Wynn’s $2B UAE Casino Resort Offers ‘Brand Extension’

A $2 billion integrated casino resort in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is one of the key priorities for Wynn Resorts as the company seeks to extend its brand worldwide according to Wynn Resorts CEO Craig Billings.

Billings, who is now over six months into the position of chief executive officer at the casino resort operator, also discussed company plans related to interactive gaming,  the next steps in Las Vegas and Boston, and the rate of recovery of the gambling industry in Macau in an interview at Wynn Resorts corporate office in Las Vegas.

Integrated Resort in the UAE

Asked about the $2 billion integrated casino resort project Wynn Resorts announced it would build on the man-made Al Marjan Island in Ras Al Khaimah in the UAE, Billings outlined the potential of the destination as it puts the Wynn brand within an eight-hour flight for 95% of the world’s population.

The integrated resort that is planned to open in 2026 will benefit from the modernization and progression in the UAE where the Dubai airport alone sees more than 80 million passengers annually, Billings stated, outlining that inbound visitations from Europe, the Middle East, India, and other surrounding countries give the company reasons to believe the business there will be robust and will provide a “real extension” of the Wynn Resorts brand.

On top of that, Wynn Resorts will remain the only gaming destination in the area in the foreseeable future and the people there “do things with intention” and Ras Al Khaimah offers plenty of other opportunities beyond gaming, Billings added.

In May, Wynn Resorts and its consortium partners, RAK Hospitality and Marjan, selected HKS Architects as the design consultant for the integrated resort to ensure that the resort design fits well with the modern architecture of the area.

Interactive Gaming

On the subject of interactive gaming, Billings explained that the company’s next opportunity is in Massachusetts where sports betting legislation is in its final stages and where Wynn Resorts will be active from day one as it has the land-based facility, Encore Boston Harbor, to bolster the business.

He also mentioned the opportunity in California where Wynn Resorts is part of the group of sports betting operators proposing mobile and retail sports betting.

The state is important due to its proximity to Las Vegas, Billings noted, pointing to in-person registration and in-person deposits as the major reasons why the WynnBet mobile app is not available in Nevada as they would place the company at a disadvantage to its competitors and hinder its ability to scale the business.

Wynn Las Vegas and Encore Boston Harbor

Asked about the company’s plans related to the empty land it owns across the Las Vegas Strip, Billings responded that the opportunity is there but it is a “question of timing” as plenty of other factors potentially weigh on the cost and demand, outlining that Wynn Resorts is having something else in mind.

As for the Expansion project at Encore Boston Harbor, Billings said that the recent acquisition of 11 acres of adjacent land will be used to build a parking garage, a theater and some food and beverage venues, but the most important is the parking as at peak Encore does not have enough parking spaces.

Billings was also asked to share his opinion on the recovery of the gaming industry in Macau and he stated that the market would be undergoing significant changes which will result in changes to the nature of visitation and the nature of the consumer with an emphasis on leisure and retail, but the destination will retain its long-term prospects.

Recently, Wynn Resorts provided its Wynn Macau subsidiary with a $500 million loan to help it recover from the impact of the pandemic. Also as part of the measures, members of the management team at Wynn Macau agreed to exchange part of their salaries for stock.

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