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Old January 7th, 2006, 02:35 AM   #1
babystan03
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[COMPLETED] Marina Bay Sands (194m, 57 x3 floors with 1 ha skypark)

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This thread is a continuation from Part 1, which has been archived and can be viewed here:

http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php?t=204758
Jan 7, 2006
IR dropouts face forfeit of $60m deposits

CONTENDERS for Singapore's first casino licence who pull out after formally submitting their proposals in March will forfeit their $60 million deposit.

Before the clock hits 4pm on March 29, the four remaining contenders - assuming they are still in the race - must have delivered, by hand, their multi-billion-dollar proposals to the Singapore Tourism Board (STB).

Before they are handed in, each consortium must have made separate presentations to officials awarding the Marina Bay integrated resort (IR) deal, said STB's director for the integrated resorts, Ms Margaret Teo.

Under the rules, bidders have to pay the $60 million within a week of handing in their proposals.

Losers will get their money back, while the winner will have its deposit held until it completes the resort within the contracted time.

The Marina Bay IR will be awarded around June.

Consortiums still in the running are Harrah's Entertainment-Keppel Land, Las Vegas Sands-City Developments, MGM Mirage-CapitaLand, and Genting International- Star Cruises.

Ms Teo said 13 parties had collected the Request for Proposal document issued in November, which spells out the parameters for the bayfront resort.

Of the 13, 10 were potential bidders, who received the 800-page document for $1,000, and three were private buyers who forked out $10,000 each for a copy.

Investment bank Merrill Lynch was one of the three, said STB, but the two other parties do not wish to be named.

Copyright © 2005 Singapore Press Holdings. All rights reserved.
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Old January 7th, 2006, 02:54 PM   #2
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Integrated resort: STB returns money for probity checks to PBL and Melco
Cost of suitability checks may have deterred some contenders


By ARTHUR SIM

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(SINGAPORE) Some $400,000 paid to the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) by Publishing and Broadcasting (PBL) and Melco International Development to cover the cost of probity checks associated with their Marina Bay integrated resort (IR) bid will be refunded to them now they have dropped out of the running.


'Unutilised monies, if any, after deducting the cost of the investigations that are already committed, shall be returned to the proposer,' said STB. A proposal deposit of $60 million will also be refunded.

Asked about the status of probity checks on PBL/Melco, an STB spokesman said: 'These have commenced but will now cease.'

All IR bidders had to cover the costs of suitability checks - which may have put four of the nine short-listed contenders off. Merrill Lynch gaming analyst Sean Monaghan said the investigations are exhaustive and require additional resources, besides the $400,000, to gather data and records - 'bank accounts, income tax returns, travel history, business dealings for the past 10 years' - of all directors associated with the company bidding for the IR. 'And this includes the wives as well.'

As late as Dec 9 last year, when the money for suitability checks was due, the PBL/Melco consortium was determined to push ahead with its proposal for the Marina IR. So it came as a surprise that it withdrew just three weeks later. One of the reasons given by PBL/Melco was the 'unjustifiable cost' of the IR. PBL/Melco will soon be opening the HK$2 billion (S$429 million) Crown Macau hotel and casino in Macau.





Las Vegas Sands and MGM Mirage also have plans to open casinos in Macau. And it is understood that Harrahs Entertainment, which is partnering Keppel Land in an IR bid here, is looking at the possibility of a casino in Macau too. Sources also say that there have been preliminary discussions with Steve Wynn of Wynn Resorts on the possibility of a partnership. A spokesman for Harrahs/Keppel would not comment on this, but reiterated that 'Harrah's Entertainment and Keppel Land are confident in their ability to ensure the group's proposed IR concept is sustainable and economically viable'.

If a casino operator as big as PBL/Melco could have a change of heart at such a late stage, is it possible there could be more dropouts?

Some have pointed to the highly regulated nature of the bidding process. But concessions appear to have been made in the Request for Proposal (RFP) document. A source privy to the RFP said the IR can be built in phases - with a maximum eight-year construction period. This could mean it will only be fully completed as late as 2015. However, a proviso has apparently been added such that any development money committed for phase 2 would not be taken as part of the commitment for the RFP response.

It may not matter if other bidders drop out. It is understood that another clause in the RFP gives STB the right to include any other party in the RFP by specific invitation.
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Old January 8th, 2006, 10:37 AM   #3
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check out CDL's site and click onto the SAIL @ marina bay project.... they will show and intro of the condo and also what could be a possible rendering of CDL's IR :p ;-)
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Old January 9th, 2006, 02:12 AM   #4
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hey you're right!

I have to say it does look awful ...
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Old January 9th, 2006, 11:43 AM   #5
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哈喽!
how do u all think the IR will affect the Urban Planning and Economics of that particular location?
haha...
pls put your comments here as much as possible! thanks!
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Old January 9th, 2006, 03:23 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by PJCCUK
hey you're right!

I have to say it does look awful ...
yeah just stumbled on it while scanning CDL ......interestingly...the IR impression has no tall towers this is prbably 30% of what could be the actual rendering and i agree its ugly...For now that is
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Old January 10th, 2006, 05:00 AM   #7
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In short: Pontiac Land group is sourcing for S$200m loan and ground breaking of the 6 stars "The Knolls" to be held in a few weeks time.

