In a striking revelation that has perked the ears of the global gaming community, the Genting Group has hinted at a bold stride into the burgeoning playground of opulence – the United Arab Emirates – should the desert sands there give rise to casino resorts.

At the helm is Genting Chairman Lim Kok Thay, whose visions for expansion extend beyond the horizons to embrace the potential of a United Arab Emirates gaming venture. During an interaction filled with the promise of future undertakings, Lim spoke at Genting Singapore’s annual congregation, sparking interest with mentions of the UAE as a possible new frontier for the operator’s integrated resort ventures. This pursuit is not confined to the Arab nation alone, with Thailand also serving as a constellation in Genting’s star chart of possibilities.

“The Company would be delighted to undertake an IR development in the Middle East, harnessing the Company’s extensive prowess in non-gaming amenities,” announced the minutes from the assembly, stirring the waters of speculation.

Genting Singapore stands as an eminent segment of Malaysia’s Genting Bhd, guardians of the illustrious Resorts World Sentosa—Singapore’s gaming jewel alongside another. However, there lies an enigma shrouded in Lim’s articulate narrative— which of Genting’s branches would take the reins in a UAE quest remains a mystery.

Lim has been candid in tempering expectations, noting the unlikelihood that the UAE will announce an international tender limited purely to casino development. This philosophy mirrors the blueprint utilized by giants like Wynn Resorts, whose ventures extend well beyond the felt and slot-lined gaming floors.

Wynn Resorts, an anticipated frontrunner for the UAE’s inaugural gaming license, is embarking on a collaborative odyssey with partners Marjan LLC and RAK Hospitality Holding LLC. The destination: Wynn Al Marjan Island, poised to be a majestic presence within Ras Al Khaimah’s domain. Wynn finds itself contributing a hefty $900 million, a sizeable stake yet one that positions it as a minority sovereign in this regal undertaking.

Echoing Wynn’s prowess, Genting brings to the table its own roulette of non-gaming proficiencies—an enticing platter for regulators should they fling open the golden gates to casino operations. Wynn’s UAE haven envisages a colossal 5.6 million square feet of diversified indulgence with the casino component a mere 4% of this empire. It’s indicative of a grander regulatory vision—one where casinos are the jewels, not crowns, of these sprawling integrated resorts.

The twin keys to the kingdom, Abu Dhabi, and Ras Al Khaimah, are poised as the likeliest emirates to welcome the thrill of roulette and blackjack. Dubai, the glistening jewel in the UAE’s crown, maintains a cautious courtship with the concept of Las Vegas-flavored extravagance.

For Genting, a voyage into UAE’s gaming oasis could be a masterstroke; industry seers whisper that the UAE’s market may one day eclipse Singapore’s gaming fortunes. The glittering Resorts World Sentosa, coupled with Marina Bay Sands, stands tall as one of Genting’s most prized steeds.

Yet, as any seasoned gambler knows, the game is fraught with questions yearning for answers. The UAE’s General Commercial Gaming Regulatory Authority (GCGRA) remains shrouded in silence, even months after its conception, leaving many to ponder the when and how of gaming license alchemy.

And so, the stage is set, with the dice held in anticipation, as the year wanes and whispers grow of Wynn being anointed the first bearer of the UAE’s gaming scepter—a herald of what is to come for Genting and others in this dance of destiny.

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Mark Johnson
Mark Johnson, a Senior Editor and respected voice in iGaming and sports, brings over a decade of journalism experience with a focus on digital gaming and cryptocurrency. Starting in sports analysis, he now leads a team of writers, delivering insightful and advanced content in the dynamic world of online gaming. An avid gamer and crypto-enthusiast, Mark's unique perspective enriches his professional analysis. He's also a regular speaker at industry conferences, sharing his views on the future of iGaming and digital finance. Follow his latest articles and insights on social media.


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