The former Stardust, and almost Echelon, will soon become Resorts World Las Vegas. The long-planned-out project has finally gotten its regulatory approvals and can now move forward with the building phase.

Genting Resorts World Las Vegas approved NGC

A computer generation of the proposed Resorts World Las Vegas, which will include a “celestial sphere” that will reportedly flash hotel guests’ selfies. Maybe what happens in Vegas won’t be staying in Vegas after all. (Image: Genting Group)

Malaysia’s Genting Group received approval for its $4 billion Chinese-themed Resorts World just this week. On May 19, the Nevada Gaming Commission (NGC) rubber stamped the licenses of several Genting execs, which should pave the way for construction of Resorts World, Sin City’s first megaresort in a decade, to begin sometime towards the end of the year.

The 3,100-room hotel-casino with a 150,000-square-foot casino floor is expected to be completed in early 2019, and hopes to attract a large Chinese clientele, as well as tourists from the US, of course, and a global clientele as well.

Genting acquired the pocket of land on which the legendary Stardust Casino once stood for a mere $350 million in 2013. The land plot had been semi-vacant since 2008, following the abandonment of Boyd Gaming’s Echelon project after the Great Recession hit Vegas right in the gut.

“Celestial” Selfies

In a two-hour presentation, Genting officials serenaded the NGC with its plans for Resorts World. The property will feature, on its topmost tower, a “celestial sphere” that will momentarily flash images of guests’ “selfies,” a feature that Genting said would appeal to the Millennial crowd. Can you say “what could go wrong?”

And for those anxious to escape the hustle of the casino, there will be an enormous Chinese garden, offering peaceful repose, overlooked by restaurants. And who doesn’t long for a 50-foot replica of a Chinese lantern? Yup, that’s coming, too.

The commission was suitably impressed, although its approval comes as little surprise. Two weeks ago, the project was formally approved by the Gaming Control Board (GCB), which had spent several years assessing Genting’s suitability, and Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval has been behind the project from the get-go.

“This is a very successful and historic company,” he said, when Genting first announced its interest in the project. “I wanted to let them know we were very interested in having them come here.”

Taking it to the Next Echelon

And while the unfinished Echelon stood as a dilapidated monument to some of Vegas’ bleakest years, the planned megaresort, which will build upon part of the unfinished Echelon structure, represents the city’s financial rebirth. It will also add some pizzazz to the north end of the Strip.

Owned by Malaysian billionaire Lim Kok Thay, Genting operates several luxurious Resorts World properties across East Asia, and is currently the largest operator of land-based casinos in the UK, with 47 properties. It has a market capitalization of more than $40 billion, with more than five different publicly traded companies forming the Genting Group.

Having listened to the presentation and examined the corporate profiling of Genting, gaming commissioners voted their approval unanimously.