Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Experts Say Singapore Has Edge Over Macau As A Gaming Destination

Source : Channel NewsAsia, 09 September 2008

Singapore will have an edge over Macau when the first of its integrated resorts is completed in 2009. This is because the Republic is already an established tourist destination, said gaming experts at the Asian Casinos Executive Summit on Tuesday.

Integrated resorts with casinos are not just about gambling. They now include family-friendly attractions, business-focused trade shows, restaurants and entertainment shows.

This shift away from a purely gambling focus has helped Las Vegas withstand economic shocks in the 1970s and late 1990s and widened its appeal beyond just gamblers. Singapore is expected to follow this trend.

Tim Maland, director of Nevada Commission on Tourism, said: "Times are tough when compared to prior years. But I think in the long term, you have to look out ahead of yourself.

"In several years, when you're looking at the structures that are being constructed here, I'm totally optimistic that we will live through this cycle that we're going through right now, and recover in the future when these facilities are completed.

"I think that will be when the economies of the world are getting stronger again and I have no doubt that these facilities will be successful."

Experts said Singapore will have an edge over established Asian gaming hotspot Macau because it already draws in tourists who come here for shopping and business.

"Macau on the other hand is truly just a gaming destination and will remain a gaming destination for many years until they start to build the infrastructure that Singapore already has," said Andy Nazarechuk, the dean of the Singaporean campus of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

"So when Singapore opens the integrated resorts, it will jump ahead of Macau in certain aspects - not size, but for the quality of the product that Singapore will offer," he added.

Singapore's integrated resorts also differ from its competitor as they are targeting high rollers for their casino component, whereas Macau's customers are mass market players from China, Taiwan and Japan.

Singapore's first integrated resort, the Marina Bay Sands, is scheduled to be completed at the end of next year. - CNA/vm

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