Genting Borrows $1 Billion to Finish Resorts World Las Vegas

Posted on: April 5, 2019, 03:30h. 

Last updated on: April 5, 2019, 03:30h.

Malaysian casino giant Genting announced in a filing to the Malaysian stock exchange, Bursa Malaysia, Wednesday that its Las Vegas subsidiary, RWLV, had sold a $1 billion, ten-year bond to finance the completion of the $4 billion Resorts World Las Vegas.

Resorts World Las Vegas
A rendering of Resorts World Las Vegas, although the finished product is likely to have modifications after Wynn Resorts complained about similarities to its properties just across the Strip. (Image: Resorts World Las Vegas)

The project, which will be the Las Vegas Strip’s first new megaresort in more than a decade, was initially slated to open in 2016 but has been delayed several times due to redesigns.

Genting acquired the pocket of land on which the legendary Stardust Casino once stood for $350 million in 2013. The Stardust was demolished by Boyd Gaming in 2007 and the plot had been semi-vacant since the abandonment of Boyd’s Echelon project a year later when the recession kicked in. Resorts World Las Vegas is now scheduled to open in 2020.

Genting said the proceeds of the bond sale will be used to finance the remaining costs of designing, developing, and building the project, as well as for working capital and to cover the costs of opening the facility.

Wynn Spat

The most recent redesign was triggered by a legal dispute with Wynn Resorts, which filed suit against the Malaysian company, claiming Resorts Las Vegas was too similar to its own Wynn Las Vegas and Wynn Encore, based just across the Strip. Wynn Resorts said this amounted to copyright infringement and a violation of its “architectural trade dress.”

The lawsuit sought a temporary injunction to halt the Resorts World project while the concave hotel tower and bronze glass — which Wynn claimed have become trademarks of its properties — were removed.

The two companies settled out of court after Genting presented new design changes that resolved the matter to Wynn’s satisfaction, while offering “minimal impact to cost and the overall project timeline,” according to Genting’s senior vice president for public affairs and development, Michael Levoff.

$440 Million Write Down

The 3,100-room hotel-casino with a 150,000-square-foot casino floor hopes to attract a large Chinese clientele, as well as tourists from the US and all around the world.

Genting, owned by Malaysian billionaire Lim Kok Thay, operates opulent Resorts World integrated resorts in Malaysia, Singapore, The Philippines, and elsewhere. It has a market capitalization of more than $40 billion, with more than five different publicly traded companies forming the Genting Group.

The company’s bid to build a $1 billion casino in Massachusetts in partnership with the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe was thrown into jeopardy last year when the US Department of the Interior ruled that the previous administration had taken land into trust to the tribe in error and reversed the decision.

Genting was forced to declare a $440 million impairment charge in its Q3 accounts, representing financial backing extended to the Mashpee for the proposed casino.