The opening of the first Japanese IRs may still be five or more years into the future, but Singapore’s recent decision to allow a US$6.6 billion expansion of its two IRs is related to an effort to ensure that Japanese competition doesn’t draw too much business away from the Southeast Asia city-state.
This was made clear in a television program called Money Mind broadcast this past weekend on Channel News Asia, the Singaporean broadcaster. Speaking of the future of Singapore’s IRs, the report observed, “one of the bigger threats is from upcoming casinos in Japan.”
Eli Lee, head of investment strategy at the Bank of Singapore, stated that the IR expansion in Singapore was needed to “enhance the competitive position” of the country. “By opening IRs Japan hopes to keep this growth and momentum in tourism going after the Olympics,” he observed.
Referring to the gaming market size in Asia, he added, “It is expected that when the Japanese IRs do open they will knock Singapore off the second spot. This is obviously setting up more competition for our IRs. Against this backdrop I think it makes a lot of sense for us to put in a sizable investment to enhance the competitive position of our IRs over the next few years.”
The Singapore IR expansion is expected to draw an additional 500,000 visitors a year.