Tycoon Seeks Second Malaysian Casino

Malaysian billionaire Vincent Tan (l.) is soliciting government approval for a casino to compete with Genting’s longstanding monopoly at Resorts World Genting. Vincent Tan says he’ll spend more than US$900 million to expand his Berjaya Hills resort complex if gaming is approved.

Malaysian billionaire Vincent Tan intends to apply for a license to operate a casino in Berjaya Hills, a resort area in the country’s Pahang state owned by Berjaya Corp.

The tycoon, the biggest shareholder in Berjaya with a 23 percent stake, told the Business Times of Malaysia that he plans to invest 3 billion ringgit (US$933 million) in the resort, which would feature the country’s second casino if approved. Malaysia-based conglomerate Genting owns and operates the country’s only casino, Resorts World Genting in the company’s Genting Highlands leisure and theme park complex north of Kuala Lumpur. Genting Highlands generated 1.4 billion ringgit in revenue from the casino in the first quarter of 2014. Berjaya Hills is only a few minutes away.

Tan first applied for a casino license at Berjaya Hills 10 years ago but was turned down amid protests. Berjaya Hills has a permit to operate slot machines, however, and Berjaya Corp. is permitted to operate TOTO betting games.