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Asia’s casinos set to increase their sporting profile

Their guests may be primarily there to gamble in luxury, but the world’s leading casino-hotels all know that a sense of spectacle is every bit as important as an extensive casino or lavish hotel rooms when it comes to packing in the punters. And if you truly want to deliver that all-import ‘wow’ factor, then you can’t beat hosting a major sports event.

This is something that Las Vegas’ casinos have proven especially adept at down the years, and now frequently offer everything from headline-grabbing heavyweight boxing fights and professional wrestling matches, to high-profile tennis and basketball games on a regular basis. And it’s a trick Asia’s casinos are now latching onto.

Boxing promoter targets Macau and Singapore for big fight

Mike Alvarado Singapore Macau matchNegotiations are currently underway to schedule a fight between two of boxing’s biggest stars, Manny Pacquiao and Mike Alvarado, most likely to take place in October 2013. For the casino industry however, it’s the choice of potential venue that’s the most interesting aspect of all – promoter Bob Arum has said he is targeting casinos in Singapore and Macau for the match.

The importance of this shouldn’t be underestimated. Alvarado is himself a Mexican-American, and while Pacquiao hails from the Asian nation of the Philippines, he hasn’t fought outside of the US since 2006. As such, for traditional locations such as Vegas to be overlooked in favor of Asia is a major coup for the region – especially as both men are likely to be handsomely paid for their efforts.

Further progress

Should the fight indeed go ahead as planned, and rumors suggest that both camps are close to an agreement, it would underline the growing reputations of Singapore and Macau as sporting districts.

Hitherto now, both have been largely associated with motorsport. Macau is the home of the Macau Grand Prix. This renowned motorsport festival may not be part of the Formula One World Championship, but its famous Formula Three race has attracted many drivers who have gone on to be hugely successful F1 drivers. Nowadays it also hosts the blue ribbon event of the World Touring Car Championship.

In the case of Singapore, it hosts Formula One’s only true night race around the floodlit, twisting streets of its Marina Bay street course, just across the bay from the Marina Bay Sands casino.

Although both are unquestionably big events, neither is directly linked to either territory’s casinos. As such, being able to attract major events such as big prize fights would duly ensure that Macau and Singapore’s casinos will be thought of as much more than mere gambling venues.