Commercial Gaming

Resorts World Miami Monorail Proposal to Receive Government Review

Resorts World Miami parent developer Genting Group wants to expand the city’s monorail to Miami Beach. Last week, the Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners signed off on allocating $14 million for a detailed design of the roughly four-mile extension.

If casino giant Genting gets its way, Miami’s Metromover public transportation system will one day be linked to Miami Beach. (Image: Getty)

Ten of the 12 Miami-Dade commissioners voted in favor of contracting engineers. They would be tasked to review the feasibility of extending the Miami Metromover from Adrienne Arsht Center/Omni Terminal east via the MacArthur Causeway to Miami Beach.

Malaysia-based Genting, which owns and operates casino resorts in Malaysia, UK, Philippines, and the US, is behind the effort to link South Beach to downtown Miami. The conglomerate paid $236 million in 2011 for 30 acres of land located between MacArthur Causeway and NE 15th Street. Part of the land was previously the home of the Miami Herald, its address One Herald Plaza.

Genting has for years campaigned for Florida lawmakers to end the Seminole Tribe’s monopoly on gambling, and welcome in commercial casino operators. If that should happen, Genting has expressed interest in building a Resorts World-branded multibillion-dollar integrated resort casino on its undeveloped land.

Beach Foes

Metromover is a free transportation service that runs seven days a week in the downtown Miami area. Its major destinations include American Airlines Arena, Bayside Marketplace, and Miami-Dade College.

Providing free transportation from various parts of downtown Miami to Miami Beach has received hostility among those across Biscayne Bay on the white sandy beaches. Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber (D) urged the Miami-Dade Board of Commissioners to reject the $14 million Metromover study.

[Commissioners] rushed into a plan that we will likely be living with for decades, if not generations,” Gelber declared.

In 2019, the Miami Beach mayor opined that “gambling is an existential threat to our community fabric and our quality of life.

I believe that most or all of my Commission will strenuously object to any plan that might allow for, or even contemplate, a casino that is placed nearby or that is actually tethered to our community,” Gelber said in a letter to the Miami-Dade commissioners. “Our City has for many years opposed casino gaming within our city limits or outside our gateways.”

Genting Community Partner

Genting has offered to provide the upfront funds for the Metromover line to Miami Beach, which could cost up to $700 million. Genting, along with Meridiam would provide the funding for the extension, and then receive approximately $60 million a year from Miami-Dade. Meridiam is a French firm that invests in infrastructure.

The final contractual arrangement would be decided should the county decide to move forward with the project.

The monorail extension would allow Genting’s proposed Resorts World Miami complex to offer guests beachfront access via a short ride on the Metromover. Funding the infrastructure could sway public opinion on Genting’s commercial gambling effort, and prompt state lawmakers to push legislation in the Tallahassee capital to end the Seminole’s reign.

The Miami-Dade Board of Commissioners expects the monorail feasibility study to take 18 months to complete.

Devin O'Connor

Gaming Legislation, Politics, Casino Business, Entertainment----Devin O’Connor’s passion for politics and background in the world of pop culture television give him insight into the gaming industry backstories that often drive news these days. After graduating from Penn State University with a theater arts degree, he worked at MTV Networks/Viacom from 2005 to 2010 as a writer and producer, where his credits included Total Request Live, New Year's Eve specials, and a special featuring poker superstar Daniel Negreanu. He later moved on to the HGTV/DIY Network, where he created, wrote, and produced three series specials: That's So House Hunters, That's So 80s, and That's So 90s. Devin came on board with Casino.org in 2014. He lives in Pennsylvania, and is an avid marathoner, having completed 15 races to date. Email: devin.oconnor@casino.org

Published by
Devin O'Connor