(March 19, 2012) Today, IPM News begins a three-part report on the Asian megacasino market, starting with Malaysian-based Genting.
Genting's roots go back to 1964, when the Speaker of Malaysia's lower house of parliament, Tan Sri Haji Mohammed Noah bin Omar, visited a hilltop resort while overseeing the construction of a hydro-electric project in the country's Cameron Highlands. He liked the concept, but wanted something even bigger and more spectacular for his country. In 1971, his resort would open in the Genting Highlands. The investment company he established to build Genting would go on to open and acquire new properties in Singapore, the Phillipines, the United States, and Great Britain and would venture into cruiselines, palm oil production, power generation, paper manufacturing, and oil exploration.
READ THE LATEST GENTING FINANCIALS AT IPM NEWSDOCS
There are four main divisions of the company: Genting Singapore, Genting Malaysia Berhard, Genting Plantations Berhard, and Genting Hong Kong Limited. In this piece, IPM will look at the three divisions that entail hospitality and attractions operations.
Genting Singapore is the operating company of Resorts World Sentosa, owner of one of only two casino licenses in the city-state. The S$6.6 billion 49-hectare resort encompasses six hotels, a casino, a shopping and entertainment district, convention facilities, a maritime museum and aquarium, upcoming marine life park, and Universal Studios Singapore.
Developments over the past year include:
- The grand opening of Universal Studios Florida, fourth of the brand, with attractions unique to Singapore.
- Two restaurants from famed chef Joel Robuchon.
- The opening of Madagascar: A Crate Experience, a water-based dark ride attraction that can only be found at Universal Studios Singapore.
- A partnership with Sea Research Foundation to use the JASON Project Science Program as outreach for the Marine Life Park. This marks the program's introduction in Asia.
- The opening of Transformers: The Ride with Michael Bay in attendance.
- Grand opening of the Experiential Museum and Aquarium with the Typhoon 360 multimedia show.
- Universal Studios Singapore's first parade.
- Malaysian Food Court, in partnership with the country's top food hawkers.
- The opening of the final two hotels: Equarius and Beach Villas.
- Singapore celebrity chef Sam Leong opening the Forest fine dining restaurant.
- Crane Dance multimedia nighttime show is presented with at Thea Award by the TEA this past Saturday.
Resorts World Genting:
This is the original Genting Highlands Resort, recently renamed so as to have a better recognition with the Resorts World brand the company is developing worldwide. Comprised of five hotels, the resort houses over 8,000 rooms, 50 theme park rides, and over 150 dining and retail outlets.
Awana Resorts and Hotels
Awana operates a golf resort and two beachside resorts in Malaysia. The Awana Genting Highlands Golf and Country Club is in close proximity to Resorts World Genting and features an 18-hole championship golf course in the midst of a mountaintop rainforest. The Awana Kijal, East Coast Golf, Beach & Spa Resort includes an oceanside course and trips to local cultural treasures. Awana Porto Malai is designed in a Mediterranean style and located in a chain of 99 tropical islands.
Resorts World Casino New York City
Just miles from JFK airport, this casino on the grounds of the Aqueduct Racetrack, opened in October 2011 with 2500 video lottery and electronic gaming tables. Things are about to change as last week, New York's legislature agreed to amend the state constitution and allow legal gambling parlors. Although the locations of the seven licensees will not be announced until next year, Gensing has been donating substantially to state and local politicians, and the company has not tried to keep the donations quiet. In addition to public outcry over Genting's "questionable" but legal lobbying strategy, controversy has also arisen over Mayer Bloomberg's plans to build a convention center at the casino with city funds.
Resorts World Miami
Genting has proposed a US$3 billion casino resort on the downtown Miami wanterfront. The design, from architectural firm Arquitectonica (City of Dreams), is tied in to the new performing arts center and new art and science museums under construction within the district. As the first stage of the project, the company purchased the Omni Center and Hilton Hotel in November 2011. Under SB710, the Destination Resorts Bill, the state will grant three licenses to all inclusive casino resort operations. As with many proposals for casino development, there is public opposition, but Genting is working with community groups to work towards compromise on any issues at hand. Should the law not be passed or Genting not be granted a license, the company plans on developing the site, but scaled back, with a lower budget, and an extended timeframe to completion.
Genting is the largest casino operator in the UK, operating under the brand names Crockfords, Maxims, Colony Club, Palm Beach, Circus, and Mint. In the past few weeks, the Mint in Bristol was renamed Gensing Casino Bristol as part of the company's new rebranding strategy. In addition to physical locations, Genting also operates online casinos in the UK and is set in 2015 to open Resorts World at the NEC, a casino and entertainment resort attached to Birmingham's National Exhibition Centre.
GENTING HONG KONG
A cruise line operator since 1993, Genting Hong Kong has now branched out to land based entertainment. The division encompasses three businesses: Norwegian Cruise Lines, Star Cruises, and Resorts World Manilla.
With three hotels, a performing arts center, cinema, and shopping center, Resorts World Manilla is ideally located directly a block from Terminal 3 at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, the largest of the airport's three terminals with flights arriving daily via All Nippon Airways from Japan, a country where gambling is officially illegal. The resort is a joint venture with Philippine conglomerate Alliance Global.
Acquired in 2000, by Star Cruises, Genting sold a half interest in Norwegian Cruise Lines in 2007 to Apollo Management for US$1 billion. The line is currently owned jointly by Genting, Apollo, and TPG, with Genting holding a 50% stake. Last week, NCL announced that its newest ship, the Norwegian Breakaway, set to launch next year, will feature new concept called "The Waterfront and 678 Ocean Place."
Located on Deck 8, The Waterfront is a "revolutionary" outdoor experience that adds a whole new dimension to the line's signature "Freestyle Cruising," by offering a number of seaside venues that feature breathtaking views and a sense of connection with the ocean. The hub of the ship is 678 Ocean Place, a space that uniquely flows, intertwines and connects three decks of daytime and nighttime amusements. There will be a total of 17 dining venues combined on both 678 Ocean Place and The Waterfront, along with 12 bars and lounges. Norwegian will also introduce a new dining concept on Norwegian Breakaway, Ocean Blu, the line's first ever all-seafood restaurant, which will include a premium raw bar, along with a separate sushi bar.
Together NCL and Star Cruises have 18 ships that make port at over 200 destinations worldwide. Star operates primarily in the Pacific, stopping in China, Japan, Taiwan, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. Though the two cruise lines might be in different parts of the world, when it comes to entertainment there's one thing their ships share - an onboard casino.