Casino at Bimini Bay?

Al BundyAl Bundy Posts: 238 Deckhand
Genting Group opening luxury boutique casino in Bimini

Bimini Bay Resort & Marina will partner with the Malaysian company. Construction has already begun on the casino.
By ELAINE WALKER
[email protected]

Genting Group’s efforts to bring a casino to Miami may be uncertain, but the Malaysian company has found a way to plant its flag just a stone’s throw away from South Florida.

Genting has signed a deal to open Resorts World Bimini Bay, a luxury boutique casino at Bimini Bay Resort & Marina in North Bimini Island. The 10,000-square-foot multimillion-dollar casino is scheduled to open in December featuring full-scale table games, slots and sports betting, in a venue similar to casinos Genting operates in London. Sources familiar with the deal estimate the cost of the casino at more than $20 million.

The deal, which is scheduled to be announced Friday in Nassau, is a strategic partnership between Genting Malaysia Berhad and RAV Bahamas, the developer of Bimini Bay and the Rockewell Island Beach Estates. This will be the only casino on the island of Bimini and the closest offshore casino to South Florida, only 48 nautical miles off the coast and accessible by a half-hour plane flight or a 2 1/2-hour boat trip. Before the casino opens, the owners of Bimini Bay will partner in the launch of a high-speed ferry service that will make the trip from South Florida in 90 minutes.

The casino is designed as an attraction for visitors to Bimini, a sleepy Bahamian island known more for its fishing than Las Vegas-style nightlife.

“The casino has always been an amenity we wanted to provide as part of our multi-tiered, mixed-use development,” said Leslie Bethel, chief operating officer for RAV Bahamas. “Everything happens in time. We were smart. We know [a casino] is something you develop when you have the ability to generate the traffic. Now we have the critical mass that we can go forward.”

Genting declined Thursday through a spokesman to speak to The Herald about the Bimini project. It will not be the first time Genting has done business in the Bahamas. In 1986, the company built the Lucayan Beach Resort and Casino in Freeport in a joint venture with the Bahamian government.

“We are delighted to return to the Bahamas and be a part of this exciting resort community,” Dana Leibovitz, president of Resorts World Bimini Bay, said in a statement. “Our shared vision to offer gaming entertainment, luxury amenities and world-class service will continue to attract many new visitors to the Bahamas’ gateway destination just minutes away from South Florida and other major U.S. cities by air and sea.”

Bimini Bay Resort & Marina is a master-planned oceanfront community on 560 acres developed by Chairman Gerardo Capo of Miami and his family. The project began construction in 2003 and opened its first phase in late 2007, bringing a luxury resort to the typically rustic island that was once a haunt of author Ernest Hemingway.

Today, Bimini Bay has over 480 luxury homes and villas, the largest yacht marina complex in the Bahamas, a shopping village, four restaurants and a Beach Club. Just over half of the units at Bimini Bay are rented out as part of a condo-hotel program. Since it opened, the annual visitors to Bimini have grown by about 50 percent hitting 50,000, Bethel said.RAV Bahamas signed a deal in 2005 to open a casino and luxury hotel with Conrad Hotels, Hilton’s luxury brand. But the economy was one reason that didn’t happen, Bethel said.

Genting had always been high on the developer’s wish list. RAV Bahamas had known Genting from Grand Bahama Island and first approached the Malaysian company more than 12 years ago when Bimini Bay was in the conception stage. The fact that the two are partnering now after Genting has invested $500 million to purchase real estate in Miami, is just a matter of timing, Bethel said. Genting and other US-based gaming companies are pushing the Florida Legislature to allow casino gambling outside of tribal land and parimutuel facilities.

“Genting is looking to grow its business in the Americas,” Bethel said. “They’re one of few gaming entities that are focused on growth and expansion. There is no relation to what we’re doing in Bimini and Miami.”

But unlike the U.S., where Genting has stumbled in Florida and New York getting the necessary government approvals, the Bahamian government has already approved this project.

