With Las Vegas flailing, and the new CityCenter project causing even more pressure on room rates, the idea in gaming, as in almost all things nowadays, is to "Go East Young Gambler (or Old)." While Macau has been an investor favorite, one ace in the hole for Las Vegas Sands (LVS), to compensate for the dreck that is Vegas, is Signapore. (Click to enlarge)
Last night we received the announcement that the first phase should launch in April. This will be only the 2nd casino to open in Asia's financial hub:
- Las Vegas Sands will open the first phase of its Singapore casino on April 27, earlier than expected, bringing into play a project CEO Sheldon Adelson says will generate $1 billion in annual profits.
- Las Vegas Sands said the Singapore casino's official opening is scheduled for June 23 when the firm expects to open more retail and dining outlets along with the nightlife offerings. The Marina Bay Sands' April start date is in line with what Las Vegas Sands has forecast, but comes as a bit of a surprise as construction is still taking place at the waterfront site near Singapore's central business district.
- The $5.5 billion Marina Bay Sands casino will start operating along with 963 hotel rooms, part of the shopping mall and convention center, and several dining outlets, Las Vegas Sands said in a statement on Wednesday.
- The opening of the Marina Bay casino follows on the heels of the opening of Singapore's first casino, rival Genting Singapore's Resorts World at Sentosa, on Feb 14. "Given Marina Bay Sands' centralized location and possibly a higher quality product offering, Resorts World will likely see challenges in attracting casino patronage," said Deutsche Bank analyst Aun-Ling Chia in a note to clients. "Resorts World needs to ramp up fast to fully leverage on the first-mover advantage," Chia said. Singapore's first casino, Resorts World, has had a mixed performance since its opening 10 days ago.
- In a report on Wednesday, the Straits Times newspaper said while the shops and eateries were packed and hotels fully booked, the number of people entering the casino was much smaller than numbers reported by casinos in Macau after their opening.
- The Marina Bay Sands occupies a waterfront site at the edge of Singapore's central business district, and was the more fiercely contested licence when Singapore gave the green light to casinos in 2005 in a bid to attract more tourists.
- News of the Singapore opening date comes amid pressure on the share prices of Las Vegas casino operators due to falling room rates and on worries about MGM Mirage's (MGM) newly opened $8.5 billion, 6,000-room CityCenter project.
Disclosure: Long Las Vegas Sands in fund; no personal position