The Genting Group may have failed to bring a casino to Miami, but that hasn’t stopped them from tapping into the local market. It seems that if they can’t build a casino in the city, Genting wants to do the next best thing: bring the city to their nearest casino.
Seeking Port Agreement with Miami
That’s why Genting is seeking to enter into an agreement with Port Miami that will allow the company to run a small cruise ship from the port. The ship, which would be able to carry more than 1,500 passengers, would run from Miami to a new casino in Bimini that Genting recently opened. The trip would take only about two hours, and would allow Genting to tap into a lucrative gambling market.
The move comes after Genting failed in a bid to open a casino in Miami itself. The company purchased the former headquarters of the Miami Herald in 2011, hoping to build a casino on the site. However, anticipated changes to state gaming regulations did not materialize, meaning the casino project had to be abandoned. Genting still plans on using the site to build a hotel and residential complex under the name Resorts World Miami.
The agreement between Genting and Miami will have Genting pay about $11 million to help refurbish Terminal H, which will then be used by the new ship. Over time, Genting will have that money reimbursed to them through rent credits. Genting is expected to pay about $7 million each year in rent to the port. The agreement will be voted on by the County Commission in July.
Docked in Port
In the meantime, the new ship – known as the Resorts World Bimini SuperFast – is already docked in Port Miami, and will make its first run to Bimini momentarily; as soon as Resorts World Bimini opens for business on the site of what was formerly the Bimini Bay Resort.
Genting hopes that the cruise ship will allow the new Bimini casino to attract patrons from Florida, but industry veterans believe that might be a tough sell. Local casinos in the area, such as the Seminole Hard Rock Casino, are much larger and more accessible than the Bimini location.
“There are some good gaming offerings already in South Florida,” said Howard Karawan, the former operator of the Atlantis casino resort in Nassau. “While Bimini has some nice offerings, there’s going to have to be more than just a little casino to attract them over there.”