Posts Tagged ‘Marina Sands’

Genting S’pore: Give it a break

In Casinos on 29/01/2011 at 8:41 am

Recently, there was an ant–terrorist exercise at RWS. Shouldn’t it have been held at Marina Sands?

In addition to being a casino, there are two more compelling reasons for it being a target for Paki terrorists. It is owned by an American and a church uses part of the place on Sundays to hold services.

Genting on the other hand is HQed in a Muslim nation and is no friend of Flipper — “The enemy of an enemy is my friend”.

Casinos: Trouble at Marina Sands?

In Casinos on 29/01/2011 at 6:52 am

CEO is going, This would be second major resignation in months.

Could it be that MM waz right that the ramp up in Sands would be slower than what mgt expected?

Or that mgt couldn’t get the little people from M’sia, Indonesia and S’pore to patronise the casino? Too ang moh for their taste?

Casinos: Answers needed

In Casinos on 11/09/2010 at 6:27 am

After the Kiddie Games fiasco looks like Vivian Balakrishnan goofed again. It’s getting to be a habit — remember his tirades against the poor, and the homeless and the delay in building a new sports complex.

OK, I’m a bit unfair as the latest goof should be shared with the statutory agency regulating the casinos. And perhaps LTA as surely the bus service must have needed LTA approval?

VB’s ministry and the agency have implicitly admitted that they shouldn’t have allowed the bus service to the heartlands when the ministry said it  and the Casino Regulatory Authority would issue a directive yesterday to stop the shuttle services provided by casino operators.

What is worrying is that despite the service starting officially in June, the authorities only said a few days ago that they would investigate the service. They didn’t know earlier? Or they didn’t care?

If the former, there are all kinds of security implications. If the authorities didn’t know something that was openly done in  contravention of the law, this means that those who want to plant bombs can be reasonably assured they wouldn’t be detected.

If they didn’t care, waz all the talk abt protecting S’poreans against the ills of gambling worth?

And if they didn’t know until recently, why they  didn’t know? And what steps is the PM taking to improve open source and covert intelligence gathering?

And if some ministries or agencies knew, and others didn’t, why wasn’t info shared and why those that didn’t know,  find out. I mean the services were not covert.

I hope the govmin comes clean about when it knew abt the heartland bus service, and if it knew early, why it didn’t do anything for months?

Did some MasterMind realise what VB and clowns were doing or not doing, and break  skulls?

This after all has implications on S’pore’s image for being a gd place to do business because the govmin is efficient, something VB has tarnished with the Kiddie Games and the delay in building a national play pen.

Update 14 Sept

Are the IRs a flop?

In Casinos on 08/06/2010 at 6:03 am

[Updated on 7 September 2010 — see last para]

Casinos would be allowed in Singapore only “over my dead body,” Lee Kuan Yew, the country’s founder and a fierce opponent of gambling, once said according to the opening paragraph of this NYT article on the casinos here

Well he allowed them in when still alive but will they be more than the living dead when it comes to attracting high rollers?

Maybe not

While hoping to draw free-spending Chinese, Indonesians and other foreigners to the establishments, the government has imposed strict reporting regulations that make it difficult for the casinos to draw high rollers, who typically make up a disproportionate share of casino revenues.

Casino revenues, experts say, could also be crimped by Singapore’s stringent restrictions.

In Asia, especially in Macao, high rollers are usually shuffled from one casino to another by tour operators who guarantee their privacy. But the government here requires tour operators to disclose gamblers’ names and passport and tax identification numbers. The regulations have effectively forced the casinos to seek high rollers on their own by inviting big-betting guests from their casinos outside Singapore.

And its not even attracting the tourists

So far, the news media here have reported that locals have accounted for a greater share of gamblers than had been expected; Sands, which opened in late April, attracted bad press when participants in the first conference held there complained of power failures and other problems. Whether the resorts eventually attract the sought-after buzz and foreigners, especially when they are fully running later this year, remains to be seen.

“If I were to hazard a guess, I think that those who were banking on the holistic concept of integrated resorts to bring an increased and diverse number of tourists may be disappointed,” Derek da Cunha, the author of “Singapore Places Its Bets,” a book on the casinos’ impact on Singapore, said in an e-mail message. “Insofar as tourism is concerned, what we largely have now is casino tourism.”

So what hope the  casinos would generate the kind of “buzz” found in London, Paris and New York.

“Their development is also part of our bigger plan to reinvent our city-state and turn it into an exciting, livable global city,” the Singapore Tourism Board said in a written reply to a question about the resorts.

The only gd thing

Through their sheer size and proximity to the city center, the casinos have already transformed Singapore’s landscape.

And if you were a friend of Dr Chee or his SDP, or TOC Choo another sign of PAP failure.

The truth is more wishy-washy.  It is too early to tell … whether they will succeed, as Singapore hopes, in transforming its image, culture and mind-set.

But the signs don’t look good.

Well based on Gentings performance as reflected in its share price, the casinos are making money. But the fiasco over the “tapping” of locals, shows that the aim to attracting foreigners and remaking S’pore is still “an aspiration” (to quote MM from another context).

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.)