Nevada's first OK for execs

Genting to expand US presence as market helps Asian giant drive recovery

Genting's Resorts World Las Vegas.
Reading time 3:11 min

Gaming and hospitality giant Genting, the owner of Resorts World Las Vegas, is set to expand its presence in the US after a group of executives got initial approval from Nevada regulators on Wednesday. The company, led by Malaysian billionaire Lim Kok Thay, will be rolling out new products in the market, as growing contributions from its New York and Las Vegas casinos helped the group narrow its losses in 2021, reports Forbes.

The company posted last month its financial report for the past year, in which Genting faced a MYR 1.4 billion ($333.3 million) loss, down from a MYR 2 billion ($477.7 million) loss the prior year. Additionally, the group was able to post MYR 4.8 billion ($1.1 billion) revenue in Q4 2021, up from MYR 3 billion ($716 million) in the prior comparable period. 

While revenue and EBITDA of Resorts World Sentosa in Singapore declined in Q4 amid a decrease in visitorship due to an increase in Covid-19 cases in the region, Resorts World Genting in Malaysia was able to see a slight increase in both regards, mainly due to higher business volume from the gaming and non-gaming segments after resumption of operations in September.

Resorts World Sentosa

Leisure and hospitality businesses in both the UK and Egypt also saw a higher revenue in Q4, with land-based casinos in the United Kingdom recording an improved performance since a reopening in mid-May 2021.

But it is Genting’s US operations that partly drove recovery for the group, with Resorts World New York City posting a strong operating performance since a full lifting of Covid-19 restrictions in June 2021. Consequently, EBITDA improved due to higher revenue, partially offset by higher payroll and related costs following the opening of new facilities at RWNYC.

Resorts World Las Vegas also saw positive cash flow, continuing to build its base of business and databases during the period. The property hit 75% of its cash flow projections during 2021 and is making plans for a second phase of the $4.3 billion, 3,500-room Strip hotel and casino. Construction of the state-of-the-art venue was completed in Q4, with the opening of a 5,000-seat theater and other amenities. Moreover, the resort posted 80% occupancy for its hotel over the quarter, up from 55% in Q3.

On Wednesday, RWLV President Scott Sibella and six Genting executives appeared at a hearing before the Nevada Gaming Control Board to be licensed in a second wave of company leaders being vetted by regulators because they weren’t present when the board reviewed executives for licensing before the property opened in June, Las Vegas Review-Journal reports. The executives were unanimously recommended for licensing approval with final approval to be considered by the Nevada Gaming Commission on March 17. 

RWLV’s positive results were in line with the strong recovery achieved by Nevada casinos, which in 2021 posted an all-time high of $13.4 billion as Covid-19 restrictions in the gambling mecca eased. “Upon opening, RWLV experienced a large number of guests enjoying the property’s various offerings,” the company says, while expecting to “keep the momentum.”

Resorts World Las Vegas

In an effort to further strengthen its position in the US market, Genting now targets this summer for the opening of a video gaming facility in Hudson Valley, reports the cited source. The site is set to be located about an hour’s drive north of Resorts World Catskills and a two-hour drive from RWNYC.

And on Thursday, just in time for March Madness, Resorts World New York launched its Resorts WorldBET sports wagering product. While the sportsbook is set to face stiff competition in the Empire State market, it also gains the company a presence in what has quickly become the US top market for sports gaming since commencing operations in January this year.

As the bulk of earnings for the group comes from its Singapore and Malaysia casinos, its flagship properties, contributions from US and UK remain relatively small in comparison. However, experts predict both Asian markets could move towards further reopening their borders, driving the group to become profitable again this year.

Resorts World Malaysia

Both casinos were heavily impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, with the tourism industry facing its consequences. The company now is confident in recovery and that the venues will be “well-positioned” to lead hospitality and entertainment in a post-pandemic context.

This doesn’t, however, imply Genting will leave its US operations behind. Going forward, the gaming giant claims it will leverage a Hilton branding partnership at RWLV with over 123 million Hilton Honors Members, and capitalize on an expected return of the convention business with the venue’s proximity to the Las Vegas Convention Center expansion.

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