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21 September 2017

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02/24/2010 SINGAPORE

Singapore’s new casino draws large crowds of visitors and gamblers

Gambling was banned in the city-state until recently. In the first week, 149,000 people visit the new resort. Singapore authorities hope it will revive local tourism. Hotels, luxury shops and the world’s largest oceanarium are included in the project. Revenues are expected to run in the billions.

Singapore (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Singapore's Resort World Casino successfully opened on Chinese New Year (14 February), in the Year of the Tiger. Queues of people waited their turn to gamble on the slot machines and gaming tables.

In the first week of operations, the casino received more than 149,000 visitors, said Lim Soon Hua, Resorts World Sentosa assistant director of communications. Many were Singaporeans or citizens of neighbouring Malaysia, undeterred by the S$ 100 (US$ 70) entry fee.

The casino is on Sentosa Island, on the site of a former Malay cemetery. It is part of an “integrated resort” built at a cost of S$ 6.6 billion (US$ 4.7 billion) that includes a Universal Studios theme park, hotels and a convention centre on 49 hectares of land.

In the first week, visitors were mostly families in spite of the fact that the Universal Studios theme park and Marine Life Park oceanarium were not open. The latter will be the world's largest oceanarium, with 90 million litres of water and 700,000 aquatic creatures on an eight-hectare facility.

Until recently, gambling was banned in the city-state. Now a second casino, the Marina Bay Sands owned by Las Vegas Sands, is due to begin its phased opening in April.

Singapore's twin casinos are not expected to rival Macau, the world's largest gaming market, with its 33 casinos pulling in a combined US.36 billion in revenue last year.

In fact, the casino’s luxury shops were mostly empty and most visitors appeared to be local residents. A few luxury sports cars were seen in car park but nothing comparable to what might be found in places like Monaco or even Macau.

Up in the VIP rooms, the clientele were better dressed than the masses downstairs, with women sporting luxury brand handbags, and some gamers appearing to be mainland Chinese. Each VIP player is required to deposit at least S0,000 (US$ 70,000) before playing.

There were problems but they were expected. At least eight visitors fell afoul of the city-state’s no-nonsense law enforcement authorities. They include two Mongolians and five Singaporeans and permanent residents who were caught trying to sneak into the casino without paying the S$ 100 entry fee. An Indonesian gambler who said he lost all his money at the casino was jailed for four weeks, after pleading guilty to stealing a mobile phone.

Four of Resorts World's six hotels (the Hard Rock, Festive, Hotel Michael and Crockford, which feature 1,800 rooms) opened on 20 January. During the Lunar New Year holiday, they were fully booked. The resort's remaining two hotels, Equarius and Spa Villas, will open early next year.

Resorts World Sentosa expects 13 million visitors in the first year of full operations after the Universal Studios theme park opens later in the first quarter, said Krist Boo, a spokeswoman for Genting International, the Singapore-listed developer of Resorts World Sentosa.

Former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew was quoted in the Singaporean media as saying that the casino had winnings of S$ 3.5 million on its first day and S$ 3.7 million the second day.

Each integrated resort is expected to contribute a value add of S$ 2.7 billion (.9 billion) to Singapore's gross domestic product (GDP) by 2015, roughly 0.5 to 1 per cent of GDP according to Singapore's tourism promotion agency.






See also

13/04/2013 SINGAPORE
More and more Chinese gamblers do not pay their debts in Singapore
In just three years, Singapore casinos raked in almost as much as Las Vegas, but profits are threatened by high-flying Chinese gamblers who skip on paying debts, untouched by their own government back home.

14/07/2010 SINGAPORE
Singapore tops the world with record growth rate
Led by tourism (casino resorts) and exports, the city-state’s economy surges 18.1 per cent in the first half of the year. Markets are optimistic but authorities remain cautious.

02/09/2017 10:00:00 JAPAN
Tokyo, 900,000 gamblers addicted to pachinko. But the government wants to legalize the casinos

University study denounces real situation. Rehabilitation to overcome addiction. The first casino could be opened by 2023.



29/08/2009 PHILIPPINES
Bishop against casinos: no help to economy, harms society
Bishop Lucilius Quiambao protests against the project for a giant shopping mall in Albay, south of Manila, which includes a casino. It will cost over 250 million euros and aims to attract tourists to the area. For the bishop it will "destroy the moral fiber of our community."

27/10/2012 LAOS-CHINA
Gambling, the million dollar bet for Vientiane and Chinese companies
The Laotian government encourages Beijing companies’ investment, resulting in "wild development". Frequented mostly by foreigners, casinos offer million dollar returns and fuel tourism. Crime alarm related to money laundering, drug trafficking and prostitution.


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