The Nevada Gaming Commission found Malaysia-based Genting Berhad suitable to do business in the state, and company officials said Thursday construction would begin this summer on the $4 billion Resorts World Las Vegas.
The development is located on the 87-acre Strip site that once was home to the Stardust and where the unfinished Echelon stands.
Gaming Commissioner Tony Alamo Jr. said he’s ruled on 17 gaming industry reorganizations and debt restructurings since joining the panel in 2008. He told Genting executives the company was a welcome addition to the Strip and Nevada market.
Gaming Commission Chairman Peter Bernhard said 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),” Bernhard said.
The Gaming Control Board recommended approval on the company’s application May 7 following a more-than-two-hour presentation that included nearly a dozen company officials.
Thursday’s hearing at the Sawyer Building took about an hour and was attended by just two Genting executives, President and Chief Operating Officer Kong Han Tan and Christian Goode, who oversees Genting’s Americas division. The commission waived the appearances of the other applicants.
The commission was given a longer presentation on Resorts World Las Vegas, than on the company, which collected $5.2 billion in revenue in 2013, has cash on hand of more than $5 billion and has just $3 billion in long-term debt.
Bernhard said the panel had the benefit of reading the minutes from the Control Board’s hearing and the background material from the more than yearlong investigation.
Genting was given a preliminary finding of suitability to hold a state gaming license. The company will still need to apply for a full gaming license before Resorts World Las Vegas can open.
Construction will take place over multiple years and includes at least two or three phases.
The initial phase will include 3,000 hotel rooms, a casino with a combined 3,500 slot machines and table games, 30 food and beverage outlets, a 4,000-seat theater and an elaborate garden attraction that will serve as the property’s front door to the Strip.
“We want to bring something new to Las Vegas,” Goode told the commission. “That is the goal on the project.”
Genting will build a rooftop sky park and observation deck atop the 674-foot-tall tower, whose height already has been approved by the Federal Aviation Administration.
Other attractions include a 50,000-square-foot, 58-foot-tall aquarium that will feature a variety of exotic fish.
Goode said site development is underway on the north Strip land. He said the first phase would account for 8,500 direct jobs and 3,300 indirect jobs.
Goode said Genting plans to incorporate 80 percent to 85 percent of the Echelon buildings into Resorts World. He said it will take 24 to 36 months to complete the project’s first phase.
Genting has a market capitalization of more than $40 billion and operates casinos around the world, including Resorts Worlds in Singapore, Malaysia and Manila, Philippines, and at New York’s Aqueduct Racetrack.
Genting has five publicly traded entities that operate casinos and other investments.
Genting also has investments and businesses in biotech/life science research, energy production, oil and gas exploration, plantations and property development.
Bernhard asked about the only issue raised during the Control Board hearing, which concerned fines leveled against Genting’s Resorts World Sentosa in Singapore over minors being in the casino and allowing customers to remain in the casino beyond the 24-hour time limit.
Las Vegas attorney Mark Clayton, who was representing Genting, said changes were made to compliance procedures and the matters were addressed.
Contact reporter Howard Stutz at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-477-3871. Follow @howardstutz on Twitter.