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Genting Group Backs Off Florida Casino Proposal

Malaysian Gambling Company Will Instead Rely On State Legislators


An Artist's Rendering Of The Proposed Casino ResortMalaysian-based gambling company Genting Group announced last week that it has decided to stop pushing for the approval of a destination casino in South Florida by the voters and will instead wait and see what happens with the state’s two-year survey of the gaming market.

Genting previously spent almost $1 million on campaign donations, lawyers, lobbyists and media consultants, hoping to get the issue on the 2014 November ballot before the legislation died.

Genting chairman Colin Au had promised the creation of 100,000 new jobs stemming from the Miami casino resort, but the bill that would allow the casino to be built was fiercely opposed by the Seminole Indian Tribe, who operates seven of the state’s eight casinos, as well as the Florida Chamber of Commerce and the Walt Disney company, who felt that a Las Vegas-style destination resort could infringe on their cut of the state’s tourism dollars.

The state Senate has created a special committee to hear from a number of different gambling-relate interests, including Genting. The committee is expected to report on their findings in 2014.

“It just makes absolute sense to work with the House and Senate in a collaborative way,” said Brian Ballard, a Genting lobbyist.

The site of the Miami Herald building and the Omni Hotel, for which the company spent $400 million, remains unused. Genting has said that if they are not given approval to build a casino, they will scale back the project and use the land for a non-gaming hotel instead.