Genting says Malaysian resort set for record year

Singapore (Reuters) – Leisure group Genting Bhd said on Tuesday its Malaysian resort is set for a record year in terms of revenues, thanks to rising regional tourism.

Genting Chairman Lim Kok Thay told reporters that its Malaysian operations would not be affected if it won the bid to build and operate Singapore’s second casino resort.

„The pie is growing. Asians love to game. The Chinese and Indian markets are expected to grow substantially,“ he added.

„Macau has not affected us, and we’re seeing a record year in terms of business.“

Gambling is hugely popular in Asia and receipts generated in Macau’s casinos are already exceeding those from Las Vegas.

Genting unit Resorts World Bhd runs a casino resort in Malaysia’s hill-town of Genting, which sees about 20 million visitors a year.

The group, bidding through affiliates Genting International and cruise operator Star Cruises Ltd., has submitted one of the three billion-dollar bids from three international gaming and leisure consortiums for the 49-hectare site on Singapore’s resort island of Sentosa.

Genting’s proposal includes movie-based roller-coaster rides built by theme parks giant Universal Studios.

Bahamas-based casino operator Kerzner International and CapitaLand, Southeast Asia’s largest property developer, have submitted a USD 3.3-billion concept headlined by Frank Gehry, the architect of the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao.

The costliest bid at USD 3.5 billion was submitted by resort builder Mark Advent, who is leading a four-partner consortium comprising of his privately-held Eighth Wonder, Mississippi-based Isle of Capri Casinos Inc. as well as Australian tycoon James Packer’s Publishing and Broadcasting Ltd. and Melco International Development, controlled by Lawrence Ho, son of Macau gambling magnate Stanley Ho.

A panel of seven government ministers will award the 30-year concession in the first two weeks of December.

The resort is expected to operate from 2010.

In May, U.S. gambling giant Las Vegas Sands won the bid for Singapore’s first casino resort along its downtown waterfront. Expected at a cost of more than SGD 3.2 billion, the resort is set to open by early 2010.