|The rooftop infinity pool at the Marina Bay Sands is the length of one-and-a-half |
football fields and overlooks Singapore's financial district. The pool is among the casino
resort's attractions aimed at making gambling more palatable to its critics.
Singapore transforms into a gambling hot spot
- Anti-gambling, anti-free enterprise morality laws are abolished
- Result - Thousands of brand new private sector jobs are created
The traditionally uptight Asian city-state is poised to eclipse Las Vegas next year as the world's second largest gaming destination says the Los Angeles Times. They have lifted a decades-old ban on gambling and opened two new casinos last year.
What a "crazy" idea. If you want to create jobs and wealth then legalize freedom. Allow free peoples to engage in the types of businesses they want and need. Then sit back and watch wealth be created before your very eyes.
Singapore, Sin City-State? It seems an unlikely moniker for this straight-laced society best known for banning chewing gum and caning scofflaws for infractions as minor as overstaying a travel visa.
For half a century, Singapore has cultivated a reputation as a business-friendly nanny state that overcame its tight confines and dearth of natural resources to become one of the quintessential Asian Tiger economies. The government saw regulating its citizens' behavior and marginalizing critics as essential to its success.
But the fear of losing Asia's battle for tourism — and the prospect of creating thousands of local jobs — spurred Singapore to reconsider. The island nation has seen rising regional competition for its pillar industries, such as high-tech manufacturing and financial services, and has felt a need to diversify its economy.
To that end, the nation's 87-year-old founding father, Lee Kuan Yew, and his son, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, began championing the idea of casinos and an image makeover for uptight Singapore.
The city-state then lifted a decades-old ban on gambling and opened two sparkling new casinos last year — one operated by Las Vegas Sands Corp. and the other by Malaysian-owned Resorts World Sentosa — at a combined cost of more than $10 billion.
"The government is trying to make a virtue out of a vice," said Eugene Tan, an assistant professor of law at Singapore Management University. "They're trying to say, 'This is not the Singapore of old, it's a happening place with a bit of raciness.' "
|Marina Bay Sands the resort features a 2,561-room hotel, a 1,300,000 square foot convention-exhibition center, the 800,000 square foot The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands mall, an iconic ArtScience museum, two large theaters, seven "celebrity chef" restaurants, two floating Crystal Pavilions, an ice skating rink, and the world's largest atrium casino with 500 tables and 1,600 slot machines.|
To make gambling more palatable to its critics, Singapore adopted a euphemism for the casinos by calling them integrated resorts. The operators had to offer additional attractions and could not dedicate more than 5% of their total floor space to the casinos.
Marina Bay Sands targeted conventioneers — and transformed the city's skyline — by constructing its hotel as three glass skyscrapers joined at the top by a sky park. The park, a stunning 57-story-high terrace, features an infinity pool the length of one-and-a-half football fields overlooking Singapore's financial district.
a record 11.6 million tourists visited the country, and the two casino resorts were estimated to have accounted for 1.7% of Singapore's gross domestic product, the government said.
"Access to two large casinos in a prosperous city is a winning formula," said Huei Suen Ng, an analyst for brokerage CLSA in Hong Kong.
Ng estimates that the casinos contribute 90% of the resorts' total revenue. She said Singapore will likely match Las Vegas for gaming dollars this year at around $6.5 billion but then surge past it next year with estimated revenue of $8.1 billion.
Macao is still by far the biggest gambling site in the world, scoring $23.5 billion in gaming revenue last year.
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