邦典置地要贷款两亿
  为圣淘沙建酒店融资

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


  房地产发展商邦典置地集团(Pontiac Land)正寻求总额约2亿元的贷款,以为集团在圣淘沙岛兴建酒店融资。

  彭博社报道,这家丽嘉登酒店(Ritz-Carlton)业主与三井住友银行(Sumitomo Mitsui Bank)安排贷款,以承担土地成本和酒店与别墅发展的部分费用。三井住友银行正邀请其他银行联合借贷,资助有关发展项目。

  邦典置地集团发言人说,这个耗资1亿5000万元兴建的六星级豪华度假村项目,计划几周内动工。邦典置地由郭良耿家族控制。

  我国政府从2002年起,为占地500公顷的圣淘沙开展了总值80亿元的更新计划,希望到2010年能吸引800万名游客,带来超过10亿元的收入。附带赌场的其中一个综合度假胜地,也将落户圣淘沙。

Last edited by Charging Bull; January 10th, 2006 at 05:07 AM.
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Old January 11th, 2006, 11:16 AM   #8
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Business Times - 11 Jan 2006

Tabcorp pulls out of second S'pore casino project

SINGAPORE - Australian gaming giant Tabcorp said on Wednesday it has pulled out of the bidding for the second Singapore casino project because of rising costs, the expected return and the emergence of other opportunities worldwide.

Tabcorp spokesman Bruce Tobin said the company will no longer bid for the proposed casino on Sentosa island. Last month, Tabcorp withdrew from bidding for the first casino on Marina Bay near the financial district, due to open in 2009.

'We are reaffirming that we are no longer pursuing the Marina Bay casino opportunity or Sentosa,' Mr Tobin said. The decision was made 'due to the investment that is required, the time frames, the return on investments and the fact that there's going to be other opportunities around the world as markets open up to gambling,' he added.

The number of bidders for the Singapore casino projects has been whittled down to four from 14 when the republic announced last year it was building two casino resorts to spice up its staid image and boost tourism receipts. Still in the running are Harrah's Entertainment of the United States with Singapore's Keppel Land, Sands and local partner City Developments, Malaysia's Genting International and Star Cruises, and MGM Mirage and CapitaLand of Singapore. -- AFP

Copyright © 2005 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. All rights reserved.
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Old January 11th, 2006, 01:56 PM   #9
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Old January 14th, 2006, 02:28 AM   #10
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Jan 14, 2006
MGM Mirage ups the charm factor

YOU know a race has heated up when an usually reticent player goes on the charm offensive.

After avoiding the media for a big part in the bidding process for Singapore's first casino licence, Las Vegas MGM Mirage executives met journalists on Thursday - to blow the bidder's own trumpet.

However, the front runner for the Marina Bay integrated resort chose to keep mum on questions related to its bid here, except to say that the building design of its joint bid with CapitaLand is being done by an in-house team.

The team comprises some of the brains behind famous properties such as The Bellagio and Mandalay Bay on the Vegas Strip, said MGM's vice-president of public affairs, Mr Gordon Absher.

The Bellagio boasts a famous dancing fountain while Mandalay Bay touts a man-made beach with simulated waves that go up to surfing heights of 1.5m.

Mr Absher also talked about MGM's pro-employee policies, entertainment offerings and strength in hosting business conventions and exhibitions.

MGM's charm offensive came at a time when contenders for the bayfront resort have been narrowed down to four. The winner is expected to be announced in five months.

MGM executives have turned down requests for interviews in the past even as their rivals, Las Vegas Sands and Harrah's Entertainment, hogged headlines with announcements of their plans for Singapore.

The remaining bidder, Genting International, made news for listing on the stock exchange here last year.

KRIST BOO

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Old January 15th, 2006, 09:54 AM   #11
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Las Vegas giants, Malaysian firm duel for Singapore casino
Three Las Vegas giants and a Malaysian gaming firm are left in a high-stakes battle to build Singapore's first casino after rivals from Australia, South Africa, the Bahamas and Hong Kong pulled out.

Although several companies abandoned their bids, industry analysts said competition remains intense because the surviving contenders are among the world's biggest gaming firms.

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"Several high-quality bidders remain in the race for the Marina Bay integrated resort," said Jonathan Galaviz, an analyst with Globalysis, a Las Vegas-based research and advisory firm tracking Asia's casino gaming sector.

"The competition will continue to be intense all the way until the award of the project," he told AFP.

"There is no doubt that Singapore will ultimately be successful in receiving a bid that provides a world-class globally recognized integrated resort at Marina Bay that the country will be proud of."

The "integrated resort" concept refers to convention facilities, hotels, theaters, museums and theme parks that will be included in addition to casino gambling.

Fourteen foreign investors were invited after Singapore lifted a ban on casino gambling in April last year, but two immediately opted out and eight withdrew their bids in succession as they evaluated their prospects.

Bidding for the first casino project on Marina Bay, adjacent to the central business district, will close on March 29. The casino is scheduled to start operations in 2009.

Bidding for the second casino project on Sentosa island, a former British artillery outpost turned tourism site, will open in the first quarter and close four months after the Marina Bay winner is announced.

Tiny Singapore, which lacks the natural or cultural wonders offered by its Southeast Asian neighbours, is betting on the casino projects to help attract more tourists, including Asia's high-rollers.

Sean Monaghan, a Merrill Lynch analyst who monitors the gaming industry, believes the Singapore integrated resorts, which include the casinos, would be among the most expensive built anywhere.

