Casinos: Considered views

In Casinos on 20/05/2010 at 5:21 am

We don’t get this type of stuff from our “constructive or “nation building” MSM nor from our often emotional socio-political websites. I don’t blame the latter because they are reacting to the BS that SPH and MediaCorp copy down from somewhere.

Example: last Saturday BT wrote, “Teething problems aside, the government has given the assurance that Singapore’s two new integrated resorts – casinos and all – are ‘off to a flying start’ so far.” But no evidence was cited. It was summarising what cabinet minister Vivian was saying.  But yesterday, MediaCorp’s free sheet reported rhat junior minister Isawaran had said that it was too early to judge success of the IRs.

The views of the Economist

[T]he Marina Bay Sands casino … is a striking addition to the Singapore skyline. It also symbolises an interesting, and potentially risky, new phase in the city-state’s highly successful government-led industrial policy.

The government has identified tourism as having big potential for growth, and offering visitors the opportunity to gamble is seen as a crucial part of its plan … Yet whereas Singapore’s government has been unreservedly enthusiastic in its attempts to attract other industries, ranging from biotech to hedge funds, it clearly has mixed feelings about its pursuit of the gambling dollar. It can scarcely bring itself to utter the word casino, preferring instead to describe its new attractions as “integrated resorts”

[Eg CNA reported There will be no compromise to the government’s concept of an Integrated Resort (IR) – that allows only a small proportion for gambling … when the IRs are fully open, gaming areas will take up less than 3 per cent of the Gross Floor Area for Marina Bay Sands and less than 5 per cent for Resorts World Sentosa …both IRs have, in fact, opened significant non-gaming facilities … junior minister S Iswaran, said in answer to a question in Parliament.

The recent travails of those rival resorts [Macau and Las Vegas] are a reminder that the gambling industry is risky not only for punters but also for investors and the places that host it …

For Singapore, the immediate opportunity is to give the many business people who visit a reason to stay for the weekend rather than leave as soon as their work is done. Hitherto there has been little fun to be had other than hitting Orchard Road’s glitzy shopping malls.

The view from the NYT.

It’s all about attracting conventions, trade shows and other big-tent events.

But Singapore will face tough competition. The Hong Kong Tourism Board got a budget of 150 million Hong Kong dollars from the government to increase promotions for meetings and conventions in the next five years. The board has set up an office to provide one-stop professional support to event organizers and enhance overseas promotions.

And Macau too according to the article.

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