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Casino, part-owned by Dubai World, opens in Vegas

But gaming control board says state's eye is on restructuring

Fireworks explode during the grand opening of the Aria Resort & Casino at CityCenter December 16, 2009 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Ethan Miller/Getty Image
Fireworks explode during the grand opening of the Aria Resort & Casino at CityCenter December 16, 2009 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Ethan Miller/Getty Image

Dubai World’s 50%-owned Aria Hotel-Casino in Las Vegas opened yesterday with a lavish private party and fireworks according to AFP.

Aria is the Cesar Pelli-designed 4004-room centerpiece at the heart of US $8.5 billion City Center, a 271,140m2 complex of hotels, condominiums and retail outlets on the Las Vegas Strip.

This follows last months request by Dubai World to freeze its debt payments to allow it to undergo restructuring procedures.

But earlier this month, Nevada’s gaming regulators, who licensed Dubai World to share in revenues produced by Aria's casino, told Review Journal that they were closely watching Dubai World as it deals with a potential default of some $80 billion in debt.

State Gaming Control Board Chairman Dennis Neilander said that he would have concerns if there is a management shake-up in Dubai World or any of the subsidiaries that were licensed because of the entity's 50% ownership in City Center.

"We have staff looking at this situation and they are in touch with representatives of the Dubai World subsidiaries," Neilander said. "As far as we know, this is just a reorganisation of its debt, but that could change."

Four Dubai World officials, along with two of the company's subsidiaries, were licensed for Aria at City Center. Neilander said gaming regulators would be concerned if there are any changes in that structure.

But he added that it only seemed to be a financial restructure at the moment.

When contacted, Dubai World declined to comment.
 

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