Marina Bay could cost more than three billion US dollars to construct and Sentosa about two billion dollars, he told AFP.

"Despite the high development cost, we believe the two casinos will be profitable and will create value for the successful companies involved," Monaghan said in a research note for clients.

Most of the companies that withdrew their bids said the development cost had become too high and there were risks in recovering the investment.

There were also concerns over government restrictions including a 100 Singapore-dollar (61.30 US) entry fee for Singaporeans in an effort to address problem gambling.

Among those that have pulled out are Australian gaming stalwart Tabcorp, a consortium involving Australia's Publishing and Broadcasting Ltd and Hong Kong's Melco International Development, and South African firm Peermont Global.

Las Vegas-based Wynn Resorts, whose owner Steve Wynn complained there was too much direction and control by Singapore officials involved in the bidding process, folded up its bid.

Kerzner International of the Bahamas, Las Vegas-based Eighth Wonder and Sun International of South Africa also opted out.

Still in contention are Harrah's Entertainment, Las Vegas Sands and MGM Mirage -- all US gaming behemoths which have partnered with entrenched Singapore-based property developers -- and Malaysia's Genting International.

Harrah's has allied with Keppel Land, MGM Mirage with CapitaLand and Sands with City Developments Ltd.

Keppel Land and CapitaLand are under the stable of state-linked Singapore investment company Temasek Holdings, while City Developments is a major commercial landlord in the city-state.

To design its development, Harrah's hired Daniel Libeskind, the master planner of Freedom Tower at the Ground Zero site of the September 11, 2001 attacks in New York City. Sands' plans include a version of the Guggenheim museum.

MGM Mirage, one of the favourites to win the Marina Bay project, said it remained optimistic about Singapore's prospects as a gaming centre despite the reservations voiced by former bidders. But it remained coy about its plans.

"I would say that the finances of an integrated resort in Singapore will still pencil out well for us," said MGM Mirage vice president for public affairs Gordon Absher.

"This is a very dynamic part of the world. Macau has seen great success," he told a media briefing on Friday, referring to southern China's casino capital.

"If you look at the numbers in Macau, it reflects an untapped market. Integrated resorts in this part of the world are in their infancy.

"Singapore, with its location and with the appeal the city already naturally has -- we feel it's an ideal location."
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Old January 16th, 2006, 11:09 PM   #12
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Jan 16, 2006
CDL pulls out of Marina IR bid, Kerzner still in Sentosa bid

City Development, Southeast Asia's second largest property group has withdrawn its bid to take part in the Marina Bay integrated resort, it said in a statement on Monday.

The announced signing a memorandum of understanding with Las Vegas Sands Corporation to jointly bid for the site last December.

It said Sands, the world's biggest casino operator by market capitalisation, has agreed to its withdrawal.

However, it will continue to counsel and advise on the non-gaming aspects of Sands' proposal, particularly in those areas relating to design, development and construction planning as well as knowledge of the local market.

Earlier, another bidder, casino developer Kerzner International said it would press ahead in its bid for the Sentosa integrated resort project.

Bahamas-based Kerzner International teamed with CapitaLand for the Sentosa bid, the second of two casino properties to be developed in the Republic. CapitaLand is Southeast Asia's largest property developer.

'The Sentosa site offers many advantages,' Kerzner International said in a statement to AFP.

Fourteen foreign investors were invited for Singapore's two casino projects after the nation lifted a ban on casino gambling in April last year. Some firms withdrew their bids as they evaluated their prospects.

Bidding for the first project on Marina Bay, adjacent to the central business district, will close on March 29 and the casino is scheduled to start operations in 2009.

Kerzner is focussed on the second project on Sentosa island. Bidding for that project will open in the first quarter and close four months after the Marina Bay winner is announced.

CapitaLand teamed with Las Vegas gaming giant MGM Mirage for the Marina Bay bid. -- STI, AFP

Copyright © 2005 Singapore Press Holdings. All rights reserved.
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Old January 19th, 2006, 02:27 PM   #13
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Business Times - 19 Jan 2006

Hock Lock Siew
CityDev should cast more light on IR race pullout

By LESLIE YEE

CITY Developments Ltd (CDL) took a long time before formally entering the race for the integrated resort (IR) project at Marina Bay.

But on Monday, a month after announcing a tie-up with Las Vegas Sands Corp to make a joint bid, CDL said that it was pulling out.

The share price of the properties and hotels company, which received a boost after its entry into the IR race, fell on the surprise news.

The IR is a major project and could prove a big money spinner for the successful bidding team.

When announcing the tie-up with Sands, executive chairman Kwek Leng Beng said: 'CDL takes a long-term view of this mega project. We want to contribute meaningfully to Singapore's economic and tourism future.' CDL's announcement also pointed out that Mr Kwek had been an early proponent of casinos for Singapore, in the nineties.

It is true that CDL is not alone in having pulled out of the race for the IR project. But CDL took its time and appeared to have given much thought before throwing its hat into the ring.

Track record

The Singapore parties who earlier dropped out do not have the size or the track record of CDL. And CDL's partnership with Sands was viewed by analysts as having a real chance of success.

When announcing its withdrawal, CDL did say that it would continue to provide help and advice on the non-gaming aspects of Sands' proposal. Still, from a strategic point of view, it is hard to understand why CDL does not want to give itself a shot at landing the potentially lucrative project.

