NASSAU, Bahamas (AP) — Malaysian developer Genting Group plans to open a luxury boutique casino on the tiny island of Bimini as part of a US$24-million deal, government officials said Friday.
The 10,000-square-foot (929- square-metre) casino is slated to open in December at the Bimini Bay Resort & Marina in North Bimini island, according to Tourism Minister Obediah Wilchcombe. Genting plans to refurbish a structure built more than five years ago when the casino project was first conceived. It is partnering with RAV Bahamas, which developed Bimini Bay and the Rockewell Island Beach Estates, Wilchcombe said.
“It is going to be big,” he said. “It was always in the plans, but here we brought together the right brand and the right partner.”
Genting has casinos in Singapore, London and New York, but Wilchcombe said the new casino will differ from conventional ones by featuring windows to showcase the island’s environs.
The Resorts World Bimini Bay casino is expected to create 300 jobs and will include table games, slots and sports betting.
“This is an important venture not only for RAV Bahamas and Genting Malaysia, but also for the island of Bimini,” Prime Minister Perry Christie said in a statement.
Wilchcombe said a boutique hotel also will be built within a year to accompany the casino.
Bimini is the closest Bahamian island to the US, located just 53 miles (85 kilometres) off the coast of Miami. It is among the smallest islands of the Bahamas and home to a luxurious yacht, fishing and second-home market. Ernest Hemingway was known to spend considerable time on Bimini during the 1930s, and the island is thought to have inspired his Nobel Prizewinning short story The Old Man and the Sea.
Genting previously partnered with the Bahamian government to build the Lucayan Beach Resort and Casino, which opened in 1986 on Grand Bahama Island. Genting, which is one of the world’s largest and most successful gambling companies, also has numerous investments in the US.
It plans to build a US$4- billion convention centre and casino at New York’s Aqueduct race track. Last year, Genting bought a 14-acre (6-hectare) property for US$236 million that once housed The Miami Herald newspaper, but it is unclear if it will still build a casino on the property as originally planned.