Asia round-up: Wynn’s UAE project; Australians in for lottery, Vietnam & more

By Louis Thompsett

Wynn Resorts lays out plans for $2bn UAE resort project 

Wynn Resorts CEO Craig Billings has detailed the company’s plans to open a $2bn integrated resort in the UAE, as it seeks to develop and grow the brand worldwide. 
 
As the UAE is a limited supply market, Wynn will hold the only gaming licence in the region, therefore giving the company exclusive access to the high volume of tourists and visitors to the region. 

Built on the man-made Al Marjan Island in Ras Al Khaimah, the resort is currently scheduled to open in 2026, with Wynn aware of “opportunities to develop beyond that.” The location will work to further increase Wynn's global presence and accessibility, with “95% of the world's population within an eight-hour flight of the Wynn brand.” 

Billings said: “There has been tremendous modernisation and progression in the UAE. The Dubai airport sees more than 80 million passengers a year. There's an amazing amount of inbound visitation from Europe, the Middle East, India and other surrounding countries. We believe there will be a robust cash-based business like we have here. We see it as a real extension of our brand.” 

Billings, previously Wynn Interactive CEO, was announced as Wynn Resorts CEO in November 2021, assuming his role on 1 February 2022 after the departure of former CEO Matt Maddox, as he sought to pursue new career opportunities. 

Australians now able to enter worldwide lotteries 

“There has been tremendous modernisation and progression in the UAE. The Dubai airport sees more than 80 million passengers a year. There's an amazing amount of inbound visitation from Europe, the Middle East, India and other surrounding countries” Craig Billings, Wynn Resorts CEO

Australian players are now able to enter lotteries from around the world, which they can access from over 1,400 newsagents nationwide.   

This is now possible because of a new partnership between Australian-owned The Lottery Office and payment platform blueshyft.  

Players will now be able to deposit at selected agencies, which can be used to enter to enter lottery draws around the globe. 

Per the deal, newsagents will receive commission for deposits placed and accounts created through blueshyft’s platform.  

Lotteries included in this partnership deal are Italian Super Jackpot, European Millions and USA Mega Lotto.  

Jaclyn Wood, The Lottery Office CEO, said: “This will give The Lottery Office’s existing customers additional flexibility to make payments, but also open up a new channel for us to engage with new players.” 

Vietnam’s Ministry of Finance backs licensing of two new casinos 

Vietnam’s Ministry of Finance is supporting proposals by Da Nang City and Khanh Hoa Province to license and construct two new foreign-player-only casinos in the Southeast Asian country.  

Prospective casinos would be built at Da Nang City’s entertainment and resort complex Sun World Ba Na Hills, and Khanh Hoa Province’s Hon Tre Island.   

The country’s Ministry of Finance believes both locations have significant tourism potential to attract foreign visitors.  

Da Nang currently has no major casinos, although Khanh Hoa is in the process of constructing a casino and resort complex, KN Paradise in Cam Ranh.  

However, Vietnam’s central province Binh Thuan has had its proposal to build a casino and resort rejected by the ministry. The financial body has deemed the region to have low tourism potential having neither port nor airport.

Macau’s Grand Lisboa cordoned off after reporting 13 Covid cases 

Public entrances at Grand Lisboa have been blocked off, while the front entrance has been cordoned by barriers amid 13 cases of Covid-19 being reported at the casino. 

The news comes amid a spike in infections in Southeast Asia’s gaming capital, which is threatening the recovery of Macau’s casino industry and other associated businesses.

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