Meta description: It’s official: Dubai will welcome a Vegas-style luxury island featuring famous hotel franchises. Learn more about what to expect.
Dubai will soon be home to The Island, a Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) mega-project that will eventually feature 1,400 luxury hotel rooms. At the centerpiece of this development will be three iconic Las Vegas resorts—MGM, Bellagio, and Aria.
Plans for The Island were first announced in 2017, which will neighbor the Burj Al Arab, Dubai’s most iconic hotel. Spearheaded by Wasl, the company made a US$ 1.2 billion (Dhs 4.4 billion) deal with China State Construction Engineering Corporation(CSCECL) as its primary builder.
While most details of The Island are still under wraps, it will span 3.5 square kilometers, about 60% the size of the world famous Dubai Palm Islands, the largest man-made island encompassing 5.72 square meters. Future Island-goers can likely expect shops, restaurants, and entertainment centers, considering the Las Vegas trio’s colorful reputation.
Will There Be a Casino?
There has yet to be official word on whether The Island will feature a casino. However, the UAE recently announced the development of The General Commercial Gaming Regulatory Authority (GCGRA), which aims to curate well-regulated gaming environments, paving the way for future licensed gaming entities in the country.
In a conference on November 8, 2023, MGM CEO and President, William Hornbuckle was hopeful,
“In Dubai, our partner Wasl, is under construction on a luxury development, including 1,400 hotel rooms with the MGM Grand, Bellagio and Aria brands. We currently have a hospitality management deal requiring no capital from us. That said, we do significantly — we do see a significant opportunity if gaming were to be legalized, 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.”
So far, Ras Al Khaima’s 1,500-room Wynn Resort is the only project under development promising casino features. While there is no guarantee of a casino, Dubai boasts the best gaming hospitality brands globally, so word of a world-glass gaming component won’t be unlikely.
Among the MGM operated resorts in Las Vegas, Bellagio is home to the Cirque du Soleil aqua and fountain show. On the other hand, Aria caters more to culinary enthusiasts, hosting high-end restaurants like Carbone, Catch, and Jean-Georges Steakhouse. Perhaps the most notable entity soon to grace Dubai is MGM, known for its star-studded events, loyal celebrity guests, and unforgettable parties.
On a side note, MGM will soon break ground in Osaka for Japan’s inaugural integrated resort, investing a substantial JPY 300 Billion (approximately $2 Billion) over the next five years.
*Article by Zoe Alcazaren