“This is an important venture not only for RAV Bahamas and Genting Malaysia but also for the island of Bimini,” Rt. Hon. Perry G. Christie, prime minister of The Commonwealth of The Bahamas, said in statement. “It provides further stability for the local economy in a destination that already enjoys a 79 percent repeat visitor return.”

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/06/29/2873648/genting-group-opening-luxury-boutique.html#storylink=cpy

Replies

  • Lucky7Team2Lucky7Team2 Posts: 6,794 Officer
    Buh Bye bimini...
  • alacrityalacrity Posts: 2,662 Captain
    bimini´s destiny was changed long ago. it is being transformed and this is just the start. you can expect to see a lot more development as time goes on. there are several projects already in the planning/development stages. some of it can be advantageous to we fishermen, although i might disagree with a lot of it. i'd like to leave my boat there for a month at a time in the winter and take the ferry over at $99 a round trip. save gas money and crossing in bad weather during the winter in a ferry is better than in a 31 contender. everything changes.


  • Capt KurtCapt Kurt Posts: 344 Deckhand
    10,000 square feet for $20,000,000

    :shrug
    visit Pure Pilates in Fort Lauderdale - http://www.pure-pilates.net
  • Ron@.38 Special[email protected] Special Posts: 6,838 Admiral
    They have been telling that story, with the names changed to protect the innocent, for at least 6 years! Don't hold your breath. Even Bimini Bay does not ever have the traffic to support a full time casino.

    Anyone remember the little gambling place that used to hide in "All my Children hotel" near Red Lion? Bet not many of you knew about that one!
  • SFCarlSFCarl Posts: 300 Officer
    Cytranic wrote: »
    PR BLITZ PR BLITZ PR BLITZ.

    I was there this past weekend, and there wasnt even foot prints around that proposed casino. There has been ZERO action for 3 years on that place. Hell the sign still says Opening 2010.

    There is no way a casino will survive on that island. Its been tried many times.
    You check for foot prints? weird.
  • INTREPID377INTREPID377 Posts: 3,728 Captain
    GOOD!! Maybe if Bimini Bay becomes totally self contained the element that frequents the place will stay behind their gates and stop ruining the culture of Alice town.
  • testerman28testerman28 Posts: 1,329 Officer
    the smartest thing anyone could have done was to just leave Bimini alone.. seems like human beings are always taking anything and everything from this world then we kick it into high gear and take more. the facts are right in front of you.. Bimini is not large enough nor does it have the resources to support the water or sewer that is need to sustain this type of building or should I say heaping tons of rock on shark, conch, bonefish, crabs and all other life down to the sea grass you know the actual environment! but like all money ventures the paperwork will get filed by people who don't care and will be built by people who don't care.. sounds just like the broward county commissioners building a crazy high dollar airport for the cruise ships.. over peoples homes. I guess it will always be the same we have takers and we have people who don't care about any outcome.. in the end do any of you think that the residents of Bimini really want this? has anyone even asked? if they were smart they would rebuild the complete angler and the red lion.. add a CJs and about 5 nice conch salad booths.. that would employ more people and is something to sustain the way of life..making Bimini something it is not is just plain stupid!
  • Stroker AceStroker Ace Posts: 335 Deckhand
    Bimini with a casino sounds like a dream come true, just imagine crossing to Bimini to be around more of the aholes you tried to leave behind in lauderdale.
  • snookyjsnookyj Posts: 1,687 Officer
    if they were smart they would rebuild the complete angler and the red lion.. add a CJs and about 5 nice conch salad booths.. that would employ more people and is something to sustain the way of life..making Bimini something it is not is just plain stupid!

    Yep!!!
  • SchweideeSchweidee Posts: 35 Deckhand
    Bimini is heading in a scary direction

    I hate to say it but BB has created enough critical mass to survive and thrive. Making lots of cash in the process for a few American guys. The casino will also be a success because many of the people who visit Bimini today would rather sit in a casino than bounce around in the ocean on a windy day.

