Dubai Authorities: The Emirate Won’t Legalize Gambling

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Unfortunately for all gambling lovers, Dubai senior tourism official Issam Kazim stated that legalizing gambling in Dubai isn’t something the Emirate has in its foreseeing plans. This statement follows after months of speculations in the public that the United Arab Emirates would be considering opening up to gambling to compete against Saudi Arabia.

Even though Dubai is an Emirate where most casino-linked hotels are built, gambling is still illegal in the eye of the law. 

This means that resorts such as the luxury five-star beachfront hotel and resort located on Bluewaters Island in Dubai, owned by the Caesars Palace magnate, don’t give their casino services in Dubai. The same goes for the MGM resort, which, even though it’s still in construction, has made clear that will also only have to provide hospitality services. 

Meanwhile, the Wynn Resorts’ project in neighboring Ras Al Khaimah, one of the United Arab seven emirates, is preparing to open its doors to gambling. So, can players from Dubai enjoy gaming in this resort, or are there other alternatives?

Wynn Resorts to Open in Ras Al Khaimah

One of the most famous hotel resorts stationed in Nevada has taken its first step into opening up a division in one of the seven UAE – Ras Al Khaimah. The predictions for this resort are that it will be even bigger and more luxurious than the one in Las Vegas. 

The idea for this endeavor is based on the Emirate of Ras Al Khaimah is the perfect spot to create this resort. The CEO, Craig Billins, said, “Given that it’s a man-made island without any existing development, it’s an incredibly flexible location on which to plan.”

Announced in early 2022, the Wynn Resorts is expected to be developed by around 2026. It will have more than 1,000 rooms, a shopping mall, a spa, restaurants, lounges, and even a gaming room.

Up to this point, Wynn Resorts have provided casino services to all customers. However, considering the strict gambling laws in the region of UAE, there are still speculations about whether this resort will open its doors to gaming enthusiasts from Dubai. 

Billings noted that the region is a “tremendous non-gaming leisure and luxury market”, so presenting a casino that would be operating on its own can be a real challenge. In January 2022, the Emirate and Wynn both acquired a license to allow gaming, but there was no specification on whether this included gambling. 

Nonetheless, Billings noted that all of these issues would be addressed in 2023 and onwards. 

Online Gambling as an Alternative

Dubai is a country that operates under Islamic rules, which is why gambling is illegal. Having in mind that in Islam, gambling is considered a sin, all countries of this region have placed strict regulations and punishments concerning this matter. 

However, there are still some exceptions. For example, in Dubai, horse racing is allowed; even the biggest horse race tournament – Dubai World Cup – takes place here. When it comes to gambling, brick-and-mortar casinos, as well as online operators that are stationed in Dubai, fall under these strict laws. 

But, when it comes to online gaming at offshore sites, the situation is different, as playing here may be possible. Setting the ethical norms aside, the legal framework doesn’t extend to this section, meaning that the laws can’t have the same restrictions on foreign-based operators that allow players from Dubai. You can visit Arabic Casinos and find the best Arabic casino sites where players from Dubai can enjoy the thrill of online gaming. 

Is There a Place for Gambling in Dubai’s Future?

Dubai senior tourism official Issam Kazim’s statement that Dubai won’t legalize gambling disappointed many gambling enthusiasts. However, not all hope is lost for those that want to enjoy the thrill of gaming. 

Although it is still unclear whether players from Dubai can spin the reels in the Wynn Resort that is set to open in 2026 in Ras Al Khaimah, there are some available alternatives in the form of online gaming. 

Plenty of online offshore casinos accept players from Dubai as their customers, giving them the same privileges as all other players. What is left to see is whether Dubai is willing to completely open its doors to gambling.

Some speculate that the Wynn Resort will push forward the whole UAE region to more leniency towards this matter, considering the tourism it attracts. This, in turn, will cause Dubai officials to change their minds on such a decision.


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