This is especially so as 2005 saw other parties, including Hong Kong property heavyweights, come to the forefront of major development projects that are set to rejuvenate the Singapore cityscape, such as the Business and Financial Centre (BFC) and Orchard Turn developments.

In withdrawing its own bid, CDL risks seeing a smaller local property company like Keppel Land get its hands on the IR project on top of already having a stake in the BFC. KepLand remains in the race for the IR project, with Harrah's Entertainment.

In announcing its withdrawal, CDL said some requirements associated with the bid were raised with it after it announced its decision to jointly bid for the IR. Upon further clarification of those requirements, CDL, with Sands' agreement, decided to withdraw from participating in the bid.

Surely CDL owes shareholders a fuller explanation: after all, one does not associate CDL with flip-flopping.

Media reports suggest that CDL's pullout may be linked to Mr Kwek being uncomfortable with having his privacy intruded into by the probity checks being conducted on bidders for the IR project.

One would certainly hope that this is not the case. CDL is a public listed company. Mr Kwek's privacy concerns - laudable as they might be - should not outweigh what is in the best interest of CDL.

Probity checks

Other parties left in the race for the IR project, such as the Las Vegas gaming groups and local property groups CapitaLand and KepLand, are presumably fine with subjecting themselves to probity checks.

An equity stake of 15 per cent might not be significant in many a project. But that is not the case with the IR project, where total costs will run to several billion dollars. CDL should provide its shareholders a more in-depth explanation of why it is pulling out of bidding for the IR project.

Given the importance attached to the project, such a move would also benefit the community at large.

Copyright © 2005 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. All rights reserved.
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Old January 20th, 2006, 02:00 PM   #14
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Sands won't seek new partner for Singapore casino bid



SINGAPORE, Jan 20 (Reuters) - Las Vegas Sands Corp., the world's biggest casino firm by market value which is bidding to build Singapore's first casino, on Friday said it would not look for a local equity investor after its partner pulled out of the race this week.
Sands , famous for its luxury Venetian resort in Las Vegas, said its Singapore proposal remained strong despite the surprise withdrawal by City Developments , 11 weeks before the March 31 tender deadline.

"Our proposal has always been based on the strength of our company. We will draw from our experience and our international network," Sands' Executive Director for Communications Ron Reese told Reuters.

Sands is one of four consortia bidding to build a casino complex at an estimated cost of US$3 billion in Singapore's downtown Marina Bay with a 30-year concession.

Sands' two U.S. rivals in the Singapore race have teamed with local government-linked developers. Harrah's Entertainment Inc. is working with Keppel Land Ltd. while MGM Mirage has joined with CapitaLand Ltd. .

The fourth bidding group consists of Genting International and affiliate Star Cruises Ltd. .

Some analysts have said that having a local partner may improve the chance of clinching the project, even though the government said it is not necessary to have a Singapore partner.

CityDev Chairman Kwek Leng Beng will still advise Sands on the design and construction of its proposal, Reese said.

CityDev said late on Monday it would withdraw from the bid for the first of Singapore's two casinos, just one month after saying it would take a 15 percent stake in the project.

Reese said Sands executives, including Chief Executive Officer Sheldon Adelson, said he found out about CityDev's withdrawal "pretty close" to the time everyone else did.

"We have the team in place and we will move forward with the proposal. This isn't a seismic shift from where we started in the process," Reese said.


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Old January 26th, 2006, 11:43 AM   #15
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Business Times - 26 Jan 2006

A casino tie-up will see Li selling SICEC stake

HONG Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing will sell his stake in a Singapore downtown convention centre if Harrah's Entertainment Inc wins a licence to run a casino in the city-state, said Justin Chiu, Mr Li's executive.

Suntec Singapore International Convention & Exhibition Centre last month teamed up with Harrah's, the world's biggest gaming operator by sales, to jointly promote their conventions and meetings facilities, although it will not take an equity stake.

The tie-up goes against the principles of Mr Li, who had distanced his company from operations in markets such as Macau, the former Portuguese colony where gaming companies such as Las Vegas Sands Corp are pouring in more than US$12 billion into new casinos. Mr Li, 77, whose wealth is valued at US$13 billion by Forbes, is the second-richest man in Asia.

'The chairman's philosophy is he and his group will not get near to the gambling business,' Mr Chiu, who is executive director of Cheung Kong (Holdings) Ltd, Mr Li's flagship property company in Hong Kong, said in an interview yesterday. 'His stand is very clear, and that's why we're not in Macau even though we knew the Macau property market was going to fly.'

Mr Li holds a one-sixth stake in Suntec City Development, which in turn owns the convention centre. Suntec City Development had set up a property trust in December 2004 to hold the office towers and shopping mall of the development.

Mr Li was not consulted on the plan to forge the alliance with Harrah's, Mr Chiu said in Singapore.

'It was not discussed with the board before that,' he said. 'If Suntec City Development decides to move ahead, we will sell the stake,' he added, pointing to the possible win by Harrah's as the catalyst for the sale.

When contacted by BT yesterday, a spokesperson for the convention centre said: 'We are remaining committed to the partnership with Harrah's-Keppel Land as per the announced framework.'

Hong Kong's The Standard newspaper first reported on Dec 15 that Mr Li may sell the stake if it invests in a casino.

