Resorts World, which will be owned and managed by Genting Group, has received its final required permissions from the NGC (Nevada Gaming Commission). The most interesting part about this approval is the location of the new casino. Expected to launch in 2019, Resorts World will be located at one of the most depressing locations in Las Vegas. The site, on the northern end of the Strip, is home to a late 2000’s project run by Boyd Gaming which was supposed to produce a casino known as Echelon in Las Vegas. The 2008 financial crisis halted the progress, and the casino was never opened, making it somewhat of a ghost town.
Today Boyd Gaming is running a number of successful casinos, including online, but they will not be a part of this new brand. Resorts World has been built up and promoted heavily over the past several months, and this was the last real step required before actual building could commence. It is a well known fact in the gaming industry (particularly in Las Vegas) that entertainment, hotels, dining and other non-gambling activities have been taking more and more cuts out of gambling revenue each year. This is why the Resorts World Las Vegas casino is an interesting approach to brick and mortar gaming in 2016. Instead of going smaller on the gaming side, Genting is instead doing the opposite and building a 150,000 square foot casino floor.
The goal of Resorts World is to attract what has long been the most valued clientele for Las Vegas casinos; overseas visitors. They are seeking to attract visitors from Asia, and even more specifically, China. Residents of China regularly fly to Las Vegas for gambling trips and they are frequently some of the biggest players in the room; especially when it comes to baccarat (and blackjack, on occasion).
China’s recent economic struggles have, in turn, hit Las Vegas casinos in the wallet. Since so much of gaming revenue was being derived from these Asian players, the lack of free flowing money in their home countries has meant less to play with when they come to visit Las Vegas. Macau, too, has seen a decrease in play. Of course, Genting is predicting that this will turn around in time, as most economic cycles do.
Betting on the Asian market is a wise move, as visitors do not need to be of Asian descent themselves to appreciate Asian culture, be it Japanese, Taiwanese, Vietnamese, Chinese, or otherwise. The Taj Mahal in Atlantic City is the perfect example of an Asian themed casino that was once the biggest attraction among all casinos in the country. It will be interesting to see how this $4 billion casino plays out, and whether or not Boyd was onto something with the location itself.