The two Integrated Resorts (IRs) have committed to investing a total of S$9 billion on their expansion plans, revealed the Senior Minister of State (SMS) for Trade and Industry Chee Hong Tat yesterday (April 16). The SMS was speaking at the Tourism Industry Conference. Chee said that with the IRs’ expansion, they would introduce new world-class attractions and experiences.
The minister said: “Many of these will be first-in-Singapore; for instance, Marina Bay Sands (MBS) will introduce a new entertainment arena, while Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) will expand Universal Studios Singapore to include Super Nintendo World and Minion Park. The new investments would benefit Singapore’s tourism industry and further strengthen our position as a global business hub. It will also create many jobs for Singaporeans and business opportunities for local companies.”
He added: “The IRs’ expansion will contribute to the inflow of visitors looking for new attractions and experiences. With 18.5 mil international visitor arrivals to Singapore last year, tourism presents a good opportunity for our businesses to market their products to the world.”
The government said on April 3 that the two IRs — MBS and RWS — will invest this large amount in exchange for the extension of their exclusivity period until end-2030. This would mean that no other casinos will be introduced in Singapore until the end of the exclusivity period.
Both the casinos have also been given additional gaming provisions by the government who reason that this expansion is so that the resorts can remain “commercially viable”.
MBS and RWS, which are both currently allowed 15,000 sq m of approved gaming area and 2,500 gambling machines, will be allowed to deploy an additional 2,000-500 sq m and 1,000-850 gambling machines under the new agreement.
Workers Party politician Gerald Giam questioned the reasoning behind this allowance.
In a pointed Facebook post, Mr Giam asked:
“The government says these concessions will help these casino resorts to remain “commercially viable” in view of their expansion.
“However casino magnate Shelden Adelson, who owns MBS, was quoted in the same article saying that MBS has “exceeded all of our hopes in growing leisure and business tourism in Singapore.”
“This certainly sounds like MBS is exceedingly “viable”, which raises the question: Why is there a need to allow casino gambling to expand in Singapore?”