Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2011 | 8:59 a.m.
A top executive with Malaysian-based gaming giant Genting Group said his company is taking dead aim at Las Vegas with its plans to build a multibillion-dollar casino resort in Miami, where it hopes to create a market that would capture one-third of the estimated 13 million East Coast tourists who visit the Strip annually.
Colin Au, president of Genting Americas, told The Miami Herald that major casino resorts in Miami would lure high-stakes gamblers from the East Coast and Texas and away from Las Vegas, snatching $1 billion to $2 billion in annual revenue from Southern Nevada.
The Harvard Business School-educated Au told The Herald that if Miami International Airport operators are unable to schedule non-stop flights from Asia to Miami, Genting is "prepared to bankroll and subsidize some of the flights."
"We will tell China Eastern, or Air China, that we will guarantee 50 percent of the seats," he said.
Genting and Sheldon Adelson's Las Vegas Sands operate Singapore's two giant gaming properties in a market that is projected to surpass Las Vegas next year for the No. 2 revenue spot among the world's largest gaming markets, trailing only Macau. Representatives of the two companies have lobbied Florida lawmakers much of this year to pass legislation that would permit the opening of the South Florida gaming properties.
Genting is prepared to open a temporary casino in downtown Miami within four months of receiving a casino license, Au said.
"We are not after the little old lady in Hialeah with $25," he told said. "We are after New Yorkers with thousands."