Berjaya Corp founder trying again for casino license

Berjaya Corp founder Tan Sri Vincent Tan may submit a fresh application for a license to operate a casino in Malaysia, breaking the monopoly of Genting Malaysia Bhd, local media reports.

The billionaire, who relinquished his position as chairman of Berjaya Corp Bhd in 2012 said on Tuesday that Malaysia should have more than one casino to give locals and tourists more options.

"There has been a monopoly in the casino market for too long. We hope the government will consider a second casino licence," Tan said on the sidelines of the official opening of Four Seasons Hotel and Hotel Residences Kyoto.

Currently, Genting Malaysia Bhd is the only operator licensed to run casinos in the country.

According to Tan, a second casino would generate more income for the government and accelerate growth in several sectors, including tourism and hospitality.

The Berjaya Corp founder first applied for a license to operate a casino in Berjaya Hills Resort in Pahang more than 12 years ago, but it was rejected at the time.

In 2014, it was reported that he may again apply for the gaming licence. He said he had planned to invest RM3 billion (US$671.1 million) initially to set up the gaming complex.

The complex was to include a gaming centre, indoor and outdoor theme parks, food outlets, a retail mall, hotels, a convention centre and holiday homes.

Berjaya Corp is currently best known for its involvement in the lottery sector, and successfully launched its lottery operations in Vietnam in July this year.

"Right now, we have one game only (in Vietnam). We aim to launch 10 to 12 different games. We will introduce four to five games in the first year, and another four to five games in the following year," he said.

"We are in the lottery business and we never had a monopoly. The pie for the casino business is big enough for us to share," said Tan.

Analysts said while there is a possibility of the license to be granted, it isn’t expected to come soon.

"There is a possibility as Berjaya is already operating a lottery business, but we don't expect the licence to be granted so soon," said an unnamed analyst quoted by Business Times.

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