Harrah's is one of four bidders for the city's first casino-resort, competing against Las Vegas Sands, MGM-Mirage and Malaysia's Genting Bhd. - Bloomberg

Copyright © 2005 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. All rights reserved.
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Old January 31st, 2006, 05:32 AM   #16
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IRs with casinos: a necessary 'evil'


31 Jan 06 - RAY HEATH MEMORIAL ESSAY


We reproduce below the winning essay by MELISSA LOH YAN JING in the Ray Heath Memorial Essay Competition, held in memory of former BT associate editor Ray Heath, who passed away in 2004


THE development of two integrated resorts (IRs) here is likely to have a great impact on Singapore's economy. The proposed models of the IRs comprise all kinds of amenities, such as hotels, retail outlets, restaurants, convention facilities, theme parks and much more. A small but vital part of the models is the inclusion of casinos, which makes the entire project financially viable for investors.



Today, the casino gaming industry is a global business worth close to US$450 billion annually. Global gaming revenues accounted for US$433 billion in 2003, of which 22.4 per cent was contributed by Asia and the Middle East.

Economic recovery and growth following the Asian economic crisis of 1997 has resulted in East Asia emerging as a growing potential market for the gaming industry. Apart from recent consolidation of the casino gaming industry through mergers such as MGM-Mirage and Harrah's-Caesars, the business model of casinos is also evolving rapidly.

Major industry players are shifting away from stand-alone casinos towards the integrated resort-casino concept, providing hotel, retail and entertainment facilities as well as food and beverage outlets and convention space. In comparing the composition of annual revenues of the MGM-Mirage Group, casino revenues for 2003 constituted slightly less than half of total revenues before allowances.

Non-casino revenues (derived from the hotel, F&B, retail and entertainment sectors) made up 52 per cent of total revenues before allowances. This gives a strong indication that revenue contribution from non-gaming activities for integrated resort-casinos is as substantial as that from gaming activities. Hence, the establishment of two such IRs in Singapore is likely to herald a whole host of economic opportunities - as well as concerns for the future.


Multiplier effects of IRs

There are substantial economic benefits of the development of IRs, either directly or indirectly through multiplier effects. The magnitude of such effects, however, is at present speculative, and there are concerns that multiplier effects on Singapore's economy as a result of the IRs may not be as significant as expected. On the other hand, the potential economic advantages of these IRs cannot be ignored as they pose great prospects for Singapore's continued economic growth and advancement.


Contribution to GDP

According to estimates, Singapore could see investments of at least US$2 billion in the initial stages of IR development. Minister for Home Affairs Wong Kan Seng, in his speech on the development of IRs, said that prospective investors could invest up to some S$5 billion and create about 35,000 jobs for the whole economy. Assuming these estimates are realised, investment inflow of S$5 billion will increase Singapore's GDP of S$180.5 billion (2004) by about 2.77 per cent.


Job creation

The establishment of two IRs will provide new job markets within the IR industry as well as in other sectors of the economy. The most immediate beneficiary would be the construction industry during the initial stages of building infrastructure to support the IRs - following which, there will be demand, within the IRs, for employees in the hotel, retail, entertainment and F&B industries.

However, the impact of casinos, apart from the other facilities, on employment rates may be small at the start. This is due to the need for specific-skilled workers to match the nature of jobs available - for example, card dealers and gaming operators. These would require an initial inflow of foreign talent before Singapore can develop a pool of local workers with the specific skill sets required. Yet, the non-gaming amenities of the IRs present a host of job opportunities in a wide spectrum of the economy. This could go towards improving unemployment rates, which stood at 4 per cent of the economically active population for 2004.


Stemming leakage of gaming revenues

Singaporeans often go on cruises or make trips within the region to Batam, Genting or Macau to play in the casinos there. A handful may even patronise casinos in far-off destinations like Las Vegas.

In total, it is estimated that Singaporeans probably spend close to S$2 billion annually in casinos overseas and on cruise ships. Of late, there has been increasing proliferation of online gambling as it offers a good real-life alternative to casino gaming. Also, it is estimated that there are no less than 200 underground gambling dens here, though many of these players would rather play in a legalised casino.

Legalisation of domestic casino gaming in Singapore would help to stem the leakage of revenues to overseas casinos as well as to illegal and online gaming. However, whether local high-rollers could be wooed to gamble here would depend on whether the gaming facilities are comparable to those found elsewhere.

It would also be unrealistic to expect these high-rollers to gamble exclusively in Singapore. Ultimately, even if only half of the S$2 billion wagered overseas is captured by the casinos here, it would save 0.55 per cent of Singapore's GDP, based on 2004 GDP of $180.554 billion.


Much-needed boost to tourism industry

Tourism accounts for a significant proportion of Singapore's GDP and a large slice of the job market. In recent times, the tourism industry has faced increasing competition from the Asia-Pacific region. Although there has been recovery from tourist arrival lows during the Asian financial crisis, the record levels set in the early 1990s remain unmatched.

The IRs, with their theme parks, shopping and gaming facilities, would attract more tourists from all over the world to visit Singapore. The budget airlines infrastructure that already exists in the region will also be especially critical in providing potential mass market visitation. It is hoped that the IRs will increase the average length of stay of tourists and entice repeated visits back to Singapore.

