That seems to be the buzz these days, with the opening of two casino-resorts earlier this year in Singapore.
They’re not just hotels with slot machines in the lobby --Marina Bay Sands Resort is a $5.5 billion property with 2,560 guest rooms, seven restaurants, a three-acre rooftop park with a 500-foot infinity pool and two nightclubs soaring over the Lion City skyline.
Not quite as impressive at a cost of $4.93 billion, Resorts World Sentosa has 1,840 rooms, also seven restaurants, a Universal Studios theme park, and the world’s largest marine park.
Together, both properties posted second-quarter earnings that suggest that this island nation could rival Las Vegas by 2012. As it stands, Singapore is on track to have a $4 billion casino market on an annualized basis, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The road to Singapore’s Vegas-fication started five years ago when the Singapore government announced its plan to develop integrated casino resorts. It’s on the heels of Macau, which in many ways already is the “Las Vegas of Asia.” A couple of Vegas corporations are in fact, at the helm of this shift in burgeoning gaming destinations.
Marina Bay Sands is owned by Las Vegas Sands Corporation, and Steve Wynn, Vegas’ most iconic hotel developer, has long claimed his stake in Asia with his hotel casinos in Macau, the Wynn the Venetian. (Resorts World Sentosa is owned by Genting Singapore, a Malaysian corporation.)
With both gambling hubs growing steadily, there’s no need for Asians to fly across the Pacific for the very things that Vegas has to offer –that is, ostentatious resorts, celebrity-chef restaurants, over-the-top entertainment, and of course, gambling galore.
Now only if they came up with an icon like Elvis, Singapore would have an ace in the hole.
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