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Foreign visitors driving demand for Singapore’s casinos

Foreign gamblers are making up an ever-increasing percentage of the total visitors to Singapore’s new casino resorts, figures from the Marina Bay Sands casino resort suggest.


Declining local visits

Foreign demand is increasing at Marina Bay SandsAccording to Sheldon Adelson, chairman of the Las Vegas Sands Corp. (which owns the Marina Bay Sands), the resort now welcomes four foreign guests for every Singaporean visitor.


Although more precise figures weren’t made available, this still marks a significant increase. In October 2010, local visitors still accounted for 38% of Marina Bay Sands’ total visitors.

Much of this seems to be due to an influx of foreign gamblers, keen to experience the lavish new gambling resorts in Singapore. However, a campaign by Singaporean authorities to deter locals from visiting also seems to have been somewhat effective.


A welcome sign for Singapore

Singapore’s tourism industry has benefitted massively from the success of its new casino resorts. However, they remain controversial in this conservative Asian country.


Both the authorities and population alike remain concerned. They fear many Singaporeans will play there frequently, racking up huge losses in the process.

In response, a number of measures have been imposed to deter locals from gambling there. These include the abolishing of free bus services to the casinos, along with expensive entry levies and annual membership fees for local gamblers.


Continued growth from abroad

Despite the success these measures are having in discouraging local visitors, the gambling boom that’s sweeping Asia will more than cover any shortfall.


Both the Marina Bay Sands and the Resorts World Sentosa have performed beyond expectations since opening in 2010. As with the continued rapid growth of Macau, much of this is down to gamblers from across Asia flocking to these resorts to gamble in style.

Foreign customers are also preferred by the casinos, as they’re typically willing to spend more there than the local population does. The outlook certainly remains positive: In a recent report, PriceWaterhouseCoopers declared that Singapore’s gambling sector generated $2.8 billion in 2010. By 2015, this is expected to exceed $7.2 billion a year.