The gaming component of the IRs will also cater to a new group of high-rolling tourists. There is evidence from economic impact studies conducted in countries like Australia and the United States suggesting that tourist numbers and spending do increase with the development of a casino-resort. Visitors coming to Singapore for business make up about 20 per cent of total visitor arrivals. With hotel and convention facilities conveniently located within the IRs, more overseas businesses could be encouraged to conduct corporate events or global meetings in Singapore, thus boosting visitor arrivals. These businessmen are also likely to spend on services and retail goods.

There are concerns that the IRs may cannibalise existing tourist attractions, with no net increase in tourist expenditures. Tourists may simply substitute other activities like shopping with gambling, spending their dollars in the casino instead. While these concerns are valid, it must be kept in mind that the casinos will constitute only about 2 per cent of the IRs and that a large proportion of tourists will also be attracted to the family-oriented non-gaming amenities.


Maintaining competitiveness

Singapore is not the only country in Asia eyeing a slice of the gaming industry. Macau is already aggressively positioning itself as a destination for families and business conventions, aside from the attraction of the casino gaming facilities it provides. It has attracted over US$10 billion in new capital investment commitments over the last eight months and is a major force to contend with in Asia.

South Korea also poses a big threat to Singapore's plans, being situated in a short-flight radius of countries with hundreds of millions of people. An IR there would be a magnet for weekend visitors and businessmen from China and Japan.

The growth of budget, no-frills airlines in South-east Asia is also acting as a catalyst to this strategic threat to leisure travel within the region. In the light of plans by regional competitors to liberalise the gaming sector further, Singapore may suffer further erosion in tourist arrivals and lose out if the IRs are not developed.

Moreover, to increase Singapore's attractiveness to investors, setting a lower tax rate on gaming revenues, relative to Macau and other regional competitors, would encourage the direction of substantial capital investment towards Singapore.


Generation of tax revenue

The approval of the IR proposal coincides with the legalisation of casino gaming in Singapore, creating additional sources of revenue. A substantial amount of tax revenue is generated from casino-gaming activities. For instance, gaming revenues of Clark County, where Las Vegas is located, amounted to US$7.8 billion in 2003.

In the local context at present, the total amount of gambling duties (betting and private lotteries duties) collected by the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore in 2004-05 amounted to S$1.534 billion or 8.55 per cent of total tax revenue. Assuming half of S$2 billion of gaming revenue estimated to be wagered in overseas casinos and on cruise ships by Singaporeans is captured by the new casinos, it implies an additional S$250 million of gaming revenues at a 25 per cent tax rate.

After factoring in the added expenditure of tourists and stemming of leakage of revenues to illegal gaming activities, this figure could very well rise above S$500 million. Also, with the added amenities of integrated resorts, a large proportion of which would be retail or service-based, would come added revenues arising from Goods and Services Tax (GST) collected.


Concerns of possible adverse economic impact

Aside from the desirable economic benefits the IRs will potentially bring to Singapore, much of the opposition to the IR proposals stemmed from concerns about social drawbacks such as gambling addiction. There are some economic effects that result from these social concerns too.


Economic effects of compulsive gambling

Excess expenditure on gambling by compulsive gamblers is in itself undesirable, but more so is the fact that this unnecessary expenditure is diverted from more desirable ends. Within households, addictive gambling by just one member may cause serious social as well as financial repercussions on the rest of the family.

The redistribution of resources away from other members of the household, particularly from the children, is one of the possible adverse economic effects. However, avenues for gambling already exist at present, along with the associated gambling addition problems. Buying 4D, participating in lotteries, lucky draws and betting on horse racing are some of the major forms of gambling expenditure by Singaporeans.

The tax revenues derived from 4D alone amounted to more than S$906 million, or 71.4 per cent of total betting duties and 5 per cent of total tax revenues in 2004-05. Furthermore, casinos in the region and on cruise ships are readily accessible; it is unlikely that there will be an overwhelming surge in the numbers of compulsive gamblers here with the setting up of casinos within the IRs.


Impact on Singapore's reputation

There are some concerns that opening a casino in Singapore could taint Singapore's image as an orderly, clean-living, vibrant society, and this may deter some investors. This is a valid concern; however, none of the major cities which host casinos have reportedly suffered any noticeable reduction in investments inflow. The converse can also be true; it is arguable that the new shopping complexes, convention and concert facilities will add to the buzz of Singapore, attracting investors through the vibrancy of the city.


Conclusion

There are sizeable potential economic benefits that could arise from the up-coming development of IRs in Singapore. Concern about the social ills that casinos may bring upon our society also has its merits. However, proposed safeguards put in place will go some way to negate these effects.

A resort without a casino may not be as attractive to investors and tourists - what then would be the purpose of such an investment? Thus, while Singapore may have social concerns to iron out, the economic impact of the IRs will see immense benefits that will possibly negate these social ills.
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Old January 31st, 2006, 01:08 PM   #17
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Business Times - 31 Jan 2006

INTEGRATED RESORTS
Singapore's clean image a draw for casino firms

Strict regulations, lack of organised crime a boon

By ALEXANDRA HO

(SINGAPORE) Singapore's squeaky-clean and corruption-free environment has been talked about so much that most Singaporeans have become quite blase on the subject.

But analysts say it is precisely these qualities that make Singapore so attractive to the world's biggest gaming companies keen on planting a flag here - despite the high costs and regulations cited by those who have withdrawn from the race.

