Resorts World Casino Owner Genting May Be Interested in UAE Casino

The executive chairman of Genting Singapore, Lim Kok Thay, believes expanding its operations into the United Arab Emirates (UAE) might be a possibility. He hinted at the prospect in the company's Annual General Meeting, but didn't specify whether Genting Bhd, the parent company of Genting Singapore and operator of several Resorts World properties, would be involved.

The Resorts World Sentosa integrated resort in Singapore. (Source: Resorts World Sentosa)

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The UAE, with its rapidly developing economy and increasing tourist influx, presents a lucrative landscape for the gaming and hospitality sector. Genting's potential venture into the UAE aligns with its global expansion strategy and taps into the region's untapped market potential. Wynn Resorts is already preparing to launch a casino there, and growth is expected to be rapid.

Lim expressed that while introducing a standalone casino in the UAE may present challenges, the concept of an integrated resort (IR) with a casino might find more favorable ground. This perspective is rooted in the understanding that IRs offer a multifaceted experience, combining luxury accommodations, dining, entertainment and gaming facilities, all within a singular destination. Lim's insights suggest that such a development would be more in line with the UAE's tourism and economic goals, which emphasize diversification and world-class hospitality.

Thailand represents another prospective market for Genting's expansion. However, the company adopts a cautious approach, opting to wait for a clearer understanding of the country's regulatory framework concerning gaming. This prudent stance is indicative of Genting's commitment to compliance and its strategic risk management.

The regulatory environment plays a pivotal role in the gaming industry, dictating the operational modalities and the extent of market penetration. As such, Genting's decision to hold off on immediate investment in Thailand until the regulatory landscape is fully delineated reflects a well-calibrated business acumen.

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UAE Expansion Depends on Singapore Government

Lim also provided insight into the Singapore government's stance on foreign investment decisions, which could impact Genting's decision. While the government generally maintains a non-interventionist position regarding the investment choices of its corporate entities, the heavily regulated nature of Genting's gaming business in Singapore necessitates a degree of scrutiny that the government undertakes to ensure that overseas investments align with national standards and interests.

The gaming business, by its very nature, is subject to stringent regulatory controls to safeguard against potential social and economic risks. Genting Singapore's operations within the country are no exception, adhering to a comprehensive set of regulations that govern every facet of the gaming experience.

It's within this context that Lim Kok Thay anticipates the company's foreign ventures, particularly in sectors as sensitive as gaming, will undergo thorough review and scrutiny. This process is essential to maintain the integrity of the company's operations and to uphold the rigorous standards set forth by Singaporean authorities.


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