    Don't understand why someone has not invested more in Big Game and positioned the resort as "the" place for fisherman. So many people I talk to with big boats and big wallets end up at BB because they don't feel like they have another comparable option and today they are right. I hoped Guy Harvey would make the difference but now we know that was not a real commitment by GH in bimini.

    As others have said I hope that BB will become a complete resort and desirable enough to those who go there to stay there.
  • JustTheTipJustTheTip Posts: 15 Greenhorn
    It's a shame what BB has done to that Island full of history. I only go to Bimini to peg a few wahoos in the fall when most of the rift rafts are not there and this year I'll be bypassing it and going to the Berries.....CHEERS
  • Blue ZoneBlue Zone Posts: 414 Officer
    It's odd how developers think a casino is the answer and every beautiful beach is a slam dunk. Due diligence would show the Exuma casino was a disaster. Freeport's casino is empty despite cruise ships and an actual airport. Atlantis works because it is a mega-attraction and targets high-rollers. What are these guys thinking about? The BB casino is doomed as an afterthought.
    There are 8 or 10 major developments on just about every island in the Bahamas in various states of distress. There ought to be a new strategy for the Bahamas; find parties to finish off what has already been started before you wreck another island; no more "quick hits".
  • 31c31c Posts: 49 Deckhand
    Bimini with a casino sounds like a dream come true, just imagine crossing to Bimini to be around more of the aholes you tried to leave behind in lauderdale.

    truer words could not have been said...include any city that you would care to!
  • Lazy BonesLazy Bones Posts: 941 Officer
    Blue Zone wrote: »
    It's odd how developers think a casino is the answer and every beautiful beach is a slam dunk. Due diligence would show the Exuma casino was a disaster. Freeport's casino is empty despite cruise ships and an actual airport. Atlantis works because it is a mega-attraction and targets high-rollers. What are these guys thinking about? The BB casino is doomed as an afterthought.
    There are 8 or 10 major developments on just about every island in the Bahamas in various states of distress. There ought to be a new strategy for the Bahamas; find parties to finish off what has already been started before you wreck another island; no more "quick hits".

    Exumas are far away. Cruise ships have casinos and leave by nightfall. Why would the passengers hit the Lucaya casino? I recently stayed at BB, and while I do not like the concept, it is going to make it. If they ever open a casino there on the weekends, it will make it. At least 1/2 the boaters in Miami have no intererest in fishing/diving. Just look at the pics of honeymoon harbor and compare then to Elliot key - same thing. If people can run over and gamble, they will do it.
  • Gary MGary M Posts: 13,127 AG
    GOOD!! Maybe if Bimini Bay becomes totally self contained the element that frequents the place will stay behind their gates and stop ruining the culture of Alice town.

    If they'd dredge their own inlet into the compound up there, we wouldn't have to put up with the 4-foot wakes from the 45 foot Sea Rays that pass Weeches, Sea Crest and Big Game at 8 knots..... :banghead

    Just yesterday, I chatted with my taxi driver in Freeport. He was born in Nassau and has lived in Freeport since 1962 or so. He ranted and raved about all the "projects" that "other" people have inflicted onto all parts of the Bahamas over the years! He said that some Chinese are getting behind one project.

    I heard the word "jackazzes" about 6-7 times! The Lucayan Waterway, just east of Freeport and all the canals there was supposed to be an entire new city! How's the new "city" look?

    024.jpg

    Now, The Lucayan Waterway is almost desolate with mostly empty lots, some half-built houses and even an 8-story condo that was about 80% complete, but now has trees growing into some windows!

    He ranted about how the Ginn Sur Mer Corp has "ruined" West End and how they planned to have 4,500 condos there!

    When I asked if he's ever been to Bimini, man did he ever light up about Bimini Bay! I think that I heard "jackazzes" three times in one long sentence!

    And don't forget that Walker's was going to be turned into a "Resort" too!

    Better enjoy what you can, while you can..................
  • monkeybusinessjrmonkeybusinessjr Posts: 380 Officer
    Bimini with a casino sounds like a dream come true, just imagine crossing to Bimini to be around more of the aholes you tried to leave behind in lauderdale.

