Resorts World Las Vegas – described by the city’s media as the first 3,000-plus rooms casino property planned for the Nevada gambling hub in more than a decade – is due to open in mid-2018, it was announced on Tuesday.
Malaysian conglomerate Genting Group gave the news in a press release to mark a ground breaking ceremony for the US$4-billion scheme (pictured in an artist’s rendering). The ceremony was attended by Nevada governor Brian Sandoval and Clark County commissioners.
The release didn’t confirm the number of rooms for the scheme, which is on the site of the abandoned Echelon project – land formerly controlled by United States-based operator Boyd Gaming Corp – at the northern end of the Las Vegas Strip.
According to previous press reports, the new property will be Chinese-themed and include four accommodation towers, a 175,000-square foot (16,258-sq metre) casino, a 4,000-seat theatre, an aquarium, a giant panda exhibit, an indoor water park and a replica of the Great Wall of China.
Tuesday’s press statement referred to “three hotels; multiple restaurants featuring a variety of authentic, regional Chinese cuisines; over 100,000 square feet of innovative gaming space; numerous retail offerings; and a top-tier nightlife venue,” adding that further announcements would come “throughout the construction process”.
The structure of the global casino gaming market has changed in the 12 months since Genting Group got the go ahead from the Nevada authorities for Resorts World Las Vegas, according to a March report from Morgan Stanley Asia Ltd.
“The global VIP market has contracted by 8 percent in 2014, largely due to the corruption crackdown in China and junket liquidity crunch that drove 12 percent decline in the VIP business in Macau in 2014,” the research house estimated in its report.
Genting units running casinos in Singapore and Malaysia have recently experienced a downturn in business linked by some analysts to a slowing of the Chinese VIP market.
Las Vegas media previously indicated that Resorts World Las Vegas would have a combined total of 3,500 slot machines and table games. Gaming inventory wasn’t mentioned in the latest press statement from the company.
Genting Group’s Tuesday announcement claimed the construction phase would create “more than 30,000 person years” of direct and indirect employment, which it defined as “one person employed for one year”. Once in operation, Resorts World Las Vegas is predicted to sustain more 13,000 direct and indirect jobs, added the press statement.
“Genting Group looks forward to being a part of the city’s continued growth by creating a huge national and international draw with this Chinese themed world-class resort,” KT Lim, chairman and chief executive of Genting Group, was quoted saying.
“Resorts World Las Vegas will truly help grow the Las Vegas market by attracting greater numbers of visitors, conventions and shows to our state,” Governor Sandoval was additionally quoted saying in the same release.
It was reported in June last year that Resorts World Las Vegas would incorporate up to 85 percent of the structures already put up in the part-built Echelon project.
Genting bought the 87-acre (35.2-hectare) site from Boyd Gaming in 2013 for US$350 million. Boyd Gaming halted construction on Echelon during the global financial crisis in 2008.
In May 2014, the Nevada Gaming Commission granted Genting Group preliminary approval of suitability. The company will need to apply for a full gaming licence before Resorts World Las Vegas can open.
Genting also runs Malaysia’s only casino property – Resorts World Genting. Via various operating units Genting also has casino interests in New York City, the Bahamas, the United Kingdom, Singapore, the Philippines and in February broke ground on a scheme in Jeju, South Korea.
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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