Caesars Expands Into Dubai And A Hotel-Only Property

Posted on April 26, 2018

Caesars Entertainment Corporation entered into a non-binding letter of intent with Meraas Holdings LLC April 15 to manage two developments in Dubai with one catch: no casino.

“Through our collaboration with Meraas, we anticipate Bluewaters Island will evolve into the region’s top hospitality, dining and entertainment destination,” said Mark Frissora, president and chief executive officer of Caesars Entertainment, in a release. “This project represents Caesars’ ability to focus on our strengths in hospitality as well as reinforce our commitment and capacity to establish brands in new global markets.”

These two resorts – soon to be Caesars Palace Bluewaters Dubai and Caesars Bluewaters Dubai –  will stand as Caesars Entertainment’s first non-gaming resorts, reported PR Newswire.  

Both are beachfront on a man-made island. Here are some of the other details:

  • 479 five-star rooms
  • Beach club
  • Caesars Beach Club Bluewaters Dubai
  • Indoor and outdoor pools
  • Spa with a wellness center
  • Meeting and convention space
  • 12 restaurants and bars

Dubai goes worldwide with Caesars

His Excellency Abdulla Al Habbai, group chairman of Meraas, said:

“Meraas is dedicated to implementing the vision of our wise leadership and consolidating Dubai’s status as a global tourist destination in line with the Dubai Tourism Vision 2020,” said His Excellency Abdulla Al Habbai, Group Chairman of Meraas. “We are creating unique experiences and leveraging strategic partnerships to showcase the best of what Dubai can offer to its visitors. The landmark arrangement with Caesars Entertainment, which aims to establish Bluewaters as a world-class tourist attraction with exclusive international entertainment opportunities, is a significant achievement for the emirate’s thriving hospitality and entertainment sectors.”

Over the past five years, Meraas invested Dh18 billion ($4.86 billion) in leisure and entertainment projects, the Las Vegas Sun reported.

STR data released in January showed that Dubai had the highest numbers of rooms in the works in the Mena region in 2018. That number capped at nearly 36,394 hotel rooms in construction to get to the existing emirate’s total of 97,736.

According to KSNV, Caesars already has two casinos in Egypt.

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Gambling banned in Dubai

In the United Arab Emirates and other Gulf states, gambling is banned due to the overwhelmingly Muslim population. The large expatriate population, comparatively, may share interest in the U.S. gaming resorts, reported Reuters.

According to Reuters, Saudi Arabia is building the non-religious tourism industry in the region to reduce reliance on oil exports. This has become another potential avenue for Caesars years in the future.

“Certainly with the crown prince’s reforms, Saudi Arabia has become far more attractive for a Western brand like us,” said Bob Morse, president of hospitality for Caesars, to Reuters.

Caesars to continue international expansion

Not only is Caesars looking into Saudi Arabia and potentially Japan, but already Caesars is building a resort and casino in South Korea in a joint venture with Guangzhou R&F Properties, The Motley Fool reported.

This model of expansion is familiar in the hotel industry for big players like Hilton or Four Seasons. These operators don’t own the hotels, but operate while collecting a fee for provided services and expertise.

While for Caesars the fee was not disclosed, CBRE Hotels’ Americas Research found that fees typically run between 3 and 3.5 percent of revenue. With a $400 nightly charge for hotel rooms, that would place Caesars at $2 million in managing the hotel business only, estimated Motley Fool. Entertainment and dining could also contribute to said fee. Together, these fees could result in a high revenue from quantities alone.

Moreover, not long after news about the Dubai casino broke, Caesars announced the launch of a non-casino property in Mexico.

This trend is likely to continue with MGM Resorts following suit. After the launch of MGM Hospitality, a hotel development and management business, the company is also building hotels in Dubai that will carry the MGM and Bellagio brands. This property, owned by Wasl Hospitality, will finish construction in 2021.

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Katie Callahan

Katie Callahan is a freelance journalist, blogger and copywriter who covers everything from poker, business, education and politics to construction, startups and cybersecurity.

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