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Dubai mega-resort axes casino plans amid UAE gambling ambiguity

MGM Resorts International said its $2.5 billion mega-project in Dubai will not have a casino, though the United Arab Emirates could allow gambling in the not-so-distant future.
This picture taken with a fish-eye lens on May 9, 2021 shows a view of the Dubai city skyline as seen from the Burj Khalifa, currently the world's tallest building at 828 meters.

Hospitality giant MGM Resorts International confirmed this week that it will not have a casino in its upcoming Dubai property in a setback for those hoping to see gambling come to the United Arab Emirates.

MGM President and CEO Bill Hornbuckle said during a Tuesday earnings call that the company’s $2.5 billion development in Dubai will not feature a casino.

“Obviously, we have Dubai. We have our project there, which is an amazing project. It's going to be over a $2.5 billion project without a casino in it,” he said.

Hornbuckle was referencing the Island, a major development being built in the Dubai coastal area of Jumeirah. The luxury beachfront development will feature hotel rooms, apartments and entertainment when complete. Three popular Las Vegas hotels — MGM, Bellagio and Aria — will feature there, according to the project’s website. The Island has been dubbed Dubai’s Las Vegas by Gulf media outlets.

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