A ‘Sheik’ Up Of Restrictions On Gambling For the UAE
Despite the enduring popularity of Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Qatar as holiday destinations, the United Arab Emirates has always been known for its strict laws on a number of activities which those in the west take for granted. Traditionally, visitors to the UAE were forbidden to drink alcohol, engage in premarital relations (including sharing a room) and, of course gambling. In recent times, there has been a relaxation of alcohol laws for visitors in a bid to boost UAE tourism and, now, it seems that gambling may be next on the UAE’s hit list.
The last resort
In a recent announcement, leading casino company, Wynn, announced its plans to open a multi billion dollar resort on a UAE island in 2026. The plans have, apparently, been approved by the sheikhdom of Ras al-Khaimah – one of the seven sheikhdoms in the Emirates – confirming that ‘gaming’ would be permitted at the new resort.
The resort will be built on the artificial island of Al-Marjan, within the Ras al-Khaimah sheikhdom where guests will enjoy stunning views of the Arabian Gulf. The island spans 2.7 million square metres and is home to a considerable amount of archaeological heritage and cultural remnants. The island is also home to a number of hotels and resorts including DoubleTree by Hilton, Rixos and the Marjan Island Resort & Spa.
A Wynn win for the UAE
The new Wynn Resort & Casino will feature 1000 luxurious hotel rooms, a shopping mall and a convention centre as well as the central gaming area. While representatives have been very careful to use the term ‘gaming centre’ rather than gambling, the term ‘integrated resort’ has been bandied about – a term which generally refers to a hotel which contains a casino as well as other amenities.
The news about the new Wynn Resort suggests that the UAE is undergoing a sea change whereby certain laws are being relaxed in order to boost tourism – which is good news for those planning a visit; however, you should, of course, always check the rules before travelling. Who knows, maybe you will be able to enjoy your favourite casino online while soaking in the turquoise waters on Dubai’s beach.