An artist's impression of The Island project in Dubai.


Dubai going ‘Vegas-style’ with Dh4.4 billion The Island project

Expectations are high following reports that Dubai’s The Island Project is going “Vegas-style” with Las Vegas hotel brands that include Bellagio, Aria and MGM, popular for its casinos.

Whether Dubai will eventually allow casinos remains to be seen. Gambling is still considered illegal in the UAE, although in September, the UAE Government launched the General Commercial Gaming Regulatory Authority to create regulations for national lottery and commercial gaming.

Earlier this year, Ras Al Khaimah also announced that it is building the UAE’s first off-shore casino via Wynn Al Marjan Island, a multi-billion project on Al Marjan Island, that is expected to open in early 2027.

In Dubai, developer Wasl has reportedly awarded the contract to Beijing-based China State Construction Engineering Corporation to build The Island at an estimated Dh4.4 billion, according to MEED.

Dubai’s The Island, a 10.5-hectare island located off the coast of Umm Suqeim, is expected to feature hotels, residential apartments, shops, restaurants and entertainment venues.

MGM President and CEO, Bill Hornbuckle, revealed earlier this month that the multi-billion-dollar project was “under construction”.

Hornbuckle said the brand saw “a significant opportunity if gaming were to be legalised, first in UAE and ultimately in Dubai.”

“We believe they have the best gaming hospitality brands in the world with the best location in Dubai and our existing project could include a world-class gaming component, if approved,” he added. ICA/Expat Media

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