After an eight-year grind of climbing up the corporate ladder in Wynn’s subsidiary in Macau, Derek Sands will be taking on the role of executive vice president for the upcoming integrated resort in Ras Al Khaimah.
Experienced Asia Market President Already Moved to UAE
Derek Sands has filled one of the first positions for Wynn Resorts’ upcoming integrated resort in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and was named executive vice president of the Ras Al Khaimah property. Sands has already moved to the UAE, according to his LinkedIn profile, and was president of the Asian division since 2017. However, his career story within Wynn’s Design & Development subsidiary arm, goes further back, to when Sands started as a building services director in September 2014, in Macau, and he’s been climbing the ladder ever since.
The move makes sense at first reading, as Wynn Design & Development serves as the company’s creative hub, dealing with project management, interior design and more. Being someone who’s already high within the company and with the proper experience, makes Sands a prime candidate for heading the upcoming collaboration between the parent company and local Ras Al Khaimah businesses.
Upcoming Integrated Resort – Breakthrough
And that is indeed a big project, situated on the man-made Al Marjan Island in Ras Al Khaimah. The “multibillion-dollar integrated resort” will be the product of collaboration between Marjan Properties – a local property developer – and RAK Hospitality Holding LLC, a hospitality group that operates hotels and other leisurely businesses, who Wynn will be teaming up with to create jobs in the area, expand tourism and grow the hospitality sector in the Emirates.
The integrated resort will be home to more than 1,000 hotel rooms with a spa center for its visitors, as well as multiple restaurants, a mall, and, of course, a “gaming area” and is expected to offer some magnificent views of the Arabian Gulf. This is Wynn’s first beach resort and the inclusion of a “gaming area” gives nothing away about how a potential casino might integrate with the Islamic views on gambling. This has been known since January 2022, and there are still precious few details about this.
Nevertheless, this was absolutely the biggest project within UAE’s hospitality sector when it was announced and is a big undertaking, especially considering that there are no names that offer legal gambling throughout the Emirates, as gambling is not only widely frowned upon, but also downright illegal. However, there’s been a development on that front, with the Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA) creating an entirely new division, targeted specifically at regulating IRs in the emirate. IRs such as Wynn’s establishment in the capital city of Ras Al Khaimah, which is expected to be completed by the rapidly approaching year 2026.
RAKTDA might be considered a breakthrough, as reports on the matter all suggest that the new Department of Entertainment and Gaming Regulation (DEGR) will be focused on the regulation of the possibly emerging gaming scene and will be tasked with regulation, taxation, and gambling safety, under its jurisdiction.
Although this might be opening up new doors for the gaming industry, the cultural boundaries might still prove to be a big obstacle, as Dubai had totally refused legal gambling, regardless of the proximity of Wynn’s integrated resorts in the neighboring emirate. Maybe Dubai will be sitting out this first round and wait and see how the new business develops inside its neighboring emirate or maybe it will skip the trend entirely, or at least try to. Nothing is concrete and only time will tell.