Singapore opens second casino, major bet on Asian gambling

Singapore threw open the doors of its second casino Tuesday, giving a fresh boost to the city's tourism sector and raising its profile as a playground for the world's high-rollers.

The 5.5 billion US dollar Marina Bay Sands, built by US gaming giant Las Vegas Sands, opened at 3:18 pm local time (0718 GMT), which is associated with prosperity according to Chinese geomancy experts.

It is Las Vegas Sands' latest big-time bet on the future of Asia's gaming industry and is its first casino in Asia outside Macau.

Las Vegas Sands chairman Sheldon Adelson said he expects to recoup his Singapore investment in five years, and described the development as the company's most valuable property so far.

He expects 70,000 to 80,000 people to visit the complex daily when all the facilities are open.

Singapore gave the green light for casino gambling in 2005, setting off a flurry of construction that went ahead despite the city-state slipping into recession in 2008 because of the global financial crisis.

Its first casino, the 4.4 billion US-dollar Resorts World Sentosa built by Malaysia's Genting Group, opened for business on February 14.

Marina Bay Sands was originally set to open at the end of 2009 but faced repeated delays caused by a number of factors, including material and labour shortages and financial problems due to the downturn.

Tuesday's opening includes the casino and 963 out of 2,560 hotel rooms, a portion of the shopping mall, some restaurants, an exhibition centre and the events plaza.

The remaining hotel rooms and suites, a skypark and more shops will open on June 23, while a museum, theatres and other stores will start operations later in the year, the management said.

Officials hope the casinos will help Singapore achieve a target of attracting 17 million visitors a year generating over 21 billion US dollars by 2015.

"This second casino is another boost to the economy, which has been doing much better," said economist David Cohen at research house Action Economics.

"It should support tourist arrivals, and the retail sector should benefit from that especially now in the midst of the improving global outlook."

CIMB economist Song Seng Wun said the two casinos will add depth to Singapore's hospitality industry.

"Singapore is not the cheapest place to come to but it offers something different for travellers either for leisure or business," he told AFP.

After shrinking 2.0 percent last year, Singapore's trade-reliant economy is projected to grow by up to nine percent this year, the government said.

But economists said the additional boost from the services sector, which includes tourism, could enable Singapore to surpass the targets.

Marina Bay Sands is designed to cater to the corporate and convention crowd while Resorts World is aimed at families.

The Marina Bay Sands casino will offer 600 gaming tables, more than 1,500 slot machines and over 30 private gaming rooms. It occupies four floors, the bottom two for mass gaming and the upper section for premium players.

The Resorts World complex, located on Sentosa island, includes Southeast Asia's only Universal Studios movie theme park, hotels, restaurants and convention facilities.

Adelson told reporters the two casinos should "work together" to bring in more visitors.

"Our success doesn't depend on their failure, neither does their success depend on our failure," said Adelson, who flew in for the opening.

Carter Lee, 60, who had flown from Hawaii was among dozens of punters wanting to get their first try at the casino.

"If my luck is running good, I'll spend more. If it's down, I'll get up and walk away," he told AFP.

Lee Kim Lian, 68, from Kuala Lumpur, said she arrived Monday with 10,000 Singapore dollars (7,300 US) in cash.

"I'll call my friends and family in Kuala Lumpur to come down tonight," she said.

plj-mba/dan

The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations

News
Denny Miller in 1959 remake of Tarzan, the Ape Man
people
Arts and Entertainment
Cheryl despairs during the arena auditions
tvX Factor review: Drama as Cheryl and Simon spar over girl band

News
Piers Morgan tells Scots they might not have to suffer living on the same island as him if they vote ‘No’ to Scottish Independence
news
News
i100Exclusive interview with the British analyst who helped expose Bashar al-Assad's use of Sarin gas
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Angel Di Maria celebrates his first goal for Manchester United against QPR
Football4-0 victory is team's first win under new manager Louis van Gaal
Arts and Entertainment
art
News
newsIn short, yes
Arts and Entertainment
Rob James-Collier, who plays under-butler Thomas Barrow, admitted to suffering sleepless nights over the Series 5 script
tv'Thomas comes right up to the abyss', says the actor
Arts and Entertainment
Calvin Harris claimed the top spot in this week's single charts
music
Sport
BoxingVideo: The incident happened in the very same ring as Tyson-Holyfield II 17 years ago
News
Groundskeeper Willie has backed Scottish independence in a new video
people
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor poses the question of whether we are every truly alone in 'Listen'
tvReview: Possibly Steven Moffat's most terrifying episode to date
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
News
i100
Life and Style
Cara Delevigne at the TopShop Unique show during London Fashion Week
fashion
News
The life-sized tribute to Amy Winehouse was designed by Scott Eaton and was erected at the Stables Market in Camden
peopleBut quite what the singer would have made of her new statue...
Sport
England's Andy Sullivan poses with his trophy and an astronaut after winning a trip to space
sport
News
peopleThe actress has agreed to host the Met Gala Ball - but not until 2015
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    USA/Florida Travel Consultants £30-50k OTE Essex

    Basic of £18,000 + commission, realistic OTE of £30-£50k : Ocean Holidays: Le...

    Marketing Executive / Member Services Exec

    £20 - 26k + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Marketing Executive / Member Services Ex...

    Sales Account Manager

    £15,000 - £25,000: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has arisen for ...

    VB.NET and C# developer (VB.NET,C#,ASP.NET)

    £30000 - £45000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: VB.NET a...

    Day In a Page

    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    The Imitation Game, film review
    England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

    England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

    Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week
    The fall of Rome? Cash-strapped Italy accused of selling its soul to the highest bidder

    The fall of Rome?

    Italy's fears that corporate-sponsored restoration projects will lead to the Disneyfication of its cultural heritage
    Glasgow girl made good

    Glasgow girl made good

    Kelly Macdonald was a waitress when she made Trainspotting. Now she’s taking Manhattan
    Sequins ahoy as Strictly Come Dancing takes to the floor once more

    Sequins ahoy as Strictly takes to the floor once more

    Judy Murray, Frankie Bridge and co paired with dance partners
    Wearable trainers and other sporty looks

    Wearable trainers and other sporty looks

    Alexander Wang pumps it up at New York Fashion Week
    The landscape of my imagination

    The landscape of my imagination

    Author Kate Mosse on the place that taught her to tell stories