    This is why I don't go to Bimini right now.
  • Gary MGary M Posts: 13,127 AG
    Why take a boat/plane to Bimini to go to a small casino? Can't you drive to a few in Broward County?
  • Some of the things said here about BB are correct. Without passing judgement, the latin influence is entrenched in BB and that is their playground. True words, they do not know Bimini and do not come there for what us old timers love about Bimini. An honeymoon harbor is just what they wish the Northern keys were. Lots of money being spent and wasted there by all concerned, but most of them are rich Cubans that made their money in Miami and want a place to get away.

    i like the idea of locking the gate and keeping them in the city they built and leave the rest of the island alone.

    BTW, hears BB bought Big Johns??? any truth to that. Dam, I came very close to buying into the boutique hotel plan at that location with a slip and everything then the bottom dropped out of the economy. If you ever saw those plans, it would have been a cool place embracing "old Bimini".

    Anyway, me and my family will keep going to the old part of town, spending our money there and only going to Bimini Bay once in a while to pee in their pool!
  • Lazy BonesLazy Bones Posts: 941 Officer
    Cytranic wrote: »
    Nice try Bimini Bay Employee. In all seriousness I love how we stated the fact that NO casino's are making it in the Bahamas yet you have all the proof in the world that this one can survive with weekend boaters.

    LOL. BB Employee :rotflmao

    Say what you want, but those are valid reasons that Lucaya and Exumas aren't equal comparisons to Bimini. I could give 2 craps regardless, I don't plan on spending any time there casino or not.
  • CompleatCompleat Posts: 2,774 Captain
    BB as beautiful as it is has issues... Food for one I would give a one star rating. Though not the only thing that makes a place good or bad if the eating sucks it makes for an undesirable trip destination. As mentioned a certain element has taken a position there. While I won't cast aspersions at the latino population as a whole I will lift my leg and let fly with a warm yellow stram on the arrogant "marine Max" crowd and their chrome plated Bayliner wake tossing wagon trains.
    I could see an initial surge of business if they opened a casino but think it would fall away pretty quick unless a broader cross spectrum of clients is developed and what services they do offer come up to par with at least McDonalds as for palatability.
  • Stroker AceStroker Ace Posts: 335 Deckhand
    hey mang fahck jew bimini bay eees the sheet mang:grin

    Love the sig!
  • SchweideeSchweidee Posts: 35 Deckhand
    Sorry to reinforce my position but go back and read the posts on this topic. We all know BB is supported by wealth people running thier SeaRays over for the weekend and they are going to visit the casino and play. As long as the SeaRay crowd keeps coming over the casino will make it.

    You can compare it to other projects in the Bahamas but no other project is so easily accessible or as far along in the development. A couple years ago I thought (hoped) the project would die as so many others have but with hundreds of homes already built and a full functioning marina they are past the point of imploding as others have.

    BB is hear to stay (unfortunately) and if your in the SeaRay crowd your reading the news about the casino looking forward to running your cushion boat over, speeding through the channel because you impatient or don't know better, dumping your wife and kids at the pool and getting stupid drunk at the tables every time you can.

    All us in the fishing crowd can hope is that they love it so much they stay in BB for their entire visit.
  • alacrity wrote: »

    We saw the dredging going on all weekend. Still a lot of sand to pump to get the channel in a condition that can take the ferry.

    One important note, I guarantee no "coastal engineering" took place in the design of the location for the channel. Its in the middle of the sand bar and will quickly fill back up. I would love to have the maintenance dredging contract to keep that thing open. That contact will make a lot more than any casino! One Westerly blow from a tropical storm, or when the fronts start moving back thru and that channel will be back to what it was before nay dredging.

    The problem as stated above is that the food stinks at BB. So if you want to eat at the fun places like Sherry's or anywhere in that location, you better do it early or the crowds are impossible. But, good for Sherry, she had a crowd close to 100 at that place last Sat night.

    And Big johns? We stayed away from that place.
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