A Malaysian billionaire is loaning the Seneca Nation of Indians $80 million to build their casino, a newspaper reported Tuesday.
Several other Indian tribes have approached Lim Kok Thay seeking financing for casino projects around the United States, said Steven G. Horowitz, Lim’s New York attorney. Lim chose the Senecas because of their casino’s Niagara Falls address.
The federal government still must approve the transfer of the casino site to the Senecas.
“This is a very significant market opportunity,” Horowitz told The Buffalo News. “There’s a huge amount of regional tourist trade already. A lot of businesses don’t have the blessing of this location.”
Lim’s loan will cover all the costs of building the Niagara Falls Togel casino except for gambling equipment.
The five-year, adjustable-rate loan is so risky that it carries a 29 percent interest rate, the paper reported.
High-stakes deals are not new to Lim. His father created an exotic mountaintop casino resort in Malaysia, and his family financed the Foxwoods Indian casino in Connecticut.
The Senecas created a company — Seneca Niagara Falls Gaming Corp. — and hired G. Michael “Mickey” Brown to run it. Brown said the tribe’s gaming company considered other sources of financing, but decided to go with Lim.
Brown and Lim have a relationship that goes back about 20 years. When the Mashantucket Pequot tribe in Connecticut opened the Foxwoods casino in 1993, Lim’s family financed the deal, and Brown ran the casino.
The Malaysian billionaire has been looking at the possibility of being involved with the Seneca project for several years and has traveled to the Falls a few times, the paper reported.
“I don’t think he’s had any reaction other than what a lot of people have — that the area needs a lot of redevelopment focus,” Horowitz said.
The Senecas weren’t able to get lower-rate bank financing because of the risk, outgoing Seneca President Cyrus M. Schindler Jr. said recently. The tribe could have waited until they owned the property to get a lower rate, but the casino is expected to make so much money that the high-rate loan is worth taking out now to speed up the process, he added.
Assemblyman William Parment, a Jamestown Democrat, said he hated to see the Senecas — who have a reservation in Cattaraugus County — pay such a high rate.
“All I see is money being sucked out of my county and heading to Malaysia,” Parment said.
Lim’s family made its fortune through a company called Genting Berhad, where Lim serves as managing director. A sprawling outfit with 15,200 employees worldwide, Genting runs palm plantations, paper mills and power plants.
Its leisure and hospitality operations account for about 80 percent of the company’s sales. The company owns Norwegian Cruise Line and Star Cruises and resort hotels in Asia, including Genting Highlands, the vast casino and entertainment complex in Malaysia.
Taiwan Private survey to test acceptance of offshore casinos
A private poll company will be assigned in three months to conduct a public opinion survey on whether casinos should be allowed to make inroads into the offshore county of Penghu, Minister of the Interior Yu Cheng-hsien (—]?Œ›) said yesterday.
The Construction and Planning Administration under the ministry will assign a private poll company to conduct an authoritative poll which will reflect the reality of the situation, including what the Penghu people think about the possibility of casinos opening in their neighborhoods, Yu said during a question-and-answer session at the Legislative Yuan.
Yu made the remarks after legislators from the ruling Democratic Progressive Party complained that a poll conducted by the Cabinet-level Research, Development and Evaluation Commission in June was too general to glean any concrete information from.