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

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Life and Style
techPatent specifies 'anthropomorphic device' to control media devices
Voices
The PM proposed 'commonsense restrictions' on migrant benefits
voicesAndrew Grice: Prime Minister can talk 'one nation Conservatism' but putting it into action will be tougher
News
Ireland will not find out whether gay couples have won the right to marry until Saturday afternoon
news
News
Kim Jong-un's brother Kim Jong-chol
news
News
Manchester city skyline as seen from Oldham above the streets of terraced houses in North West England on 7 April 2015.
news
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

    Guru Careers: Events Coordinator / Junior Events Planner

    £24K + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking an Events Coordinator ...

    Royal Yachting Association Cymru Wales: Chief Executive Officer

    Salary 42,000: Royal Yachting Association Cymru Wales: The CEO is responsible ...

    Guru Careers: Marketing Manager / Marketing Communications Manager

    £35-40k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Marketing Communicati...

    Ashdown Group: Technical IT Manager - North London - Growing business

    £40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A growing business that has been ope...

    Day In a Page

    Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

    Sun, sex and an anthropological study

    One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
    From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

    Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

    'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
    'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

    Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

    This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

    Songs from the bell jar

    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
    How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

    One man's day in high heels

    ...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
    The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

    King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

    The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

    End of the Aussie brain drain

    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
    Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

    Can meditation be bad for you?

    Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
    Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

    Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

    Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
    Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

    Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

    Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
    Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

    Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

    Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
    Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

    Join the tequila gold rush

    The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
    12 best statement wallpapers

    12 best statement wallpapers

    Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
    Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

    Paul Scholes column

    Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?