KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Genting Bhd, Southeast Asia's biggest gaming group, will begin construction of a $4 billion gaming resort on the Las Vegas strip in the second half of this year, it said in a statement on Thursday.
The Resorts World Las Vegas, expected to create thousands of jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenue for South Nevada, will be built in four phases and take between 24-36 months to complete, Genting said.
"Our themed resort will cater to the high-end visitor as well as the budget-minded tourist," said Genting Chairman Lim Kok Thay. "We will give first-time guests a new reason to visit Las Vegas and other tourists a great reason to return."
Genting said upon completion, the first phase alone will feature 3,500 gaming positions in a 100,000 square-foot gaming floor, dozens of villas, food outlets and retail stores, as well as open up 11,000 jobs.
The mega-gaming resort will also add on, among others, a water park, movie theater, bowling alley and a million square foot convention center in the following phases.
Genting, which has held Malaysia's sole casino license since the 1960s, has focused its international expansion drive on the United States as the world's largest economy starts to recover, and as various states relax restrictions ranging from casino licenses to online gambling.
The group bought the Las Vegas resort in 2013 from Boyd Gaming Corp for $350 million, in its first push into the U.S. gambling mecca dominated by the likes of Las Vegas Sands.
Shares in Genting closed up 0.7 percent at 9.82 ringgit before the announcement, outperforming the broader market that rose 0.1 percent.
Reporting by Anuradha Raghu; Editing by William Hardy