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United Arab Emirates sheikhdom to allow gaming as Wynn Resorts plans project

The Wynn Las Vegas and Encore resorts in Las Vegas are both owned and operated by Wynn Resorts.John Locher/Associated Press

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — One of the seven sheikhdoms in the United Arab Emirates said Tuesday it will allow “gaming” while announcing a multibillion-dollar deal with casino giant Wynn Resorts.

The announcement by Ras al-Khaimah comes after months of rumors about gambling coming to the UAE, home to skyscraper-studded Dubai and oil-rich Abu Dhabi. Islam, the religion of the Arabian Peninsula, prohibits gambling.

While the other emirates haven't announced similar deals, casino operator Caesars Palace operates a massive resort already in Dubai.

Initially, a statement issued by Wynn Resorts and Ras al-Khaimah authorities only referred to “gaming,” without elaborating. The emirate's Tourism Development Authority repeatedly declined to answer questions from The Associated Press on whether “gaming” involved cash betting.

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Las Vegas-based Wynn Resorts, which also operates the Encore Boston Harbor in Everett, did not immediately respond to questions from the AP. Wynn stock traded at $84.80 at the close of business Monday on the NASDAQ stock exchange.