2024, 11:01h.

Wynn Resorts (NASDAQ: WYNN) expects to contribute approximately $900 million to the Wynn Al Marjan Island integrated resort in Ras Al Khaimah, United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Wynn Resorts
Wynn and Encore on the Las Vegas Strip. The operator said it will spend $900 million in the United Arab Emirates and that it’s interested in a Thailand casino. (Image: Luxury Lifestyle Magazine)

That’s according to comments made by Craig Billings on the gaming company’s first-quarter earnings conference call late Tuesday, and that estimate is in line with the operator’s minority stake in the $4 billion project.

Budgets move here and there, but no substantial movement. Our capital contribution will be round numbers, call it, $900 million, that heavily depends on the construction leverage,” said Billings in response to a question from CBRE analyst John DeCree. “So we’re in the midst of figuring that out now. But you can figure something like 50-50 debt to equity and then we would be 40% of the equity.”

Wynn’s local partners in the UAE are Marjan LLC and RAK Hospitality Holding LLC., while Wynn Design and Development is running creative and design operations.

Wynn Making Fast Progress on UAE Casino Resort

Billings’ comments regarding Wynn’s financial commitments to the UAE  project arrived after the Las Vegas-based company said construction there is advancing rapidly and that the hotel tower could be topped off in late 2025.

Wynn Al Marjan Island could be the first casino hotel in the Middle East North Africa (MENA) region and, if it’s approved to operate a gaming venue, it could be a significant long-term earnings driver for Wynn while potentially touching off a spate of casino development in the Emirates. The property is expected to command 5.6 million square feet, but the casino would account for just 4% of that space.

Billings called Wynn Al Marjan Island “a meaningful high return on investment (ROI) project” while adding that more updates could be made public later this year. Last year, Wynn said the UAE endeavor can generate up to $600 million in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) — a forecast that’s not been altered.

Additionally, gaming won’t be the centerpiece of the integrated resort. Dubai, which is located just an hour away from Al Marjan Island, is one of the most visited parts of the Middle East, and the tourists that flock to the emirate embrace high-end dining options, luxury retail, and other glitzy amenities, all of which are synonymous with Wynn’s Las Vegas properties.

Wynn Interested in Thailand, Too

Against the backdrop of a rapidly evolving regulatory process in Thailand, Billings confirmed Wynn is monitoring that situation and could eventually make a play to open a casino resort in the Southeast Asian country.

In Thailand, it’s early days and we have yet to see the regulatory and licensing structures,” said the Wynn chief executive officer on the earnings call. “Thailand is already a major tourism destination with significant tourism infrastructure and a world-class service culture. So we will continue to closely monitor advancement of the legalization process. I remain incredibly bullish about the future of our company.”

Billings added that Thailand is a compelling market with sound infrastructure and a robust tourism industry while acknowledging a variety of gaming companies could pursue casino licenses there.