Bahamas Concerned Over Major Casino Competition

Monday 12th, March 2012 / 12:05 Published by

George Markantonis, the president and managing director at Kerzner International (Bahamas). Photo: Edward Russell/TNG

A $1.5 billion lawsuit between rival casino operators in New York State and a political tug-of-war in Florida have delayed major developments from springing up in their respective states.

The news comes amid serious concerns from stakeholders in The Bahamas concerning mounting competition to the gambling product.

Back in November, George Markantonis, the president and managing director at Kerzner International (Bahamas), told Guardian Business that more legalized gambling in these states is “absolutely a concern” for future tourism numbers. Vincent Vanderpool-Wallace, the minister of tourism and aviation, said casino services in Florida represent “the loss of a significant advantage”.

But plans for both New York State and Florida appear to be at least temporarily derailed.

According to recent court documents obtained by Guardian Business, Concord Associates has filled a $1.5 billion lawsuit claiming a “racino”, a facility in which horse race betting and other types of gambling are done electronically, has conspired to block its plans for a $600 million entertainment complex in upstate New York.

Phase one of the proposed casino resort would include a 75,000 square-foot casino and 258-room hotel, including five restaurants, entertainment spaces and 10,000 square feet of meeting space.

Resorts World Miami, backed by the Kuala Lumpar-based Genting Group, is planning a mega resort that includes a casino, four hotels, two residential towers, a shopping center, more than 50 restaurants and nightclubs and 700,000 square feet of convention and meeting space.

Markantonis called the Genting Group “high caliber” and felt The Bahamas would have to greatly “up its game” if the development ever came to fruition.

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