May 20, 2024 3 min read


Genting Considers Integrated Resort Project in UAE

The company's executive chairman said it is "happy" to work toward integrated resort development in the middle east

In 2023, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) announced the creation of its regulatory body that would be in charge of gambling. The move came at a time when gambling in the jurisdiction is expected to be legalized, which may pave the way for the expansion of tourism, propelled by integrated resorts (IR) that offer Las Vegas-like casino gambling, among other amenities.

Although the regulatory body, expected to regulate gambling in UAE was established last year, the activity remains illegal, at least for the moment. Under the country’s laws, gambling is illegal and may be subject to harsh penalties, including fines, imprisonment or both. Yet the creation of a gambling regulatory body signaled the jurisdiction’s intention to look into the potential gambling legalization.

Globally recognizable gambling operators identified the potential of the UAE market. Now, a newly released stock exchange filing reveals that Genting Group, one of Asia’s leading and best-managed hospitality, entertainment and gaming businesses, is exploring the opportunity for expansion in UAE.

Previously, Genting Singapore’s executive chairman, Lim Kok Thay, revealed that it is “unlikely” for the company to pursue an opportunity for the development of a casino-only venue in UAE. This was an answer to questions he addressed during Genting’s recent annual general meeting.

The executive explained: “The company would be happy to work on an IR development in the Middle East, leveraging the company’s experience in non-gaming offerings.” Moreover, Thay added: “Until there is more visibility on the terms and conditions for legalizing gaming in other jurisdictions such as Thailand, the company will continue to monitor what is happening outside of the home market.”

UAE Market Holds Significant Potential

The interest of Genting in UAE doesn’t come as a surprise considering the potential of the market. Earlier this month, Bloomberg Intelligence expert analysts Lea El-Hage and Angela HanLee, highlighted the exponential potential of the casino market in the country when it comes to revenue.

The two outlined that there’s a chance for the UAE to surpass Singapore in terms of casino revenue. Yet, as noted, the activity is yet to be legalized and this remains contingent on legislative changes.

Besides UAE, Genting may explore further options such as an IR in Thailand, a Maybank analyst suggested earlier this year. Samuel Yin Shao Yang, a leading analyst with investment bank Maybank, confirmed back in January that the company may consider expanding to Thailand.

Focusing once again on UAE, Genting isn’t the only operator that eyes such an opportunity. Earlier this month, Wynn Resorts released new concept art for its new beachfront resort, Wynn Al Marjan Island. The project’s construction started last year, and it is expected to be completed early in 2027. The multi-billion-dollar project is expected to boost tourism in the area and offer “gaming” amenities.


Jerome is a welcome new addition to the Gambling News team, bringing years of journalistic experience within the iGaming sector. His interest in the industry begun after he graduated from college where he played in regular local poker tournaments which eventually lead to exposure towards the growing popularity of online poker and casino rooms. Jerome now puts all the knowledge he's accrued to fuel his passion for journalism, providing our team with the latest scoops online.

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