Since opening in 1971, Genting Highlands – now known as Resorts World Genting – has been the only legal place to engage in land-based gambling in all of Malaysia. But the massive resort is aging, and the Genting Group thinks it’s about time to give the popular resort a makeover.
Resorts World Facelift
That’s why Genting has decided to spend over 3 billion ringgit ($937 million) over the next five years to refurbish and upgrade Resorts World Genting, hopefully turning it into a world-class resort venue. The move comes as Genting has reportedly been assured by the Malaysian government that their casino license will be renewed for the foreseeable future, as the facility operates on unusually short three-month gaming licenses that have been renewed continuously since 1971.
The upgrades to the current facility are expected to take several forms. For instance, Genting will add another 1,300 hotel rooms, which should help the resort deal with increased interest by visitors from China and Singapore.
But the most exciting addition may well be a new theme park that will be opened through a partnership with 20th Century Fox. The theme park will cover 25 acres of land and is expected to offer more than 25 rides and attractions themed around Fox movie properties like Alien, Ice Age, and Night at the Museum. The theme part will likely open in 2016.
“This landmark development is our first response to the growing demand for theme parks with a cinematic nature,” said Genting CEO Lim Kok Thay.
While experts say that Resorts World Genting may not have quite as much to offer as the two casinos located in Singapore (one of which is also owned by Resorts World), the Singapore government has recently made moves to crack down on locals gaming at the casinos hosted in their country. As in several other markets (many of which have large Muslim populations), both Singapore and Malaysia allow casino gambling, but only for foreign visitors – not for their own nationals. As such, while the Highlands isn’t a particularly convenient location for Singaporeans, they still make up about half of the visitors to the facility.
Nestled in Mountains
Resorts World Genting is a unique attraction in a country that otherwise strictly controls the gambling industry. The resort, located within the Titiwangsa Mountains, is about one hour away from Kuala Lumpur by car. It can also be accessed through a cable car system known as Genting Skyway, which was once the world’s fastest gondola lift. We’re not sure who’s going around measuring gondola lifts against each other, but that’s the story, anyway.
The new additions to the resort will be joining an already impressive array of attractions. The new Fox theme park will join three existing theme parks, including a water park and both indoor and outdoor parks, which feature over 20 signature attractions. Meanwhile, the new hotel will be the sixth on the site, the largest of which is the First World Hotel, which has 6,118 rooms and was once the largest hotel in the world. The facility also includes several arenas and performance venues that host awards ceremonies and artists from around the world.