Malaysia-based Genting Group said it will acquire the Echelon site on the Las Vegas Strip and build a $2 billion casino hotel complex on the 87-acre development halted by the onset of the recession almost five years ago.

Genting, which operates casinos in Singapore and New York City, will pay Boyd Gaming Corp. $350 million for Echelon. The initial phase of its Resorts World Las Vegas will include 3,500 rooms and a 175,000-square-foot casino.

The site once housed the famous Stardust.

Resorts World Las Vegas is expected to open in 2016 with multiple restaurants and dining options, along with 250,000 square feet of retail, more than 500,000 square feet of convention space, a theater and outdoor pool amenities.

Genting will need to gain licensing approval from Nevada gambling regulators before the casino can open.

A spokesman said Genting will incorporate much of the remnants of the Echelon project into the Resorts World Las Vegas development, including the unfinished concrete and steel hotel structures and a parking garage.

The project has sat silent since August 2008, when Boyd Gaming halted construction of the planned $4.8 billion resort. According to the company’s annual report filing last year, Boyd expected to spend $15.5 million to $17 million annually to maintain the Echelon site, including security costs and property taxes.

Boyd Gaming’s original concept for Echelon was five hotels of varying sizes totaling 5,000 rooms and suites, all connected to a 140,000-square-foot casino. The project included 300,000 square feet of retail, 750,000 square feet of convention and meeting space, 30 restaurants and two theaters.

Ads in ball parks

Ads luring tourists for a Las Vegas vacation can show up just about anywhere in America — including near the dugout at historic Wrigley Field in Chicago or behind home plate at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles.

With Major League Baseball spring training in full bloom and the regular season set to start March 31, the advertising agency for the Las Vegas public tourism bureau plans to spread the message of fun times in Las Vegas by enlisting four big-league ballparks this year.

R&R Partners, the Las Vegas-based company that does media buys for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, is committed to paying for signs at ballparks in four distinct parts of the country, said Rob Dondero, R&R executive vice president. The sponsorship deals will cost just less than $1 million.

This year, the Las Vegas signs also will include mentions, where applicable, of the authority’s new website.

Wynn highly regarded

Wynn Resorts Ltd. again ranks highly among large casino hotel operators in Fortune magazine’s annual rankings of the most admired companies in each industry.

In its March 18 issue, Fortune ranks Apple Inc. as the most admired company in the world.

Among the hotel, casino and resort companies, Marriott International is ranked No. 1, followed by Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Hyatt Hotels, Wyndham Worldwide, Wynn Resorts and Las Vegas Sands Corp.

Last year, Wynn Resorts ranked second among hotel, casino and resort companies.

Retrial in Sands deal

In a rerun of five years ago, Las Vegas Sands Corp. Chairman and CEO Sheldon Adelson will be the lead witness in the breach-of-contract case brought by onetime consultant Richard Suen.

Suen alleges he paved the way for Sands to enter Macau, which has turned out to be a highly lucrative franchise, by arranging meetings with key Chinese government officials. Former Sands President Bill Weidner signed the deal with Suen a dozen years ago to pay him a fee of $5 million plus 2 percent of the casino revenue if his work led to securing a gaming license.

In a trial that ran 29 days in 2008, a jury awarded Suen $43.8 million for his work, which rose to $60 million with interest. Las Vegas Sands contended he did nothing to earn the money.

However, the Nevada Supreme Court overturned the verdict three years ago because of errors by the trial judge. Although there were hints of a settlement, the case has steamed toward a second round.

Sands says reports of bribery misstated

Las Vegas Sands Corp. called media accounts of the company’s self-reporting that it may have violated a federal law that bans the bribing of foreign public officials “misleading and sensationalistic.”

The casino operator, which is more than 53 percent owned by billionaire Sheldon Adelson, said it did not violate the anti-bribery provisions of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

A one-sentence statement within the company’s annual report filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission said its audit committee found possible violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

“As part of the annual audit of the company’s financial statements, the Audit Committee advised the company and its independent accountants that it had reached certain preliminary findings, including that there were likely violations of the books and records and internal controls provisions of the FCPA,” Las Vegas Sands said in its Form 10-K filing.

After media reports about possible bribery, Las Vegas Sands said it had made no such disclosure of violations of the anti-bribery provisions and that violations of those provisions had not occurred.

Stay informed! Sign up to receive top headlines delivered to your inbox each morning.

Recommended for you

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.