MIAMI
12/12/2011 04:25 pm ET

Genting Chair Says Proposed Miami Casino Would Be An "Overall Family Experience"

Could Genting Group's proposed Miami mega-casino be a boon to area families? Having seen Vegas' terrifying Circus Circus, it's impossible not to be skeptical. But Genting chairman Lim Kok Thay couldn't stop using the 'f' word while selling his plan to the Wall Street Journal.

"If it's just about making money, I don't think we will kill ourselves to do it...there's nothing wrong with making it an overall family experience," he said. What exactly this family entertainment would look like was left a little less said as Lim put some shine on the company's plans for its Downtown waterfront property.

WSJ: How is your concept of a casino different from the common image of a cigar-chomping, high-on-alcohol gambling house?

Mr. Lim: In the West, they see it as gambling. Here, as we go down the road, we used the word "gaming." It's not really a play of words but what comes from within. The development of the same industry here in Asia, we see beyond just gambling. While that industry in the West may have started purely as gambling, here in Asia it's not. The industry has created employment and has provided an experience...there's nothing wrong with making it an overall family experience.

We approach gambling from the hospitality side. Discreet -- you give people a choice. You don't have to put it in their face: You're a gambler. They will find it. It's not as if there's only one way of doing things. You have to cut the cloth the way you're going to dress. From the Genting standpoint, we will stick to that, when we invest in gaming, we want that extra element [of family entertainment] because we think that will offer the maximum benefit to the local community and to the country as a whole.

Discreet? In Miami? That would certainly be a first. Of course, also left unsaid is that Miami possesses a preternatural ability to turn family-friendly activities into events decidedly otherwise -- unless children are supposed to learn mathematics from bookies at Pop Warner football games -- much less anything related to gambling, pools, or hotels. Even our kid-friendly NBA mascot has been sued for assault and punched in the face. Add in assorted foreign mobs and the kind of cash Genting's throwing around, and here's guessing even what may start as a cilantro-kissed Disney World is shortly just like everything else: thoroughly, absolutely Miami.

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