When considering the history and impact of Singapore casino industry, there are several elements to take into account: culture, strategy and heritage.
Singapore has rapidly transformed itself into an integrated resort destination with the opening of Marina Bay Sands and Resorts World Sentosa in 2010. Not only has this resulted in a large influx of tourists, but also considerable gaming revenue.
Singapore’s gambling industry is highly regulated, with multiple pieces of legislation in place. The lottery has a monopoly and only two land-based casinos are permitted within the country.
However, there are exceptions. Singapore Pools operates the national lottery and casino gambling is allowed in integrated resorts (IR).
Despite these obstacles, the government eventually legalized the industry in 2005 after operating illegally for more than a decade. The aim was to attract more tourists to India and it was anticipated that IRs would contribute significantly to increasing tourism revenues.
The government also asserted that IRs were an ideal means of creating jobs and stimulating economic development. Not only would these IRs feature a casino, but also hotels, restaurants, convention facilities, entertainment shows, theme parks and luxury retail shops.
Marina Bay Sands
Marina Bay Sands is a multi-billion dollar integrated resort designed by Moshe Safdie in Singapore. It includes a gaming casino, three 50-storey hotel towers, the gravity defying rooftop Sands SkyPark, retail shopping malls, outdoor event venues, lotus-inspired ArtScience Museum with rooftop amphitheater and over sixty dining options.
The Las Vegas-based company said it hopes to attract between 70,000 and 80,000 daily visitors to its casino. Unfortunately, Singapore government has taken strict measures in the past year in an effort to minimize social costs from casino success, potentially restricting local market expansion.
Singapore may have a smaller casino industry than Macau, but it still generates billions of dollars annually in revenue. Even if Singapore doesn’t become the world’s top VIP gambling hub, its popularity will only continue to increase over time.
Resorts World Sentosa
Resorts World Sentosa (RWS), situated on Sentosa Island in Singapore, is one of the country’s most renowned tourist attractions. Spread across 49 hectares, RWS features six hotels, Southeast Asia’s first Universal Studios theme park, oceanarium, waterpark, retail outlets festive plaza casino and waterfront amphitheater.
RWS contracted AECOM to provide comprehensive design and engineering consulting services. The development includes six hotels with 1,800 rooms, Singapore’s first Universal Studios theme park, a marine life aquarium, waterpark and the world’s largest oceanarium.
Resorts World Sentosa Casino (located beneath Crockfords Tower) opened its doors in January 2010, boasting 500 gaming tables and 2,400 machines. Owned by Asia’s largest and oldest gaming operator Genting Group, its offering is primarily tailored towards Chinese and Asian gamblers.
Singapore’s two integrated casino resorts are among the world’s leading operators and regulators in terms of operations and regulation. Despite COVID-19’s impact, both MBS and RWS have performed strongly this year, with gaming revenues up 96% year-on-year and adjusted EBITDA up 73% quarter-on-quarter.
Singapore’s casino industry is currently flourishing, but the country isn’t without its challenges. It has been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic and is experiencing a slowdown in foreign visitor numbers.
However, the casino industry remains a boon to Singapore’s economy, with companies like Las Vegas Sands and Genting Singapore contributing over 1.5 percent to GDP. Furthermore, as Asia’s economies attempt to recover from recession, Singapore’s casino sector will likely experience tremendous growth.
The future of Singapore’s casino industry depends on how it manages its social impact. This sector faces its own set of problems, and the government has taken measures to address them.