Bill Hornbuckle, CEO of MGM Resorts International, remains optimistic about the UAE’s potential to emerge as a leading casino resort destination. Speaking at the Global Gaming Expo (G2E) in Las Vegas on October 12, 2023, Hornbuckle revealed that the company’s proposed project in Dubai awaits the green signal from Emirati officials.

MGM Resorts’ ambitious vision for Dubai, in collaboration with Wasl Asset Management Group, encompasses a sprawling flexible space of over 150,000 square feet on a 25-acre man-made island. The elaborate blueprint includes three hotel towers with 1,500 rooms, branded under the iconic Aria, MGM Grand, and Bellagio names.

Hornbuckle’s optimism is fueled by the UAE’s recent progressive move towards endorsing gaming within its borders, as symbolized by the inauguration of the General Commercial Gaming Regulatory Authority (GCGRA) headed by Jim Murren, former MGM Resorts International CEO.

A comprehensive 2023 study by Bloomberg Intelligence predicts that the UAE could amass a staggering $6.6 billion annually from gambling revenues, potentially surpassing Singapore.

Hornbuckle reiterated MGM’s steadfast commitment and rapport with Dubai, emphasizing their flexibility and adaptability in response to the evolving landscape. “The possibility of introducing our top-tier entertainment and hospitality to the UAE truly excites us. We’re collaboratively aligning our vision with our local partners and the government to concoct a resort that resonates with the locals while drawing international visitors.”

Further fueling the UAE’s transformation in the entertainment and tourism sector, Wynn Resorts had previously announced its ambitious undertaking of setting up an integrated resort, complete with a casino, in Ras al-Khaimah. Dubbed the “Wynn Al Marjan Island”, groundwork has been initiated, with its grand reveal planned for 2027.

The legalization of gaming in the UAE marks a monumental shift in the global gaming arena. With the UAE’s reputation of affluence, youthful demographic, and an enviable spot on the global tourism map, the advent of casino resorts promises not only to lure international big spenders but also to generate immense employment opportunities.

In addition to the economic benefits, the legalization of gaming in the UAE could also lead to a more diversified and vibrant tourism sector. With the addition of casino resorts, the UAE could attract a wider range of visitors, including those seeking a more luxurious and sophisticated vacation experience.

Overall, the legalization of gaming in the UAE is a positive development for the country and the global gaming industry. It is a move that is likely to have a significant impact on the UAE’s economy, tourism sector, and overall entertainment landscape.

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