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As chairman of Genting Berhad, one of the world’s largest gambling conglomerates, KT Lim is no upstart.But when the Malaysian businessman bought a stake in a struggling racetrack casino in the Catskills in 2009, it was his first entree into the seemingly unnavigable maze of rules and regulations that is the American casino gambling industry.
As The New York Times reports, in just three years, Lim has made up for his lack of connections in the United States with a phalanx of lobbyists that is helping his company pursue multibillion-dollar projects in New York and in Miami.
In New York, the site of Lim’s most ambitious aspirations, he spent $380 million to acquire a licence to operate a gambling hall–the first one in New York City–at the Aqueduct Racetrack in Queens. He then put $450 million into building the casino, which opened in October.
Though gambling is banned in New York–with the exception of Indian land casinos and slot machines at nine racetracks throughout the state–it seems that Governor Cuomo would like to legalise the industry.
This is good news for Lim, who has announced a $4 billion expansion plan at Aqueduct, which would include three hotels, more slot machines, and the country’s largest convention centre. Cuomo heartily supports the plan.