US gaming tycoon Sheldon Adelson (2nd L) talks while architect Moshe Safdie (L), president and Chief Operating Officer of Las Vegas Sands Michael Leven (2nd-R) and president & CEO of Marina Bay Sands Thomas Arasi (R) during a press conference in Singapore on June 23, 2010. Asians’ love of gambling is so strong that the equivalent of five Las Vegases in the region will not be enough to satisfy demand, US gaming tycoon Sheldon Adelson said.
An artist’s impression shows the Skypark that tops the Marina Bay Sands hotel towers in Singapore in this undated handout photo released to Reuters on June 23, 2010. The Skypark is a unique architectural feature that spans across the three towers, designed by Moshe Safdie, and boasts 12,400 square feet of space 200m above the ground, according to information released by Marina Bay Sands. The deck of the Skypark is longer than the Eiffel Tower if it were to be laid on its side.
Tourists stand at a promenade across the water from the Marina Bay Sands integrated resort in Singapore June 22, 2010. Marina Bay Sands will be officially opened on Wednesday by the CEO of the Las Vegas Sands group Sheldon Adelson. The site features three hotel towers, a unique “Skypark” across its top designed by architect Moshe Safdie, convention and shopping centres, and a casino which opened to the public in April.
Members of the public make their way to the casino at Marina Bay Sands, Wednesday June 23, 2010, in Singapore. Singapore’s second casino-resort opened Wednesday, a massive $5.7 billion project by Las Vegas Sands Corp. that aims to makeover the city-state as a Southeast Asian gambling and tourism magnet. After big cost overruns and months of delays, the casino, hotels, its shopping mall and convention center were opened.
US gaming tycoon Sheldon Adelson (L) talks to his wife Miriam (R) while waiting to give a press conference at the Marina Bay Sands complex in Singapore on June 23, 2010. Asians’ love of gambling is so strong that the equivalent of five Las Vegases in the region will not be enough to satisfy demand, US gaming tycoon Sheldon Adelson said.
Asian gaming demand greater than five Las Vegases: US tycoon
AFP – Asians’ love of gambling is so strong that the equivalent of five Las Vegases in the region will not be enough to satisfy demand, US gaming tycoon Sheldon Adelson said Wednesday.
The chairman of Las Vegas Sands said at a press conference at the company’s massive Singapore casino complex, Marina Bay Sands, that the “propensity” to gamble was part of Asian culture.
“I believe we can put the equivalent of five plus Las Vegases, with 140,000 hotel rooms each in five different locations in Asia, and it still won’t saturate the demand,” he said.
Marina Bay Sands will primarily target customers from Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia, with an eye on other Southeast Asian countries like Thailand and Vietnam, Adelson added.
“In my opinion there’s more than enough business for us to succeed within a two, two and a half hours’ flight from here. I think there’s more than enough business and that’s not counting large volumes of people from China or Hong Kong.”
Adelson was speaking at an event marking the opening of all the Marina Bay Sands 2,560 hotel rooms, plus shops, restaurants and exhibition facilities. The casino and part of the hotel started operating in April.
Marina Bay Sands chief executive officer Thomas Arasi said the casino had already attracted close to 500,000 people in June alone.
“We’re very happy with where we’re at,” Arasi said.
Adelson said Sands expects to attract between 125,000 and 150,000 people a day when it is fully open, adding that the project would help dispel Singapore’s lingering image as a staid place.
“It’s going to change Singapore by providing entertainment amenities that were not here before,” he said.
“This will be for the Asian people a very major attraction, and will change the conservative perception of what Singapore has in the night time.”
On competition with Macau, where Las Vegas Sands also has a huge presence, Adelson said it was still unclear if Singapore had stolen some business from the Chinese territory but stressed that they were aiming at different markets.
“Macau is serving Hong Kong, Taiwan and southeast China… They are two different markets and they appeal to two different constituencies.”
Despite concerns over its social impact, Singapore gave the green light for casino gambling in 2005 in a bid to increase tourist arrivals and cash in on a growing trend in Asia.
The Singapore Tourism Board says visitor arrivals this year could range from 11.5 million to 12.5 million, compared to 9.7 million in 2009, thanks in part to the casinos and the economic recovery in the region.
The target is 17 million arrivals by 2015 — more than three times the current population of Singapore.