Genting chairman KT Lim (pictured) and Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval were on hand to commemorate the event, the first time in over a decade that Vegas had witnessed work commence on a property of this scale. The event was laden with added significance due to Monday’s closure of the Riviera, one of the last Vegas casinos to trace its roots back to the fabled Rat Pack era.
The four-tower, 3,500-room RWLV will plug the hole left by Boyd Gaming’s aborted Echelon project on the site of the old Stardust Hotel. Boyd put the project on pause after the global economy crashed and eventually sold out to Genting in March 2013 for $350m.
When it opens in mid-2018, RWLV’s gaming floor will occupy around 175k square feet. Non-gaming amenities include a replica of the Great Wall of China, indoor water park, 4k-seat theater and possibly some real live pandas. (Hopefully the kung fu kind, but don’t quote us.)
Before he shooed away the lion dancers and hoisted his golden shovel, Lim celebrated Genting’s 50-year track record in building memorable entertainment venues. Lim looked forward to “creating a huge national and international draw with this Chinese themed world-class resort.” A giddy Sandoval celebrated the thousands of jobs the 88-acre project would create and predicted RWLV would be “a bold new addition” to the Nevada economy.
RWLV will be the first Vegas mega-property to be wholly developed by an international firm. Genting Malaysia currently operates the highly successful Resorts World New York but recently failed to win a casino license in New York’s Orange County. The Genting Group also has gaming interests in Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, the UK and the Philippines.
Earlier this week, Genting Malaysia announced that its American subsidiary had set up an aviation unit in Bermuda, a popular jurisdiction for aviation registry. Genting’s filing with the Malaysian exchange didn’t offer any explanation behind RWB Aviation Ltd.’s reason for being, but it the smart money is on some VIPs somewhere being flown somewhere else.