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Singapore casinos to expand

Thu, Apr 11, 9:33am by Staff Writer

Singapore’s two casinos came out of the gate strong in 2010 with estimated gross gaming revenue of US$6 billion.

The city appeared poised to join Macau as a second Asian jurisdiction surpassing the Las Vegas Strip in gross gaming revenue.

The country’s most recent gross gaming revenue was just US$5.9 billion, with the market seemingly stagnating.

The Singaporean Government last week granted Marina Bay Sands and Resorts World Sentosa the opportunity to grow, with the help of four government ministries.

The Department of Trade and Industry, Finance, Home Affairs and Social and Family Development.

Singapore’s so-called integrated resorts will increase their combined investment by two-thirds, each spending S$4.5 billion (US$3.3 billion) on new facilities, including expanded gaming.

The integrated resorts investments will enhance the vibrancy and tourism appeal of their offerings to remain competition with other destinations in the region and bring in more than half a million additional visitors, the ministries’ announcement reveals.

The integrated resorts also had their national duopoly extended until at least 2030.

Each integrated resort has its own expansion requirements.

Marina Bay Sands is vying with Galaxy Macau for the mantel of the world’s most profitable casino property and will build a 15,000 seat indoor arena at the foot of a 1,000 suite luxury hotel tower.

The new tower, on a lot owner Las Vegas Sands and founder Sheldon Adelson have long coveted across the street from the current three hotel towers, sounds like a mini Marina Bay Sands, with a dramatic atrium and rooftop fool area.

The Marina Bay Sands additions will likely link to the existing complex via an underground network that already crosses city streets to connect the hotel, gaming, retail and convention components, and also has an MRT train station.

Expansion plans more complicated for Resorts World Sentosa

For Resorts World Sentosa, the expansion plans are a little more complicated.

They will add two new sections to their Universal Studios theme park, an enlarged Aquarium into Singapore Oceanarium, convert its theatre into “Adventure Dining Playhouse” and redevelop waterfront areas with a free wow factor attraction, public event space plus a retail and dining promenade.

It will also add two new hotels with a total of 1,100 keys and increase exhibition space by 11,000 square metres.

According to analysts on a conference call with Resorts World Sentosa’s parent company Genting Singapore, the major new amenities will come on line in 2024 and beyond.

In contrast with the Marina Bay Sands expansion, Resorts World Sentosa’s changes will disrupt some current operations.

In exchange for these investments and subject to development thresholds, the government will let each integrated resort expand its current 15,000 square metres of casino space.

An additional 2,000 additional square metres and 1,000 more electronic gaming machines for Marina Bay Sands and 500 square metres and 800 machines for Resorts World Sentosa.

The disparity in space and machines was explained by the ministries who told Forbes, “each integrated resort made an independent assessment of what they would require and eventually we arrived [at] commercial arrangements that each integrated resort was comfortable with.”

Singapore has already begun taking payment despite the additional income streams coming down the line.

As of last Thursday, the casino entry tax for Singapore citizens and permanent residents rose 50 per cent to S$150 for 24 hours or S$3000 annually per casino.

Furthermore, in 2022, Singapore will increase gaming tax rates by three percentage points to 15 per cent for VIPs and 25 per cents for mass play.

Rates could rise another four points in each category for an integrated resort failing to fulfill their investment commitments.

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