A Canadian entrepreneur wants to build a 900-foot, moon-inspired spherical structure atop a Dubai skyscraper, and the proposed $5 billion venue reportedly has room for a casino.
A rendering of the proposed MOON project in Dubai. It could contain a casino. (Image: Arabian Business)
Michael Henderson, the co-founder of Moon World Resorts, pitched the project at the Arabian Travel Market earlier this month. A location for MOON hasn’t been determined as of yet. Burj Khalifa, which is the world’s tallest building, is one idea, as are Dubai Pearl and Palm Jebel Ali. Palm Jebel Ali isn’t finished, and Dubai Pearl is a now-scrapped luxury apartment complex. Demolition there started in January.
The project Henderson proposes includes a destination resort inside the spherical structure, complete with a 4,000-room hotel, an arena capable of hosting 10,000 people and a ‘lunar colony’ that would give guests the sensation of actually walking on the moon,” reports the Associated Press.
It’s expected the building will be fully circular and that it would emit light at night, though Henderson noted it will include full and crescent moon options.
MOON Could Shine in UAE, but No Promise of Casinos
Currently, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) doesn’t permit casino gaming, but there’s momentum for change on that front – much of it driven by Wynn Resorts.
Las Vegas-based Wynn and local partners plan to open the $3.9 billion Wynn Al Marjan Island in early 2027, and it’s expected the integrated resort will be approved to offer wagering. It’s estimated the casino will command just 4% of the property’s 5.6 million square feet, but that would make it larger than the gaming space at Wynn Las Vegas.
When Wynn delivered first-quarter results earlier this month, CEO Craig Billings said the UAE venue could generate $450 million to $600 million in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA).
Gaming operators’ desire to offer betting in UAE is well-known. The emirates are home to immense oil and real estate wealth and are the financial and tourism capitals of the Middle East.
Caesars Entertainment and MGM Resorts International are readying nongaming hotels in the region and would likely jump at the chance to feature casinos at their properties. So while MOON may not be able to offer gaming right off the bat, it can at least prepare for that amenity in the future, assuming the UAE liberalizes its views on betting.
MOON no Carbon Copy of MSG Sphere
While MOON may conjure up images of the MSG Sphere, which is nearing its debut on the Las Vegas Strip, there are significant differences between the two projects, not the least of which is, at $5 billion, MOON will cost more than double the Las Vegas Sphere.
Add to that, MOON, if built, will be fully circular. That’s not the case with the MSG Sphere. Henderson told the AP that MOON will also feature multiple lighting options in an effort to emit less light pollution and reduce bother to area residents.
MSG Sphere isn’t slated to initially have its own casino but it is located near several marquee Strip venues.
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