Nevada gambling regulators gave preliminary approval for Malaysia’s Genting Bhd to do business in the state.
The Nevada Gaming Commission said it found Genting and its directors suitable, after a meeting on Thursday. The company will still need to apply for a full gaming licence before Resorts World Las Vegas can open.
Genting officials said construction of the US$4 billion casino-resort would begin this summer, U.S. media reported.
Gaming Commission chairman Peter Bernhard was quoted as saying Genting “clearly has the financial stability and business probity” to build Resorts World Las Vegas. “It will be a game changer and a new step up [for the Strip],” he said quoted by the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Genting’s development would incorporate 80 percent to 85 percent of the buildings in the half-built Echelon project, which stalled amid the financial recession.
Genting bought the site from Boyd Gaming Corp in March 2013 for US$350 million.
A first phase of the project will include a 100,000-square-feet (9,290 square metres) gambling floor, a 3,000-room hotel tower and retail space. The project is due to be completed in 24 to 36 months, the group said.
The second phase will include more space for gambling, a convention centre and more entertainment areas.
Genting officials were quoted as saying the company might also add a theme park in its Las Vegas project. The company has done that in its Resorts World Sentosa in Singapore.
Genting operates gaming facilities around the world, including New York, Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines, and also projects in Europe.
Moody’s Investors Service has said the Las Vegas project is credit negative as it would raise the group’s debt level.
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"I am not going to speculate on what the [casino licence refreshment] tender requirements would be. I have full confidence and faith in the Macau government to treat everyone fairly"
Wilfred Wong Ying Wai
President and chief operating officer of Macau-based casino operator Sands China