Above: the marina at the Bimini Bay Resort, the largest in the Bahamas (CJ Photo)
By the Caribbean Journal staff
The Bahamian island of Bimini will soon be home to a 10,000-square-foot full-service casino.
The $24 million RAV Bahamas project, which is planning to open in mid-December 2012, will feature full table games, a sports book and slot machines within an indoor-outdoor facility at the Bimini Bay Resort.
It is a partnership with Malaysian firm Genting.
“It’s going to change the dynamics of what Bimini is now and what it’s going to be in the future,” RAV Bahamas CEO Alex Capo told Caribbean Journal. I think the casino starts offering that attraction that makes us a global resort destination.”
It’s the latest move for RAV Bahamas, the Bahamian subsidiary of the Miami-based Capo Group, as the company looks to frame Bimini as an international destination.
That includes the $250 million Rockwell Island ultra-luxury home community at Bimini Bay, which launched construction in April.
“It puts us on the map,” said Jesus Castanon, head of the real estate division for RAV Bahamas. “We were almost like a well-kept secret. Or real estate is unique enough, but this gets people there, it opens up avenues we didn’t have before.”
“The magic of Bimini is really what drew us here,” said Dana Leibovitz, president of Genting’s Resorts World Bimini Bay. “It’s just a beautiful island and we feel it is a great opportunity for us to build our first boutique casino outside of Asia in Bimini.”
Unlike many casinos which lack windows, Bimini’s new casino will emphasize its location, Capo said.
“It’s not going to be the typical box,” Capo said. “It’s going to be more open, about taking advantage of the scenic views, looking at the water and enjoying where you are.”
Genting, which has plans to eventually open a casino in Miami (if it can obtain legislative approval), is based in Malaysia and operates casinos around the world.
Its most recent foray was Resorts World New York at the Aqueduct racetrack in New York.
“Obviously [Genting] is a well-stablished partner that solidifies the backing of it,” Capo said. “We’ve known Genting for a long time, and the stars finally aligned for it to come to fruition.”
Bimini Bay features the largest marina in the Bahamas, just over 50 miles from Miami and the southeastern United States.
“You can jump on your boat, get your gambling in and hang out,” Castanon said. “All of a sudden, people will travel down here from a lot further away, and fly here to get in their gaming. It’s another attraction that we didn’t have before.”