Wednesday, July 24, 2024
HomeIntelligenceDeep DiveMulti-billion investments to bring unique new attractions to Singapore

Multi-billion investments to bring unique new attractions to Singapore

Multi-billion dollar investment commitments by gaming operators Las Vegas Sands (LVS) and Genting Singapore will bring new attractions to Singapore, which are expected to be “sufficiently different and outstanding”.

Multi-billion investments to bring unique new attractions to Singapore
Christopher Khoo, managing director at MasterConsult Services

In an interview with AGB, Christopher Khoo, managing director at MasterConsult Services, notes that the two operators have pledged to invest an additional $6.65 billion in non-gaming and tourism facilities, extending their duopoly until 2030.

“This will allow them to explore even more exciting attractions that can be added to Singapore’s current array of attractions,” says Khoo. “While no details have been released on the nature and scope of these new attractions, we can expect them to be sufficiently different and outstanding given the expected price tag.”

“Personally, I hope that, among other things, the performing theatre scheduled to be built will be able to host celebrity performances like those in Las Vegas. I can picture a revolving series of international and Asian artists performing residential tours in Singapore, making it the Entertainment Capital of Asia.”

Marina Bay Sands (MBS) and Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) both opened in 2010 and have now entered their 15th year of operation. During this time, they have carved out a significant portion of the higher-end gaming market in Asia. At one point, it was reported that the revenue of these two casinos exceeded that of the entire Las Vegas Strip. Khoo indicated that both operators have “constantly invested in rejuvenation and product renewal to keep their businesses fresh and front of mind through these years.”

“I’m certain that the $6.65 billion new investment will further strengthen their positions in the gaming and tourism industries,” Khoo adds.

Marina Bay Sands has committed to investing SG$4.5 billion ($3.3 billion) as part of the license exclusivity extension, while Genting Singapore plans to invest SG$6.8 billion ($5 billion) in expanding its Resorts World Sentosa.

Additionally, Sands previously announced plans to potentially commence construction on the expansion by July 2025. Renderings depict a new hotel tower alongside a 15,000-seat performance venue, setting this project apart from a separate $1.75 billion refurbishment initiative for the current property.

LVS Chief Executive Officer Rob Goldstein has projected that, based on present trends, Singapore’s total gambling revenue could reach $7 billion this year, with a trajectory towards $10 billion in the foreseeable future.


Singapore’s changing tourism landscape

Christopher Khoo is a veteran of Singapore’s tourism industry and a former member of the Singapore Tourism Board (STB), where he headed the Competitive Analysis Department.

In the same interview, Khoo notes that Singapore as a tourism destination “has not been static since Covid-19 struck.” He observes a slew of new tourism attractions and initiatives that appeal to today’s visitors, building on traditional strengths while exploring sustainability and technology solutions.

After China and Singapore entered into a mutual visa-free policy agreement starting in February this year, Singapore has seen a surge of Chinese visitors.

“China has always been an important visitor-generating market for Singapore, often trading positions at the top spot with our regional neighbor Indonesia.”

The implementation of the China visa-free policy was a very welcome initiative for Singapore. This has led to the return of Chinese tourists in larger numbers, which is good news for Singapore due to their high average spend. However, “it is important to note that the return of the Chinese market is probably the last of the major markets since the end of Covid-19 travel restrictions. All countries have largely lifted travel restrictions, some for more than two years already.”

Khoo also expresses hope that the visa-free arrangement can be extended or even made permanent as “it would facilitate two-way tourism growth between Singapore and China.”

Singapore airport

Regional competition

In the context of increasing regional competition, such as the Philippines’ ambition to surpass Singapore as Asia’s second-largest gaming hub, and the casino plans in Japan and Thailand, Khoo believes that the new developments in these countries show significant potential for growth within Asia’s casino market.

“Competition will certainly keep everyone on their toes, but barring major geopolitical upheavals, the next decade will see Asian gaming blossom with rising disposable incomes and greater ease of travel.”


Regulation tightening

Singapore has tightened its regulations on anti-money laundering in gaming. The threshold for performing due diligence checks on cash deposits in Singapore casinos is being lowered, amidst tighter controls on counter-terrorism financing (CFT).

Commenting on the possible impact, Khoo believes that “this is part of the ever-present cat and mouse game between regulators and perpetrators who try to find and exploit loopholes while regulators plug weaknesses and gaps and try to anticipate their next move.”

“In the area of illicit funds flow, it’s a never-ending series of moves and counter-moves, with both sides utilizing vigilance and technology to retain the upper hand.”

“Tightening regulations is just another means of adjusting the system,” he adds.

Viviana Chan
Viviana Chan
Viviana Chan is an editor, interpreter, and journalist. With over a decade of experience, she writes in English, Chinese, and Portuguese. Viviana started her career in Macau-based newspapers, where she became passionate about the region's social, financial, and cultural development. Her writing focuses on the economy, emerging industries, gaming development, political affairs, and cross cultural-exchange in the business and cultural domains. She is avid for news and eager to discover and cover stories that generate public relevance.



daily newsletter