Singapore moved a step closer to building its first casino after
the government received backing for the project from a tourism
In July, the
government revealed plans to build a $600 million, mixed-use resort
development on the island of Sentosa that would include hotels,
convention facilities, a theme park and the city-states first
Last week, the
International Advisory Council for Tourism said in a statement that
it unanimously supported the development of an integrated resort
that would include a casino. The council was formed in 1999 to
advise the tourism board on long-term strategies for tourism
resort is an attractive idea, but for it to be truly successful, it
must be a significant investment project that boasts world-class
facilities, said Ranjit Malkani, chairman of India and Asia Kuoni
Travel Group and a member of the advisory council.
The casino proposal
has attracted interest from some of Las Vegas biggest casino
operators, including MGM Mirage and Harrahs Entertainment. In
addition, Macau casino tycoon Stanley Ho has expressed interest in
the Singapore plan.
government is eager to cash in on gaming, which is dominated in the
region by Macau, the Philippines, South Korea and Malaysia.
According to a spokesman for the Singapore Tourism Board, the
government will review the advisory boards decision before issuing
a formal Request for Proposal to potential developers.
Singapore wants to
use gaming as a way to enhance its appeal as a convention
destination. Last year, Singapore hosted more than 500 conventions
that generated $370 million, according to the tourism
reporter Jorge Sidron, send e-mail to [email protected].