SINGAPORE, April 27 — Las Vegas Sands, the world’s most valuable casino firm, expects to recoup its US$5.5 billion investment in its Marina Bay Sands casino in Singapore within five years, CEO Sheldon Adelson said today.
His comments came at the opening of Singapore’s second casino resort as global operators such as Las Vegas Sands and Steve Wynn’s Wynn Resorts seek growth in Asia, lured by the region’s growing wealth and Chinese passion for gambling.
“The Asian people see gaming as a form of entertainment. In the West, we have a different approach,” Sheldon said.
Las Vegas Sands said it hoped to attract 70,000-80,000 visitors a day to its casino and other facilities.
Marina Bay Sands is the world’s second-most expensive casino after MGM Mirage’s CityCentre in Las Vegas.
Adelson said the Singapore casino will provide credit to selected gamblers rather than rely on junket operators as is the practice in Macau.
Feedback from junket operators indicates most of them are not keen to operate in Singapore because of the disclosure requirements demanded of them by authorities, said Sheldon.
“We don’t have junket reps in Las Vegas,” said Adelson, who is also the firm’s founder and major shareholder. “It’s not a system that is seen worldwide. It’s uniquely Asian and primarily in Macau.”
Singapore legalised casino gaming in 2005, but not all Singaporeans welcomed the decision, fearing the casinos would attract crime and lead to problem gambling among it citizens.
The city state’s gaming rival, the former Portuguese enclave of Macau, crammed with over 30 casinos and the only place in China where casino gambling is legal, has already eclipsed gambling revenues seen in casino capital Las Vegas. — Reuters