Expectations Of Casino Expansion In Singapore Went Largely Unmet

Article by : Eva Reed Aug 17, 2020

It looks like the far-reaching plans to expand the casino market in Singapore will have to be put into cold storage. The consequences of the global pandemic caused by the coronavirus are just beginning to impact gambling establishments. International operators of the gambling market record colossal losses daily.

Almost all operators are busy trying to reduce operating costs and retain as much staff as possible. Meanwhile, some previously promising and successful gambling establishments are simply forced to close their doors forever.

While the overall projection points to a gradual recovery, the pandemic’s real impact will be felt over the coming years anyway.

The previously booming Singapore market will also have to slow down its development dynamics. This is especially true for the tourist and entertainment markets.

According to Bloomberg TV, the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) CEO Keith Tan, the country is beginning to emerge from the problematic situation associated with Covid-19 gradually. Also, Tan stressed that the two largest casino platforms operating in the country will have to adjust their plans to expand the gambling market. It concerns such popular operators as Genting Singapore Lt and Marina Bay Sands Pte Ltd. However, the CEO noted that the companies’ management is very positive about further development despite the forced adjustment of plans for the Singapore market.

However, these positive statements run counter to the opinion of Las Vegas Sands (LVS) CEO Sheldon Adelson. The popular brand LVS, which managers the famous resort Marina Bay Sands, has already managed to lose about $1 billion in the second quarter of 2020. As a result, strategic plans to expand its influence in the Singapore market will have to be paused. On the other hand, if we assess the long-term prospects, this market is still one of the critical areas that the brand will develop shortly.

Keith Tan also noted that disruptions in the construction sector and a drop in tourist traffic also inevitably affected casino operators’ plans. In general, the number of tourists who arrived in the country decreased by 65.7% compared to the figures that were recorded in 2019. At present, the total number of tourists is only 2.66 million.

As a result of this situation, the tourism market has witnessed an overall decline of 39% in the first quarter of this year. Meanwhile, the total amount of revenues from the tourism market amounted to $2.92 billion. It may seem that this figure looks quite good against the background of the problems and limitations associated with Covid-19. However, the Singapore Tourism Board hoped that the sector’s total revenue this year could reach over $4 billion.

It seems that the local authorities are ready to use the current situation to their advantage. The fact is that while the casinos closed their doors to visitors, the authorities and regulatory bodies got a chance for a more detailed and scrupulous investigation of cases related to money laundering.

As a reminder, the Singapore gambling market started operating in 1968. The first lotteries launched by the Singapore government were an attempt to bring the gambling market in accordance with the law. The thing is that the bulk of casinos at that time operated outside the law. Therefore, the government needed to make every effort to take the entertainment market under its control.

Singapore is currently one of the most promising financial centers in the world. Even though only two large casino operators operate in the country, the volume of the entertainment market is in fourth place in the world after the USA, Macau, and Canada.

Eva Reed

Chief Editor

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