Singapore (EWS) is making a big bet in a crowded Asian leisure and gambling market.
The first of two huge leisure and convention resorts based around casinos opens its doors in Singapore this Wednesday, rolling the dice on a $10bn bet by Las Vegas Sands and Malaysia’s Genting group on gambling in the city state. The resorts are expected to add a remarkable 1.7 percentage points to gross domestic product in a full year – enough to push back opposition to gaming in squeaky clean Singapore.
“This is an entirely new sector of the economy,” said Leong Wai Ho, an economist at Barclays Capital Research, who spent three years helping to plan the casino resorts while working for the Singapore government. Mr. Leong said the impact of the resorts would be multiplied across the economy, creating up to 40,000 jobs and boosting consumption as wealthy Asian tourists and business travelers make their way to the city. The biggest of the resorts, the $5.5bn Marina Bay Sands in the city’s business district, will boast two theaters and a convention centre for 45,000 delegates as well as a casino.