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Sin City’s $4 Billion Chinese-Themed Resort –

coverchinese09062016Imagine a casino hotel that combines the glamour of the Las Vegas Strip with the history of China. We’re not talking about Macau here, we’re referring to an upcoming addition to Sin City that will introduce an undeniable infusion of Chinese flair to America’s gambling oasis. What was once the site of the Stardust casino is currently on its way to becoming a Chinese-themed super casino complex known as Resorts World Las Vegas. Planned to open in 2019, the $4 billion project is set to include all of the amenities you’d expect from a modern addition to the Las Vegas Strip, including a massive hotel with more than 6,500 rooms, a 175,000 square foot casino, a theater with room to seat 4,000 of your closest friends and plenty of retail, dining and convention space.

Resorts World Las Vegas is owned by the Genting Group, a Malaysian conglomerate focused on the tourism, resorts and gaming industries. Unlike some of the other properties sprinkled throughout Las Vegas, which include casinos following Roman, Egyptian and Medieval themes, the Genting Group is taking a stab at attracting one of the world’s most rapidly growing and high-demand tourism markets. According to the World Travel & Tourism Council, China’s growing middle class helped propel the Asian nation’s tourism spending to $215 billion in 2015. That’s an increase of 53 percent from the previous year! To put it simply, Chinese tourists are currently leading the way in terms of spending, outpacing every other country with its roughly 120 million international tourists.

When it was originally announced last year, Genting’s focus on the Chinese tourism market was immediately apparent. The ceremony introducing the world to the company’s plans came complete with dozens of traditional Chinese lion dancers. KT Lim, chairman and CEO of Genting, went on to say that the sprawling new complex would showcase the best of China, including both the past and the present.

Some features planned for Resorts World Las Vegas that aren’t as common on the Strip include a panda enclosure, an aquarium, an indoor water park and a bowling alley. Much like the globally-recognized Integrated Resorts of Singapore, this resort is attempting to not only attract tourists, but keep them at the resort throughout the duration of their time in Nevada. If successful, this would definitely maximize the company’s investment thus far. Genting originally bought the land for the planned hotel from Boyd Gaming in 2013 for the tidy sum of $350 million.

Though an ambitious project, Genting isn’t exactly out of its depth with the Chinese-themed resort. The company already owns casino resorts on several continents, including properties in Malaysia, the United Kingdom, Korea and China. Genting also owns Resorts World Sentosa in Singapore, which, along with Marina Bay Sands, became the most profitable casino in the world in 2013. Genting also operates properties in the United States, most notably Resorts World New York City, the only casino located in the five boroughs of the Big Apple.

Construction Delays

When originally announced, Las Vegas icon Steve Wynn referred to a 2018 opening as “ambitious,” and the early results certainly echo that sentiment. Earlier this year, a number of local media outlets questioned the status of the Resorts World project. This makes sense when considering that construction on the project was originally slated to begin in late 2014. In May 2015, the company held a ground breaking ceremony to signal the official start of construction, but locals insist that progress is at a standstill. In a February report by the local CBS affiliate, residents claimed that the only construction taking place on the property seemed to be focused on the parking garage. The delay has the attention of locals primarily because of the jobs it was expected to create. More than 30,000 construction jobs will be created during the construction of Resorts World Las Vegas, and about 8,000 permanent positions are expected. Throw in $155 million in annual tax revenue, and you’ve got a recipe for an anxious public.

Looking Forward

Regardless of delays, the Resorts World project is set to change the face of Las Vegas in the coming years. Once upon a time, the area between MGM Grand and Caesars Palace was the epicenter of Vegas action, but things have changed. Today, the north end of the Strip, which is home to Wynn Resorts and the Venetian, is the hottest location. Resorts World could shift the gravity of the Strip once again, driving high rollers further north on the Strip.

With a planned opening tentatively set for 2019, there’s still plenty of time before Resorts World Las Vegas becomes an option for Sin City travelers. For now, Chinese-themed gambling options are notably limited. That all changes, though, if you take your gaming experience online. The Virtual Casino offers a number of Chinese-themed games that will make you feel like you’ve just taken a flight across the Pacific. For something authentic, load up Sic Bo. This Chinese dice game takes craps to a whole new level, and the gameplay is electric. If you prefer something with a bit more ambiance, check out the Virtual Casino slots library. New games such as Zhanshi and God of Wealth come complete with tons of Asian-inspired imagery. Don’t forget about some of the older classic games like Happy Golden Ox of Happiness and Lucky 8.

When it comes to Chinese-themed gaming, Las Vegas is a little bit late to the party. The Virtual Casino has been offering a variety of games with a distinctly Chinese flair for quite a while now. Try one of the ones mentioned above, or explore a little deeper to find some hidden gems. In either case, a virtual trip to the Far East from the comforts of your own home can be just what the doctor ordered when you’ve got a case of wanderlust. Celebrate the dragon boat festival in style with your friends at the Virtual Casino, and maybe, in a few years, Las Vegas will catch up with the trend.

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