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Gambling Remains Illegal in Dubai, But What About Online Casinos?By Shane Addinall Jan 02, 2023 OpinionGambling is not legal everywhere, either because of religious beliefs or that country's economic status. Will the United Arab Emirates ever bend for the sake of tourism, or is the Wynn Group pushing something they can't move?
Gambling is illegal in the seven UAE, that much we know - although Dubai is an Emirate where most casino-linked hotels are built. Dubai senior tourism official Issam Kazim stated that legalising gambling is not an option for the near future, even though Saudi Arabia opened their doors to the world of gambling.
Wynn Resorts is to open a new and massive establishment in Ras Al Khaimah in the near future. As a result, a gaming licence has been requested; and we are all waiting to hear what precisely this licence will include.
Wynn To Open Non-Gaming Luxury Resort
Wynn is one of the most famous hotels stationed in Nevada. The CEO, Craig Billings, released a statement that they will be growing the group to Ras Al Khaimah in one of the seven United Arab Emirates. Wynn Resorts have provided casino services to all their customers up to this point, but considering the gambling regulations in UAE, speculations are that this resort may be a non-gaming lodge.
In light of the many questions being asked, Craig Billings commented:
"Given that it's a man-made island without any existing development, it's an incredibly flexible location to plan. The region is a tremendous non-gaming leisure and luxury market; therefore, putting up an establishment that operated as a non-gaming resort will be challenging to say the least.”
The Wynn Group requested a gaming licence in January 2022 to allow gaming, but there was no transparency on whether this included gambling.
What Are the Exceptions?
The UAE is strict regarding land-based casino, but things change slightly with online gambling. Considering iGaming - with offshore websites - is a grey area, this is an interesting case as restrictions cannot extend past UAE jurisdictions.
However, plenty of online offshore casinos accept players from Dubai. In Dubai, players have the same privileges as players in any other country. Horse racing in Dubai is also huge, and it is easy to conclude that horse betting is just as significant.
With these exceptions in mind, we can only hope that further exemptions can be made with regard to iGaming within Resorts.
What Does The Future Look like?
It appears that Craig Billings and the Wynn Resorts Group are pushing for more leniency in the matter. Does this mean that the gaming licence that the Wynn Group obtained may include online gambling with the inclusion of only offshore iGaming platforms as a way to introduce gambling to the Emirates?
If this is the case, Wynn Resorts found a 'loophole' in a very tight system. This may be the first step towards opening up to more possibilities and adding new forms of income and tourists to their economy. This will enter the UAE at the same level as Saudi Arabia and give them a winning chance in the race.
Things will be shaken up when the contents or the licence are revealed; what is left to see is whether Dubai is willing to open its doors to gambling or not.
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