Tourism chief pours cold water on Dubai casino rumours

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Following the notable entrance of longstanding casino operators into one of the most largest resort destinations in the world, a local tourism chief has calmed talk that Dubai could yet turn into a gaming hotspot.

Both of the Las Vegas-based groups MGM Resort International and Caesars Entertainment have made recent announcements regarding entrance of the regional market with hotel properties and in turn stoked the flames of discussion around the inclusion of casino gaming.

However, CEO of the Dubai corporation for Tourism and Commerce, Issam Kazim has stated quite unequivocally that this will not be the case.

“No, there is not a desire for casinos,” Kazim declared. “We need to bear in mind that there are cultural things that are a priority to us.”

Dubai currently stands as the sixth most visited city in the world, according to the World Economic Forum and local officials have an ambitious goal of climbing to the top of the pile by 2020 and welcome upwards of 20m tourists per year.

Styled as a progressive city in a part of the world that often has a reputation for the opposite Dubai has eased some of its stricter regulations around historically-recognised vices, notably allowing non-Muslims to consume alcohol in strictly licensed venues.

Whilst gambling currently remains on the blacklist of activities it is not beyond the realms of possibility that a roll-back of restrictions around it is never going to happen. With increasing western tourism to the city and a need to cater for this, the position of MGM and Caesars got yet be a forebear of a new regulated market.

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