US companies Harrah's Entertainment, Las Vegas Sands and MGM Mirage, and Malaysia's Genting International are still in the running for the Marina Bay integrated resort (IR).

Being highly regulated in their home jurisdictions, they are keen to operate here, analysts say.

'When they look at Singapore, there's no organised crime here,' says Merrill Lynch analyst Sean Monaghan. 'There's also going to be the same level of probity checking here as there is in the other well-regulated markets, such as Australia and the US.'

For US gaming companies, gaming control boards in US states that they operate in will investigate any partnership that a company has - anywhere in the world.

Licences for US gaming companies are also inter-dependent on a global basis. If a company breaches gaming regulations in one jurisdiction anywhere in the world, its licences at home can be jeopardised.

In a previous interview, MGM's CEO Terrence Lanni had said that thorough regulations, enforced with high levels of integrity, is 'the number one consideration' for MGM in deciding to make an investment. 'It's all right for us to go to Singapore because they have a good regulatory system in place,' he said.

Asia is also the world's growth phenomenon, says Jonathan Galaviz, a partner at Globalysis, which tracks Asia's casino gaming markets. With the markets that gaming companies operate in now maturing, they want to get into Asia.

'For these large corporations, part of their strategy moving forward is to develop an Asia strategy. Just having a presence in Macau won't do it. They have to have multiple presence and cross-market feeding. So Singapore provides an opportunity to be part of their Asia strategy,' Mr Galaviz says.

For some gaming companies, such as Harrah's, winning the Singapore licence is seen as crucial as it allows the company a footprint in Asia.

Observers say that although Harrah's is the world's biggest gaming company, it does not yet have a presence in Asia, while its rivals MGM and Sands have already made inroads through Macau.

MGM has tied up with Pansy Ho, daughter of casino mogul Stanley Ho, to build the US$1.06 billion MGM Grand Macau, slated to open next year. Sands operates Sands Macao in the Chinese territory, and continues to build more casino resorts on Macau's Cotai Strip. Harrah's will work hard with its partner Keppel Land, to put in an aggressive bid, observers say.

Those who dropped out, like Australia's Tabcorp Holdings and the consortium that comprised Publishing & Broadcasting Ltd and Melco International Development, have raised concerns that expected returns might not justify the project's high capital costs.

But analysts believe the two pieces of land on offer, at Marina Bay and Sentosa, are 'pretty unbeatable'. The locations, especially that of Marina, make them highly desirable - and those who want in will have to pay accordingly.

Still, for all the benefits, analysts say there is some downside.

With the explanation by those who withdrew from the Marina Bay race that the project's expected returns could be low, the eventual winner of the site might find it harder to secure funding, or might even have to pay higher interest rates, says one. Bankers, say the observer, could be put off by the talk and could therefore view an IR as a 'high-risk' project.

Another issue is the $100 daily casino entry fee for Singaporeans, or a $2,000 annual fee. At Merrill Lynch, Mr Monaghan feels that instead of curbing problem gambling, it could exacerbate things.

'I'm getting calls by people who say that 'if I have to pay $2,000, I'm going to make sure I go there a lot' ,' he said.

'If you can afford the entry fee, psychologically, maybe you are telling yourself, 'I must be fine'. And that's not in the spirit of responsible gambling.'

Copyright © 2005 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. All rights reserved.
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Old February 8th, 2006, 11:08 AM   #18
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08 February 2006

STB says tourism appeal most important criteria for Marina IR bid

SINGAPORE : Tourism appeal will be the most important criteria when the government assesses the different bids for the Marina integrated resort.

In a statement on Wednesday, the Singapore Tourism Board says that tourism appeal will have a weightage of 40 percent followed by architectural concept and design with 30 percent.

Development investment takes up 20 percent of the weightage, and the remaining 10 percent will be based on the perceived strength of the companies involved in the consortium.

Currently, four groups of bidders are still in the race to build Singapore's first integrated resort.

The government is placing a huge premium on tourism appeal because it envisages the Marina resort to be a large-scale iconic lifestyle product that will enhance Singapore's reputation as a premium, 'must-visit' destination for leisure and business visitors.

Bidding for the Marina Bay resort will close on March 29.

The request for proposals for the resort at Sentosa is scheduled to be launched in the first quarter of this year. - CNA/de

Copyright © 2006 MCN International Pte Ltd
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Old February 9th, 2006, 07:27 AM   #19
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old one, but I like

FEATURE-Singapore woos "starchitects" for casino project
By Sebastian Tong
724 words
14 November 2005
09:30
Reuters News
English
(c) 2005 Reuters Limited

SINGAPORE, Nov 14 (Reuters) - Singapore is wooing top architects such as I.M. Pei and Daniel Libeskind to design an iconic casino building on a par with Sydney's Opera House and Bilbao's Guggenheim Museum.

The city-state, better known for its shopping malls and rigorous urban planning, now wants a breath-taking skyline. It has invited gaming companies to team up with leading architects, or "starchitects," when they submit proposals for two casino resorts that are expected to cost up to US$5 billion.

Across Asia, eye-catching designer buildings are as much a statement of economic achievement as about creating internationally recognisable marketing symbols, from Kuala Lumpur's soaring Petronas Towers to Beijing's National Stadium, shaped like a bird's nest and planned for the 2008 Olympics.

Singapore's most distinctive building so far is its waterfront performing arts centre, the Esplanade, whose spiky domes have evoked comparisons to the prickly shell of the tropical durian fruit or to bugs' eyes.

