Singapore opens 2nd casino in big bet on Asia

Updated: 2010-04-28 11:33
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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 Marina Bay Sands, built by US gaming giant Las Vegas Sands, opened at the locally auspicious time of 3:18 pm. The number eight sounds like the word for prosperity in Chinese.

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

Las Vegas Sands chairman Sheldon Adelson said he expects to recoup his Singapore investment in five years.

"Most of the high-end players are reputable business people. They have to travel anyway, so they typically would travel to the major cities, like Hong Kong and Singapore, where they do business," he told reporters.

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 Resorts World Sentosa, built by Malaysia's Genting Group, opened for business on Feb 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 labor 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 center and the events plaza.

The remaining hotel rooms and suites, a skypark and more shops will open on June 23, while a museum, theaters 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 by 2015, supporting the services sector and reducing the role of manufacturing in the economy.

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


(中国日报网英语点津 Helen 编辑)

Singapore opens 2nd casino in big bet on Asia

About the broadcaster:

Singapore opens 2nd casino in big bet on Asia

Nelly Min is an editor at China Daily with more than 10 years of experience as a newspaper editor and photographer. She has worked at major newspapers in the U.S., including the Los Angeles Times and the Detroit Free Press. She is fluent in Korean and has a 2-year-old son.