Las Vegas-based Wynn Resorts unveiled Thursday the first renderings and the name of its planned $3.9 billion casino resort in the United Arab Emirates. The property, described by analysts as “one of the most exciting growth prospects in the gaming industry globally,” will be called Wynn Al Marjan Island and is expected to open in early 2027.
The resort will be located on 115 acres on Al Marjan Island, made up of four islands, in the emirate of Ras Al Khaimah. Wynn will have a 40% stake in the multi-billion project, which will also be the company’s first beachfront property. The firm is working with local partners Marjan LLC and RAK Hospitality Holding LLC on the project.
Once finalized, the 1,500-unit resort, featuring rooms, suites and villas, will be the first UAE property with a casino. As for its design, the architecture will mark a departure from Wynn’s traditional bronze-colored style used at Wynn Las Vegas, Encore, Wynn Macau and Encore Boston Harbor; and will include a 1,000-foot tower.
The final design is said to be inspired by the natural landscape surrounding the resort and Wynn’s aesthetic history. “The same geometric configuration of the curved shape of the beach on the island is echoed through the podium structure, similar to a great opera house, creating majestic views of the beach, sea and the horizon,” the company explained.
“We have spent the past year meticulously programming and concepting Wynn Al Marjan Island, carefully considering its unique location,” Craig Billings, CEO of Wynn Resorts, said as reported by Las Vegas Review-Journal. “I am incredibly proud of our design and development team’s ability to impart our legacy of rich, thoughtful design into a sun-soaked beachside resort that will delight customers, new and old.”
Wynn and its partners confirmed they are in active discussions regarding adjacent parcels, with Billings expecting additional hotels on the island to “act as a powerful feed to Wynn Al Marjan Island.” Meanwhile, Julie Cameron-Doe, Chief Financial Officer, said the project will drive strong long-term return to shareholders. The project will be funded with debt and partner equity contributions, 40% from Wynn and 60% from partners.
Gaming industry analyst John DeCree of Las Vegas-based CBRE Equity Research said, as per the cited source, that growth prospects of Wynn Al Marjan Island are “up there with U.S. sports betting, Japan and downstate New York.” Sports gaming has been one of the industry’s biggest stories in the last few years, now legal in 37 states and DC; while in Japan, MGM Resorts recently received approval to build an integrated resort with a casino in Osaka.
As for New York, many of the top US gambling and entertainment companies are currently vying for up to three licenses to open casinos in the downtown area. Wynn is among them, and has partnered with developer Related Companies on a casino on the western half of Hudson Yards, the second half of the largest mixed-use private real estate development in American history.
DeCree has further said, as per Review-Journal, he expects Wynn Al Marjan Island to generate cash flow of between $450 million and $600 million annually, comparing favorably with Encore Boston Harbor in 2022 and Wynn Palace in Macau in 2019 on a per-room basis.
“However, given the many advantages of the location in the UAE, including demographics, wealth, tourism and the fact that Wynn Al Marjan might be the only game in town, we believe the long-term earnings potential could be even greater,” DeCree said in a Thursday note to investors.
The resort is expected to house a total 5.6 million square feet with 120,000 square feet dedicated to retail, 100,000 square feet of convention and meeting space and 224,000 square feet for the casino. Meanwhile, the casino is expected to comprise about 4% of the property’s gross floor area, more than double that of Wynn Las Vegas.
Construction work on the foundation began onsite earlier this year. In addition to the aforementioned amenities, the resort will feature 24 dining and lounge experiences, spa and wellness services, a high-end shopping esplanade, a state-of-the-art events center, a theater and more. It will also offer entertainment experiences including nightly laser and light shows.