Issue 264
October 3 - October 9, 2005
Volume 5
page 1

This Issue

Gaming News

Casino City's October Sweepstakes

Malaysia's Hilltop casino gets a facelift

Gala and Coral in talks to create 4bn gambling empire

Coushatta casino closed

Betonsports launches Bospoker with the Tribeca Tables Poker Network

Show Time Fats Domino tickles the ivories at the Paragon Casino Resort.

Column How Many Gamblers Can You Fool, How Much of the Time? By Alan Krigman.

Check out our entertainment highlights & upcoming tournaments

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  • Malaysia's Hilltop casino gets a facelift

    As reported by


    GENTING HIGHLANDS, Malaysia - "It's not so much just a casino," said Genting's senior vice president of communications, Anthony Yeo. "That is just one of the choices you have here."

    Yeo said Genting embarked on its plan to diversify to keep itself competitive.

    "We have such fierce competition from other casinos around the world, so we have to be pro-active and aggressive in being different and keeping with the times," he said.

    "We need to be able to provide different forms of entertainment that bigger casinos at Las Vegas or even at Macau don't have," he added.

    With this strategy, Genting is aiming to fulfil the needs of gamblers as well as amusement seekers, Yeo said.

    A 45-minute journey from Kuala Lumpur leads visitors to a midway point up the hill, where they arrive at one of Asia's longest cable- car lines that carries thousands of passengers daily over 3.38 kilometres of lush rainforests to the summit.

    While the core of Genting's profits comes from the casino, officials said most of the 15 million visitors who visit the complex on average every year come for the amusement rides, the live entertainment or just to escape from the tropical heat of the lowlands.

    The indoor theme park's latest addition and one of its most popular is the Sky Venture ride, the first in Asia to simulate skydiving in an enclosed cylindrical capsule that creates winds that can exceed 190km/h.

    A sprawling five-hectare outdoor theme park that cost 100million ringgit (about R168-million) to build offers hair-raising rides for the adrenaline junkie with roller coasters that leave little for the imagination with names like the "Corkscrew" and the "Turbo Drop".

    For those keen on a quieter form of entertainment, live performances are available almost every night of the week.

    The 6 000-seat Arena of Stars has set the stage for a wide range of performers, including singer Sir Cliff Richard, the pop group Westlife and the Hong Kong performers Andy Lau and Aaron Kwok.

    Musical extravaganzas including London's West End production of "Lady Salsa" as well as Broadway's "Annie" have also graced the stages.

    The rebranding of Genting comes at a crucial time when global players in the casino and gaming industry are moving to become flashier, bigger and, most importantly, closer to home.

    Neighbouring Singapore's upcoming casino as well as the recent opening of Hong Kong's Disneyland will surely provide fierce competition, seeing as the bulk of Genting's visitors have been Singaporean and Chinese.

    In 2004, the resort recorded 17.4-million visitors, not including those who made day trips.

    Of the 537 000 Chinese tourists visiting Malaysia that year, 400 000 chose to spend the bulk of their trip at Genting, officials said.

    Genting officials have expressed optimism in maintaining their appeal to tourists and dismissing the incoming competition, a feat that has so far been achieved with an increase in Middle Eastern tourists in recent years.

    "The place is very beautiful, and I'm very glad we decided to come here," said Saudi Karima Moehamad, 42.

    Moehamad, who arrived with her husband and two daughters, said she had not been bothered by the fact that the resort housed one of the region's largest casinos.

    "It doesn't matter because there's so much else to do," she said, adding, "We didn't even notice the casino."

    Another visitor, Dirk Cornelius Uys from South Africa, made a one- hour journey to the hilltop resort to enjoy a late-night coffee with friends.

    "It's worth the trip," the 31-year-old engineer said. "You don't get many other places where you can sip coffee on a hilltop and then drive back down to the comforts of your bed the same day." - Sapa-dpa

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