Genting Making Move in Las Vegas

Genting plans to develop a sprawling betting and entertainment facility.

The operator of the successful Aqueduct casino is expanding its holdings in the United States gambling industry with the purchase of an 87-acre parcel in Las Vegas that it plans to develop into a sprawling betting and entertainment facility.

The purchase by The Genting Group of the Echelon site on the Las Vegas strip from Boyd Gaming Group represents the second gambling venture in the United States outside of the Malaysian-based company's racino facility at Aqueduct Racetrack.

The price tag for the new deal totals $350 million and includes a development plan that officials would only say would amount to multiple billions of dollars.

While Nevada officials were praising the deal for the jobs and tourists it will bring, the spread of Genting's reach to Las Vegas comes as the company is expected to use its increasing presence in the international and domestic gambling market to convince New York officials to let it run a full-blown casino at the Queens racetrack or to possibly develop one or more of the up to seven casinos state officials are hoping to add in New York state.

The plan for Resorts World Las Vegas, when its first phase is complete in 2016, is massive. It calls for 3,500 hotel rooms, 175,000 square feet of gambling space, 210,000 square feet of dining areas, 250,000 square feet of retail stores, 500,000 square feet of convention center space, a 4,000-seat theater, and 300,000 square feet of pool areas.

The announcement attracted Genting Group Chairman KT Lim, Gov. Brian Sandoval, and U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada.

The company expects to break ground on the project in 2014. Besides its properties in the United States, Genting Group runs resorts in Malaysia, Singapore, the United Kingdom, the Philippines and has a 45% stake in the Norwegian Cruise Line and Star Cruises.

The Las Vegas purchase is expected to bolster the company's ability to compete in the race for new casino development in New York state if officials approve a second piece of legislation for up to seven casinos and if voters say yes in a statewide referendum that could happen as early as this November. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who last year embraced a massive development project at Aqueduct that could include a full-blown casino run by Genting, has said the state should be interested in proven operators with "destination-style'' plans to run any new casinos New York might approve.