Singapore resort enters Asia’s gaming fray

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Singapore officially entered the Asian gaming market at the weekend when the US$4.7 billion (3.2 billion euros) Resort World Sentosa ( complex held the soft opening of its casino, the first of its kind in the city-state.



And, lured by the promise of around 600 gaming tables, 35,000 visitors streamed through the RWS gates, helping the resort island of Sentosa set a record for the number of visitors in a single day.

The final overall attendance figure on Sunday for the island itself was 75,000, many of whom also snapped up the chance to get a sneak peek of the soon-to-be-opened Universal Studios inside RWS, with preview tickets selling out despite the fact that none of the rides at the theme park have been finished.

Management has assured the public they will be by the time the theme park opens on February 22, joining the four hotels at RWS which opened January 20.

RWS has been promoting itself as Singapore's first "Integrated Resort'' - one that offers shopping malls and other attractions as well as a casino - and it will be joined later this year by the US$6 billion (four billion euros) Marina Bay Sands complex (, which will boast 1,000 gaming tables.

Both resorts have been buoyed by the news coming out of Macau this year as the Chinese enclave announced record gaming turnovers for the month of January - but the Singapore resorts still have some way to go to catch that city's 4,500-odd gaming tables.

Macau pulled in around 14 billion patacas (1.2 billion euros) in January alone - a rise of 63 per cent year on year and more than its traditional rival Las Vegas picked up over the three month of September, October and November (US$1.41 billion or one million euros), the last figures made available from the American city.

Industry observers have predicted Macau will see a rise of 20 per cent in gaming revenues in 2010 - taking its overall collect to 144 billion patacas (13 billion euros).

Also joining the gaming fray has been the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh's NagaWorld Hotel & Casino ( - the only casino operator in the city - which is this year reaching out to try to lure more international visitors through its doors.

NagaWorld currently draws around 63 per cent of its regular customers from Vietnam while 60 per cent of its VIP customers come from Malaysia.

With one eye on the money the predominantly mainland Chinese visitors to Macau are helping that city turn over, NagaWorld has recently linked up with the Chinese airline Air Shenzhen to offer special tour packages in an effort to increase tourist traffic to the Cambodian capital.