"It's about creating a brand or a logo -- a visual shorthand for the city that can generate excitement and be used in communications," said Rosalynn Tay, deputy managing director of Leo Burnett Singapore.

I.M. Pei, who designed Hong Kong's Bank of China building, and Daniel Libeskind, designer of the "Freedom Tower" at New York's Ground Zero, have teamed up with gaming companies that may bid for a casino in Singapore's downtown waterfront, the first of two such projects in the country.

Even visionary Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas, who in 1995 slammed Singapore as a city "stripped of the last vestiges of authenticity and dignity" after it razed parts of Chinatown to make way for new housing and offices, has been invited to speak at a government-organised forum on design next week.

The government scrapped a ban on casinos earlier this year, saying it expects the two resorts to create over 35,000 jobs and boost growth in the $110 billion economy. Singapore, which is 3.5 times the size of Washington D.C. with just 4.2 million people, needs to develop its services sector as it loses manufacturing jobs to lower-cost countries such as China and Malaysia.

NEW IMAGE

Indeed, the city's two casinos are key to its aim of tripling tourism revenues to S$30 billion by 2015. The focus on the design of the downtown casino intensified at the start of this month when the government fixed a S$1.2 billion ($706 million) price tag for the 20.6-hectare site.

A distinctive landmark could eventually bring tangible economic benefits by generating tourism, said Leo Burnett's Tay.

The winning bid would "shape the image of the Singapore skyline for many years to come", said Minister of National Development Mah Bow Tan. He said a panel of international and local design experts would advise the government before it decides on the winning bid, to be announced in mid-2006.

The government wants the 12 competing groups -- which include U.S. giants Harrah's Entertainment Inc. and Las Vegas Sands Corp. -- to focus on the design of the complex, which may house performance venues and museums.

"The capital freed up from land expenses ultimately benefits Singapore as more can be invested in creating world-class resorts to attract tourists from places like China and India," said gaming analyst Jonathan Galaviz.

But critics say the roster of famous names hired for the project is no guarantee of international recognition.

"I don't want to prejudge the outcome but it's a bad state of affairs when we need a casino to change the skyline," said architect William Lim.

Buildings designed by Norman Foster and I.M. Pei in Singapore have so far failed to gain critical acclaim, Lim said, reflecting Singapore's conservativism. Foster's firm designed Singapore's new Supreme Court, topped by a two-storey disc which has been compared to a flying saucer or a revolving restaurant.

"We could end up with an Eiffel Tower and the Sphinx lumped together but we can expect at least some architectural gymnastics," said Tay Kheng Soon, a Singapore architect.


LEISURE-SINGAPORE-CASINO (FEATURE, PICTURE)|LANGEN|AFA|CSA|LBY|RWSA|RWS|REULB|GNS|ABX|BNX|FUN|SXNA

Document LBA0000020051114e1be0002z
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Old February 9th, 2006, 02:26 PM   #20
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09 February 2006

MGM Mirage says IR project will be its Asian flagship
By Wong Siew Ying, Channel NewsAsia

MGM Mirage says should it win the bid to build Singapore's first integrated resort, its Marina project will be its flagship in Asia.

It is forming a consortium with Capitaland to bid for the project.

MGM Mirage hopes it could break even on the Marina investment in 10 years.

The estimated cost of building the Marina integrated resort at some US$3 billion has deterred many bidders.

The race is now down to 4 companies and consortiums who will table their proposals by March 29th.

MGM Mirage raked in over US$7 billion in revenue from its numerous properties in Las Vegas last year.

It says its revenue base will be more diversified compared to others competing for the Marina project as 58 percent of its earnings are from non-gaming sources.

Three of its properties, the Bellagio, MGM Grand and Mandalay Bay resorts were among the top four earners on The Strip in Las Vegas.

Along with its local partner Capitaland, MGM Mirage says the Marina investment will take a while before it breaks even.

Being a new project, MGM Mirage says it will have to do a lot of consumer education and expects low returns initially for the Marina project, but it is aiming for some 15 percent in annual returns over 4 years.

Jim Murren, President, CFO and Treasurer, MGM Mirage, said: "You have to build a very efficient facility. Secondly you have to bring the project in on budget and have it within a proper construction time frame. Most importantly, you have to train your people, attract the right kind of people and bring in the right kind of people."

"If we cannot grow the market beyond the local market, we will never get a 15 percent...it will really depend on our ability to jointly market the resort and the country at large to stimulate international tourism."

With tourism appeal being the most important evaluation criteria in the selection process, the bidder believes it fits the bill and has the resources to attract tourists, especially those in Asia.

Terry Lanni, Chairman and CEO, MGM Mirage, said: "If you look at the level of market we have in the Far East, here in the Las Vegas, we have at least 50 percent of the market. We know that market, we have great depth."

"We have marketing offices throughout Southeast and Northeast Asia as well as other parts of Asia. I think we are fully equipped to reach out to clientele to meet the government's requirement and desire to bring visitors from outside of Singapore to enjoy the resort."

These visitors are likely to be from China, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Japan and Taiwan.

The bidder also hopes its commitment to continually revamp its offerings and provide a unique customer experience will help win votes when the tender process rounds up in the middle of this year. - CNA/ch

Copyright © 2006 MCN International Pte Ltd
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