IAG 2006-01 Jan - page 10-11

ATourof theContenders
Macauwill retain its crown as Asia’s top-grossing gamingmarket for years to come, but other regional
jurisdictions developing ambitious casino resorts, most notably Singapore, coulddraw away themeetings,
incentives, conventions and exhibitions (MICE) visitors that have enabled the resorts inVegas to flourish
redit may not be such a sticking point for
Singapore’s futuregaming industry.
After reversing its four-decade ban on casino
gaming inApril 2005,Singaporebeganaccepting
proposals for the first of two planned integrated
resorts (IRs) on November 15—following a
five month delay. Despite the delay, the IRs are
expected to be ready, as scheduled, by 2009, and
according to media reports, could see winning
bidders commit as much as US$5 billion in
investment.
Thefirst IRwill be situatedat theMarinaBayfront,
and the other on the resort island of Sentosa,
which is linked to the mainland by bridge and
cable car. Singapore is expected to start seeking
proposals for the latter IR by the first quarter of
2006.
The Singapore government has fixed theprice of
the Marina Bayfront site at a rather steep S$1.2
billion (US$733 million). Including the land cost,
Merrill Lynch estimates the Marina Bayfront IR
will cost thewinning bidder aroundUS$3 billion
todevelop,making it themostexpensive resort in
theworld.
In the last issue of Inside Asian Gaming, Jorge
Oliveira, the man charged with drafting Macau’s
gaming legislation, speculated that Singapore
would be unable to allow the granting of credit
togamblers, and that doing sowould tarnish the
city-state’s reputation as amajor financial centre.
This would seriously handicap Singapore in any
bid to take gaming revenue fromMacau, where
VIP rooms granting credit account for 70percent
of revenue.
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