Thursday, June 17, 2010

World’s second most expensive casino opens in Singapore

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The US$5.5 billion Marina Bay Sands, the world’s second most expensive casino after MGM Mirage’s CityCenter in Las Vegas, has opened in Singapore.
The casino-resort – built by US gaming giant Las Vegas Sands - is expected to generate as much $US1 billion in annual profit.
Marina Bay Sands has teamed up with coach operators to offer 130 daily trips from various Malaysian cities to its doorsteps.
Singapore gave the green light for casino gambling in 2005, setting off a construction frenzy that went ahead despite the city-state slipping into recession in 2008 because of the global financial crisis.
Its first casino, the $US4.4 billion Resorts World Sentosa, opened for business on February 14 this year.
The complex’s opening included 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, boosting the services sector and reducing the role of manufacturing in the economy.
Marina Bay Sands is designed to cater to the corporate and convention crowd, while Resorts World is aimed at families.
Singapore, now with its two mega casinos, is unlikely to overtake Macau as an Asian gaming haven, but may steal some “high-rollers” from China as operators shift premium business to the city-state where they face an effective tax rate of 12 per cent compared with about 39 per cent in the Chinese territory.
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