Betting in Genting Highlands

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It is certainly a paradox that one of the world’s largest and most beautiful casino resorts should be located in a country that views betting activities of all sorts as immoral and disruptive to society. Malaysia has outlawed gambling ever since obtaining independence in 1957, but that did not stop one visionary, the late Tan Sri Lim Goh Tong, from proposing the creation of an adult playground outside Kuala Lumpur in the 1960s. It required all of the wealthy businessman’s considerable influence to see the dream into reality, but today Genting Highlands stands as testament to will power, tenacity and out-of-the-box thinking.

Before the first hotel was erected in 1971, Genting Highlands was a largely unexplored hilltop on the border of Selangor and Pahang states. Lim, who had made his fortune in post-WWII machinery sales and construction, saw the need for a cool mountain resort in close proximity to the nation’s steamy capital, and he set about securing land lease rights and tax incentives for development. A key breakthrough came when Lim invited then-Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman to visit the project site and was commended for his efforts to contribute to Malaysia’s tourism industry without government help. The PM then arranged for the country’s only gambling license to be granted to Lim’s company, the Genting Group.

Over the next 30 years, Lim guided the growth of Genting Highlands from an anomaly in the rainforest to the world’s largest resort, including six hotels with a combined total of more than 10,000 rooms. Its Casino de Genting may have started with just a handful of gaming tables and slot machines, but today it covers a massive 200,000 square feet of gaming space with 3,000 gaming machines and 500 table games.

At a height of 6,000 feet above sea level, the Casino de Genting offers the perfect escape from tropical heat. Its games include Blackjack, French Boule, Mini Baccarat, Pontoon, Roulette and Tai Sai (Sic Bo). Also offered are Casino War, Genting Stud Poker, Mini Dice, Money Wheel, Progressive Texas Hold’em Poker, Three Card Poker and Three Pictures. A separate floor for electronic table games provides Electronic Baccarat, Electronic Roulette and Electronic Sic Bo. Periodic slots tournaments are conducted, too.

The Genting Rewards Card allows players to accumulate points for redemption at some 1,300 merchant outlets. Among those are 29 restaurants and bars within the Resort World Genting complex that serve everything from Chinese, Indian and Thai cuisine to the American specialties of New Orleans Barbecue and the Italian dishes of Ristorante Torcello’s. Room comps are also available at the original Highlands Hotel, the Genting Grand, the Resort Hotel or the First World Hotel, as well as the new Awana Genting Highland and the Theme Park Hotel.

Indeed, one of the major attractions at Genting Highlands is its multi-million-ringgit outdoor theme park, with some 40 action rides. There’s also an indoor theme park, a water park and a “SnowWorld.” One of the more popular recreational activities is golf at the Awana Genting Highlands Golf & Country Resort, where a Ronald Fream designed championship golf course rests. There are organised jungle treks, bird watching, an orchid farm, archery and the Genting Skyway for those looking to get outdoors, while bowling lanes and billiards rooms are available for those who prefer indoor fun.

Nightly entertainment revolves around live music and a pulsating club scene. In the 6,000-seat Arena of the Stars, top performers from around the world gather to entertain, including such notable acts as Sir Elton John, the Black Eyed Peas, Pussycat Dolls, Fergie and more.

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