Two massive integrated casino resorts in Singapore will not meet their previously agreed to target dates for expanding – affecting not only their mid-term growth strategies but potentially government revenues.
In 2019, the Republic of Singapore in maritime Southeast Asia reached agreements with both Resorts World Sentosa and Marina Bay Sands regarding expansions of the casino resorts. The investments were reportedly worth a total of about $6.77 billion (about SG$9 billion).
According to a report on Japan’s Nikkei Asia, Marina Bay Sands owner Las Vegas Sands stated in March 2023 that it would be pushing its target date back – the second time it had made such an announcement and it followed one made the year before.
Hotel Towers and Arena to be Completed in 2028
The new outline sees the construction of a planned 1,000-suite hotel tower and a 15,000-seat multipurpose arena commence in April of next year and be completed in April 2028.
Resorts World Sentosa (RWS), located on Singapore’s resort island of Sentosa began construction of a new attraction at Universal Studios Singapore, located on the resort property there, and renovations on the site’s aquarium. No activity has been reported on a new hotel at the resort that was previously announced as part of the planned expansion.
The expansion at RWS was originally planned to be completed either next year or in 2025 but in 2020 the resort’s parent company, Genting Singapore said that the Covid crisis would delay the project’s completion for an undetermined amount of time. No specific date for completion has been announced, but Nekeii media reports that an Asian analyst has mentioned that 2027 or 2028 are most likely.
Nearly all construction was sidelined in Singapore due to the coronavirus outbreak through nearly all of 2020 and most of 2021. Impacts included not only a shortage of migrants to accomplish the work but also supply chain disruptions that made it difficult to procure construction materials.
Chinese Tourism Expected to Rebound
According to analysts with Malayan Banking Berhad, by the end of 2023, the number of Chinese tourists visiting the region, and specifically the integrated resorts of Marina Bay Sands and Resorts World Sentosa is expected to return to pre-pandemic levels. However, the delay in growth plans does present some risk of dissuading visitors from coming.
Global inflation also has the potential to add costs to the projects. While Genting Singapore posted net profits in 2022 of some 86% over those of 2021, last year’s profits of SG$340 million (US$255m) were still only about half of what they were in 2019. However, since China has relaxed Covid-related travel restrictions recently those numbers are expected to eventually rebound.
Another Chinese tourist destination with casinos has seen marked growth and steadily increasing revenues since China’s “Zero-Covid” policy was jettisoned after civil unrest on the mainland and the recommendation of health authorities there to bring mitigation measures more in line with those in the rest of the world.
Source: Singapore’s casino resort expansions mired in delays, Nikkei Asia, April 9, 2023