Malaysia-based Genting Berhad, one of the world’s largest international casino operators, has made plans to continue to boost its presence in the US gaming market with the purchase of a waterfront property in Miami.
Genting Malaysia Berhad flexed their capital muscle last month when they announced that the company was paying $236 million for a 14-acre piece of waterfront property in the downtown of Miami. For a total investment of about $3 billion, Genting announced plans to build a luxury hotel on the site fully loaded with convention, entertainment, restaurant, retail, residential and commercial facilities.
Genting Berhad already controls casino resorts in Malaysia and Singapore, and is now poised to make its first official debut in the U.S. gaming market with the opening of a gambling parlour at New York’s Aqueduct racetrack this coming fall.
Genting Berhad is already on the ground in South Florida where it controls Miami-based Norwegian Cruise lines, and with the opening of the Aqueduct gambling parlor, Genting is certainly placing its imprint on the U.S. East Coast.
As Reuters reports, lawmakers in Florida are widely expected to liberalize Florida’s gambling laws. Analysts say that Genting has the deep pockets and “patient capital” to start laying the groundwork now for future business.
Genting has stressed that the project would create thousands of jobs in the city, but more importantly, much needed jobs for the state of Florida while bringing in an influx of tourists which would also help the state’s sputtering economy.
As Reuters reports, Genting Chairman and Chief Executive KT Lim told a gathering of Miami business and civic leaders last week, “I believe Miami is destined to become one of the greatest global cities in the world…With planes now able to fly nonstop from Singapore and Hong Kong, Miami will soon connect Asia with the Americas.”
Reuters reports that the casino giant has also said that the time it takes to complete the project, dubbed Resorts World Miami, will depend on Florida’s gambling politics.
Mike Speller, the New York-based president of Genting’s Resorts World subsidiary, told Reuters that the project will go ahead whether or not Florida changes its gaming laws anytime soon, but legal changes would quicken the process which is forecasted to take up to 20 years. “It would certainly shorten the period greatly that we would be able to build out the entire project because there would be that much more momentum,” Speller told Reuters.
Representative Erik Fresen, a Miami Republican, is among those who plan to sponsor revamped gaming legislation in the fall. He said the economic benefits, including what he sees as more than 10,000 permanent jobs stemming from Genting’s project, make expanded gambling a must-have for Florida.
Jobs have already come as Genting has selected hometown architecture firm Arquitectonica to plan its market-changing Resorts World Miami. “We have identified a local firm with global expertise which will generate much needed work for the Florida architecture industry,” says KT Lim, chairman and CEO of Genting in a press release. “Working with Arquitectonica, we will invite other world-class architects to design specific elements of the master plan, providing iconic buildings and structures that will further enhance the Downtown Miami skyline.”
Warwick Bartlett, chief executive of UK-based Global Betting and Gaming Consultants commented as reported by Reuters, “It would broaden the tourist scope of the state…If you had the choice, Las Vegas or Florida to gamble, I think I’d go to Florida. Wouldn’t you?”
Yes. Yes I would.