Malaysia PM denies reports of second casino in Forest City

This comes after the creation of a SFZ in Forest City eight months ago. 

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Malaysia's Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, has firmly rejected rumours suggesting the Government's consideration of granting a second casino licence in Forest City, Johor. 

Anwar, who also serves as the Finance Minister, addressed the media, dismissing the notion of a second casino licence. When questioned about the alleged plan, he emphatically stated, "On the casino licence, it's a lie, that's not right. Nope." 

The clarification comes in response to a recent Bloomberg report, which suggested that Malaysia was engaged in early discussions with prominent figures such as Tan Sri Vincent Tan, founder of Berjaya Corporation Berhad, and Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay of Genting Group, regarding the establishment of a casino in Forest City. The purported aim was to breathe new life into the property project. 

This development follows Anwar's announcement eight months ago about the creation of a Special Financial Zone (SFZ) in Forest City. The SFZ was envisioned to stimulate Johor's economy and revitalise the development, which had been previously criticised as a "ghost town." 

However, some analysts have expressed concerns about the potential consequences of granting a second casino license. Nomura analysts Tushar Mohata and Alpa Aggarwal noted that such a move could adversely affect Malaysia's Genting Group and Singapore's Marina Bay Sands. 

In their assessment, Mohata and Aggarwal suggested that the proximity of a new casino in Forest City to existing establishments in Singapore could lead to losses for Genting Group, which currently holds Malaysia's sole casino licence. They warned that both Genting Singapore and Marina Bay Sands might suffer should Malaysia proceed with the plan. 

The denial from Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim provides clarity amidst speculation surrounding the casino licence issue. However, the debate over the potential impact of such a move on the region's gaming industry continues to garner attention from analysts and stakeholders alike. 


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