Wynn Making Progress on UAE Build, Tower Could Be Finished in Late 2025

Posted on: May 7, 2024, 03:00h. 

Last updated on: May 8, 2024, 10:18h.

Wynn Resorts (NASDAQ: WYNN) provided an update on its Wynn Al Marjan Island integrated in Ras Al Khaimah, United Arab Emirates (UAE), noting that the 300-meter-tall resort tower could be topped off in the fourth quarter of 2025.

Wynn UAE
Construction at Wynn Al Marjan Island. The operator believes the hotel there will be finished by late 2025. (Image: Wynn Resorts)

Construction of the property, which is expected to include the first casino in the Middle East, started last year. The casino hotel is slated to open in early 2027. The property on Al-Marjan Island is being developed with local partners Marjan LLC and RAK Hospitality Holding LLC. Wynn Design and Development, Wynn’s in-house architectural team, is overseeing creative and design elements of the project.

“It (Wynn Al Marjan Island) will feature 1,542 rooms and well-appointed suites, including 22 opulent and private Villa Estates situated on the newly designed marina adjacent to the resort. There will also be an extensive poolscape adjacent to the beach with multiple swimming and wading pools, water features, private cabanas, and tropical landscaping covering 3.6 hectares,” according to a statement issued by the gaming company.

The project is estimated to cost $4 billion, but Wynn is a minority investor in the plan, meaning it’s not obligated to cover all of those expenditures.

Wynn Still Waiting on UAE Casino Approval

While progress is being made on Wynn Al Marjan Island, the UAE still hasn’t officially approved casino gaming or related regulations.

Last September, the General Commercial Gaming Regulatory Authority (GCGRA) was formed as the UAE’s first gaming regulator. Entering 2024, it was hoped that the regulatory body led by former MGM Resorts International (NYSE: MGM) CEO Jim Murren would unveil casino gaming guidelines at some point this year.

For its part, Wynn is cognizant of the fact that many countries in the Arab world take hard lines against wagering, and to that end, gaming isn’t the centerpiece of Wynn Al Marjan Island. The property is expected to encompass 5.6 million square feet. If permitted, a casino will only account for 4% of that space. The operator appears to be focusing on nongaming amenities as the foundation for its UAE resort.

“The resort will also include a 15,000-square-meter shopping esplanade filled with the world’s top luxury boutiques, a five-star spa, and a salon. The 7,500-square-meter meetings and events center has been designed to accommodate meetings, conventions, and special celebrations such as weddings. There will also be ample outdoor event terraces and lawns,” according to the statement.

Wynn Sees Growth Opportunities in UAE

Wynn’s casino portfolio currently consists of three venues in the US, two of which are on the Las Vegas Strip, and a pair of integrated resorts in Macau. Like its rivals, the operator is looking for new growth frontiers, both at home and abroad.

Such locations, particularly those where high-end resorts such as those developed by Wynn are good fits, are hard to come by. However, the UAE checks that box and that’s one reason why Wynn and its rivals are keen on the Emirates.

“Ras Al Khaimah is one of the fastest growing tourism markets in the MENA region, conveniently located near the Ras Al Khaimah, Dubai, and Abu Dhabi airports,” concluded the operator in the statement. “Comprised of four islands, Al Marjan Island delights visitors with nearly five miles of sparkling beaches and 24 kilometers of waterfront, in addition to world-class hotels and residential developments.”