Resorts World Las Vegas, to be built by the Malaysia-based Genting Group, came one step closer to reality when a three-member panel of the Nevada Gaming Control Board gave preliminary approval for a range of applications by the company, such as the suitability of officers, directors and shareholders, Genting’s registration as a public company and its interactive subsidiary for mobile gaming and a loyalty program. The recommendation will go to the Nevada Gaming Commission for final approval on 19th May, 2016.
Resorts World broke ground in May 2015, with an elaborate ceremony including a traditional Chinese lion dance and remarks from the guests, including Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval and the Lt. Governor Mark Hutchison. Resorts World is being built on the north end of the Las Vegas Strip, where the Boyd Gaming Group’s Stardust Resort used to stand. Boyd imploded the Stardust Resort, and was planning another resort called Echelon, but abandoned the project, citing the ongoing recession at that time.
Resorts World will Create a “New and Unique” Destination
The chairman of the Genting Group, K.T. Lim, informed the Nevada Gaming Board members that his company’s goal for Resorts World was to complement the Las Vegas Strip’s existing resorts, while at the same time creating a “new and unique” destination. He commented that he was “very excited and engaged” with the plans for the resort moving forward. According to the current plans, the Chinese-themed Resorts World is expected to include a hotel tower with more than 3,000 rooms, a 150,000-square-foot casino and various other attractions such as 45 different stores and restaurants, an observation deck to rival that of the Stratosphere, a giant aquarium with many exotic creatures, a terra cotta warriors exhibit, a scaled-down replica of the Great Wall, and many more.
Delayed Construction Expected to Resume in the 4th Quarter of 2016
Resorts World general counsel Gerard Gardner told the three-member panel of the Nevada Gaming Board that full-time construction would get underway in the fourth quarter of 2016. Gardner projected that Resorts World would open in 2019, a year later than its earlier opening date of 2018. Gardner attributed the delay in construction to the “complex design” of the project. He also pointed to weakness in the Chinese economy and with the Malaysian currency as factors leading to a delay in the timeline of the project. Once building activity is in full swing, the project is expected to create about 5,000 direct jobs, according to Gardner.
Resorts World Could Become a Threat to Wynn Resorts and MGM Resorts International
Resorts World will be located across the Strip from the two Wynn properties, Wynn Resorts and Encore Resorts. Wynn’s properties together provide 4,748 rooms. An extra supply of more than 3,000 rooms at Resorts World could push down occupancy and room rates. MGM is currently dominating the Las Vegas Strip, with its twelve major properties. MGM is mostly focused on the south end of the Strip, where its new T Mobile Arena just opened, and where its other properties, including Mandalay Bay, stand. MGM has properties at the north end of the Strip as well, such as the Mirage, which could be hurt by Resorts World. In addition, if Resorts World is successful in pulling interest and traffic towards the north end of the Strip, MGM’s mass-market appeal at the south end of the Strip could take a hit. Of course, it is also possible that a new major development such as Resorts World could draw even more tourists to Las Vegas and increase total visitor numbers. But given the intense competition on the four-mile stretch of land which is the Las Vegas Strip, the impact of any new entrant must be watched closely by the current incumbents.