MIAMI – Genting Group unveiled its twice daily gambling cruise ship to World Resorts Bimini Bahamas on Friday.
"It's actually a game changer for the people of Bimini. We're looking to bring as many as 3,000 people a day to the island of Bimini," said Dana Leibovitz, president of Resorts World Bimini.
The ship offers customers an alternative to South Florida's gambling destinations. The Malaysian-based Genting Group bought the Miami Herald's bayfront property in downtown Miami two years ago, invested in it, and announced a futuristic mega-project while betting hundreds of millions that the state would approve it for a casino -- but lost that bet.
"This is probably one of the longest negotiations in the world," said KT Lim, chairman of Genting Group.
The deal between Genting Group and PortMiami calls for a 10-year contract with Genting paying the county $7 million per year, according to a 73-page memorandum. The county will rebate Genting Group $10 million to build out and develop the port terminal unit that's built, and it'll cost the county $700,000 for Genting's temporary facilities.
Commissioners Audrey Edmonson and Lynda Bell initiated the deal during their April junket in Singapore.
Bell, who said in 2011 she wasn't a proponent of gambling, was in Texas on Friday. Her staff told Local 10 that competition with South Florida gaming and tourism wasn't part of her consideration in the deal.
The Miami-Dade County Board of Commissioners must still approve the deal. It's on the agenda for July 2.
The ship must also receive its certificate of compliance before setting sail.