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Ras Al Khaimah
July 2023
UAE casino: Dubai real estate faces rival market as RAK gears up to launch legal gaming, expert says
Building on the anticipation for the opening of the world’s largest and UAE’s first legal casino in 2027, Ras Al Khaimah is boosting its real estate offerings to rival Dubai
The emirate of Ras Al Khaimah is gearing up for the launch of the UAE’s first legal casino in 2027 by boosting its real estate sector, with many new luxury properties and substantial projects to rival Dubai and attract more of the world’s wealthy.

The 18,500sq m casino, set to be the world’s largest, will be launched as part of a luxury resort by Wynn Resorts, which will have 1,500 rooms on Al Marjan Island.

Since the gaming industry announcement, there has been a spike in investment activity and increased market sentiment from reputable developers that were not previously present in the emirate.
UAE casino sparks real estate interest

With increased demand, economic growth, rising property prices and major infrastructure development, the presence of the world’s largest casino will not only transform the local real estate landscape, but also position the city as an exciting and lucrative property market in the UAE, Simon Quinton, Off-plan Manager, Residential Brokerage, at Colliers MENA, told Arabian Business.

“Ras Al Khaimah’s upcoming luxury casino resort, set to be the world’s largest and the UAE’s first legal casino, is propelling the emirate to premium destination status,” said Quinton.

“The presence of this major attraction is expected to have a significant impact on the local real estate market.”

He added that it will attract a substantial influx of tourists and visitors, driving up demand for real estate, particularly in residential properties, and becoming a more enticing market for buyers, investors and developers who are looking to capitalise on “expanding opportunities.”

“As the area gains popularity and experiences increased demand, property prices are projected to rise, benefiting both property owners and investors. Additionally, the casino’s development will spur infrastructure improvements, including transportation links, amenities and public facilities, further enhancing the area’s appeal,” said Quinton.

In an effort to up the ante, the emirate’s government recently established the Ras Al Khaimah Department of Entertainment and Gaming Regulation, a precursor to the announcement of the development of the region’s first casino.

News of the RAK’s debut on the gaming scene has unsurprisingly fuelled speculation about the opening of casinos elsewhere in the country.
However, since Wynn’s announcement last year, no other casino plans have been unveiled.

The pandemic gave the city’s domestic tourism a massive boost as Abu Dhabi and Dubai residents flocked to the emirate for staycations, hiking trips, and glamping experiences.

Since then, it has steadily grown, attracting more visitors year after year. In 2022, it welcomed over 1.13m overnight arrivals, accounting for a 15.6 per cent increase from the year before, exceeding pre-pandemic levels, according to the Ras Al Khaimah Government Media Office.

Massive hospitality industry players such as Intercontinental Hotels Group (IHG), Movenpick, and Radisson brands entered the market for the first time, marking a 17 per cent annual growth rate in hotel supply.

But what most people don’t know is that RAK already began to embark on this development journey back in 2004, with an ambitious plan to turn the city into a world-class tourism destination.

“Ras Al Khaimah has been quietly transforming itself over the last 10 to 15 years as an alternative tourist hub to Dubai and part of this plan involves the now under construction 1,500 room Wynn hotel and responsible gaming resort,” said Knight Frank’s Faisal Durrani, Partner, Head of Middle East Research.

After conducting a survey to better understand high net-worth individuals (HNWI)’s attitudes towards the emirate, Knight Frank found that 55 per cent said the impending launch of a gaming resort did not influence their perceptions of the emirate as a place to invest and 30 per cent said it was even more attractive.

“For those with a net worth of over $10m, this rises to 50 per cent and amongst East Asian HNWI, 60 per cent are more keen on Ras Al Khaimah as a property purchase destination directly as a result of Wynn’s development on Al Marjan Island,” said Durrani.

“I think it’s fair to say that the fortunes of Ras Al Khaimah are definitely improving and the development of a widespread tourism and hospitality offering is shifting its appeal as an investment location in the minds of the world’s wealthy.”

The emirate’s real estate market has witnessed significant shifts in demand and preferences in 2023, according to Property Finder’s proprietary data which indicates that there is a growing demand for property ownership and changing tenant preferences geared towards villa rentals.

The real estate platform told Arabian Business that the top areas searched by home seekers who are looking to own apartments include Al Hamra Village, which has seen a substantial surge of demand by 19.7 per cent in 2022 compared to 2021, and Al Marjan Island closely follows with an impressive increase of 20.5 per cent.

Other sought-after areas included Mina Al Arab, Yasmin Village, Al Nakheel, Al Seer, Ras al Khaimah Gateway, Ras Al Khaimah Waterfront, Al Jazirah Al Hamra, and RAK FTZ.

During the first half of 2022 alone, the city’s land and properties sector registered a 45 per cent surge in transactions to AED4bn compared to the same period in 2021, hugely driven by the multi million dollar Wynn deal.
Dubai’s property market on the other hand is experiencing a boom, with the latest data from the city’s Land Department indicating a total of AED179.4bn made in real estate sales transactions.

“As Dubai’s real estate sector continues to evolve, it is demonstrating characteristics of a mature market, with stable forecasted price growth, supply, and demand, reflective of client preferences and reduced susceptibility to external fluctuations,” said Shehzad Jamal, Partner, Head of Strategy and Consulting, Real Estate, Healthcare and Education.

“World-class infrastructure, excellent connectivity and proactive government policies have caught the eyes of investors beyond the traditional cohort from Europe, East Asia and Americas who have actioned real estate investments in the emirate, especially within the realm of luxury residential property.”

Source: https://www.arabianbusiness.com/industries/real-estate/uae-casino-dubai-real-estate-faces-rival-market-as-rak-gears-up-to-launch-legal-gaming-expert-says
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