atans1

Casinos: High rollers? You must be kidding?

In Uncategorized on 24/04/2010 at 6:19 pm

The casino at Marina Sands opened yesterday. Both casinos are now operational.

When the casino projects were launched several years ago, the government, Sands and Gentings were spinning that the casinos were for high rollers. They were not interested in the mass market. The government has since gone silent but the casinos are still spinning that.

But then how come Resorts World announced that it was partnering Air Asia to bring in the punters. I’m wondering what kind of high rollers fly budget airlines?

And last week Tuesday, BT reported that Marina Sands is partnering 12  M’sian coach operators “in an effort to attract more tourists to its integrated resort which opens later this month.” “Coach prices will range between $55 and $110 (return).”

Err this the high roller traffic Sands boasting about? Sounds like the grind (small punters) market to this punter.

And it would seem the patrons are locals. A recent report by Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BoAML) estimates that about 50-60%  of the casino patrons at Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) are Singaporean. BoAML also believes that the casino attracts between 20,000-25,000 visitors on weekdays (with more on weekends).

Vincent Khoo, an analyst at UOB KayHian (Malaysia), says there has been noticeably lower visitor arrivals to Genting Highlands from Singapore since RWS opened.

Apart from Macau, casinos are set to pop up all over Asia: in Taiwan, Vietnam, and the Philippines. “One market that will have to play close attention to growth of new markets in Asia is Australia, which currently sees a large number of tourists from the likes of Taiwan, Korea, China, and India visit its casinos,” says Warwick Bartlett, GBGC chief executive reported BT. “The real test is whether these new properties will satisfy demand that is currently not being met, or if they are simply shifting the same gamblers and their money around different venues.”

Applied to S’pore, can it attract the OZ-bound punters? And get the Indians, Taiwanese, Koreans and Chinese to come here?

And if you want a holiday around Melbourne, I know a gd package deal. So long as you are willing to spend S$10,000 in a casino, you can get airline tickets for two, a five-star hotel room, and a limo to and from the airport. A top race horse trainer I know thinks it value for money. He says he and his wife spend that much when they visit their children in Melbourne. And as he added, “And I could get lucky”.

Update 28 April 2010

At least we known Marina Sands will not use a budget airline to fly punters from the  Middle East. Sands has a wide-body aeroplane. (Update on 6 May: this aircraft is based at Senai in Johor because Changi is a lot more expensiveaccording to someone senior at the former.)

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