Caesars Entertainment reviews casino opportunities in Dubai

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Posted on: Apr 13, 2022 8:04 am.

Last updated on: April 13, 2022, 08:25.

Speculation is mounting, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is warming to the idea of ​​allowing casino gaming. That could prompt Caesars Entertainment to explore opportunities in Dubai, where it currently operates a non-gaming hotel.

Caesar's Dubai
Caesar’s Bluewaters Dubai. The gaming company is interested in bringing casinos to its facilities in the United Arab Emirates. (Picture: Time out Dubai)

Anthony Costa, regional president at Caesars Palace, said Reuters The Company will evaluate potential gambling opportunities in Dubai. The comments come just months after Wynn Resorts announced plans to build an integrated resort on Al-Marjan Island in Ras Al Khaimah – one of the smaller of the seven emirates.

This acceptance now that there will be the potential for gambling, in whatever form, in the United Arab Emirates is allowing the likes of Caesar’s and MGM to take a close look. Costa tells Reuters. “I think it’s wonderful.”

Caesars Palace opened in Dubai in 2018, but the venue is not currently hosting any games. It also operates Caesars Bluewaters Dubai. In 2018, Caesars announced it would license four of its brands — Caesars Palace, Flamingo, The Cromwell, and The LINQ — to real estate companies interested in using those brands around the world.

Not far from Caesars Palace Dubai, MGM Resorts International is building a hotel. But the giant from the Las Vegas Strip told Reuters Gaming is not part of the planning for the venue.

The UAE could be the next big market

With the US market saturated and Macau not open to new concessionaires, major casino operators around the world are looking for markets with “next big thing” potential.

While the United Arab Emirates has long banned gambling, it is believed that the region could be the next star in international casino gambling if the Emirates soften this stance. With that in mind, analysts estimate that Wynn can achieve at least a 20% return on investment on its Al-Marjan Island project.

The financial return for an integrated resort in Dubai could be as compelling or even more compelling as this emirate is larger, more glamorous and more frequented by international tourists and business people than Ras Al Khaimah.

These are pertinent features for any Dubai casino wannabe because if gambling is legalized in the UAE, the Singapore model is likely to be followed. Home to two integrated resorts, Singapore uses these venues as a means to drive tourism to the city-state while charging locals to enter the properties. Similar venues in the United Arab Emirates could go even further and be reserved for foreigners only. But that won’t cause any headwind for the operators, because foreigners make up 90% of the population there.

Caesar’s softening stance on international expansion

Costa’s comments on Caesar’s consideration of casino gaming in Dubai could be another sign that the company is more open to international expansion than previously thought.

When the company known as Eldorado Resorts announced its bid to acquire “old Caesars” in June 2019, CEO Tom Reeg said at the time that the opportunities to venture into international markets “must be amazing for us to go in that direction.” .

Last year, the company pulled out of an integrated resort project on Yeonjong Island in South Korea. At the time, Reeg wryly said the company had sold its stake in the Korea project “for some grilled pork.”

However, last September Caesars joined a consortium looking to bring an integrated resort to Wakayama, Japan. Dubai could be even more attractive for the gaming company as it has existing infrastructure there and can therefore keep construction costs in check.

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