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Singapore Makes Casinos An Offer They Can't Refuse by Muhammad Cohen

Singapore’s two casinos came out of the gate strong in 2010 with estimated gross gaming revenue of US$6 billion. The city appeared poised to join Macau as a second Asian jurisdiction surpassing the Las Vegas Strip in GGR. But Singapore’s 2019 GGR was US$5.9 billion. Last week, Singapore granted Marina Bay Sands and Resorts World Sentosa long desired paths to growth, an offer they couldn’t refuse in the tradition of Don Vito Corleone.

Under arrangements involving four ministries – Trade and Industry, Finance, Home Affairs and Social and Family Development – Singapore’s so-called integrated resorts will increase their combined investment by two-thirds, each spending S$4.5 billion (US$3.3 billion) on new facilities, including expanded gaming. “The IRs’ investments will enhance the vibrancy and tourism appeal of their offerings to remain competitive with other destinations in the region, and bring in more than half a million additional visitors annually,” the ministries’ joint announcement declares. The IRs had their duopoly extended until at least 2030; Union Gaming analyst Grant Govertsen dismisses the previous risk of a third IR as “effectively nil anyway.”

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