Malaysia Thinks About Adding Casino to Help Forest City Mega-Project

Malaysia’s got a big plan for Forest City, a place that’s kind of like a big dream turned ghost town. They’re thinking of adding a casino there, which could be a game-changer for the struggling development. It might even lure in folks from Singapore who are into a bit of gambling but don’t want to deal with the hefty tax back home.

Back in 2006, when they first talked about Forest City, it sounded amazing. They were aiming to build a super fancy neighborhood down south, close to Singapore. It was supposed to be home to a whopping 700,000 people and have cool stuff like waterparks and fancy hotels. But fast forward eight years, and it’s more of a ghost town than a bustling community. The developers pumped in a crazy $100 billion, but now only a handful of folks actually live there. It’s become a bit of a headache for the folks who built it, especially with all the money issues they’re facing elsewhere.

People who are aware of the situation shared the information with Bloomberg that Malaysia’s thinking about adding a casino to spice things up at Forest City. Some big shots, including Malaysia’s Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim, recently had a pow-wow there to chat about it. Seems like the king of Malaysia, Ibrahim Iskandar, who’s got a big stake in Forest City, is also on board with the idea. The other big players in the room were from Genting Group, the folks who run Malaysia’s only casino, and Berjaya Corp., who do hotels and property stuff.

But hold your horses, it’s still early days for this casino talk, and nobody’s sure if the prime minister will give it the thumbs up. Malaysia’s mainly Muslim, and according to Islamic law, gambling’s a no-no.

Adding a casino could be just the ticket to perk up Forest City. Right now, it’s like a fancy neighborhood with no one around. Despite being billed as a hotspot for tourists, it’s not exactly buzzing with activity. Most days, only a handful of visitors show up, and they’re not exactly splurging.

Even though the apartments there are top-dollar, they’re mostly empty. They’re way pricier than other digs in the area, and rich folks prefer their own fancy houses, thank you very much.

If they do go ahead with the casino plan, it could draw in the Singapore crowd. Over there, the government slaps a hefty $110 tax on locals who wanna hit up the casinos. But Forest City’s just a hop, skip, and a jump away, connected by a bridge. So, why not take a chance on some casino fun without the hefty tax bill?

Seems like Malaysia’s not the only one eyeing up the casino game. Even places like the United Arab Emirates and New York City are getting in on the action, hoping to boost tourism with a little bit of gambling glitz.

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