Apr 27, 2010
Marina Bay casino opensBy Lim Wei Chean
The early birds who have come to check out the second casino-resort which is due to open at the auspicious time of 3.18 pm. -- ST PHOTO: BRYAN VAN DER BEEK
SINGAPORE'S second casino - the US$5.5 billion (S$7.5 billion) Marina Bay Sands - opened its doors to the public at the auspicious time of 3.18pm on Wednesday, giving a fresh boost to the city's tourism sector.
Built by US gaming giant Las Vegas Sands, it is the group's first casino in Asia outside Macau. Las Vegas Sands chairman Sheldon Adelson, who flew here for the opening, said he expects to recoup his Singapore investment in five years.
'Most of the high-end players are reputable business people. They have to travel anyway so they typically would travel to the major cities, like Hong Kong and Singapore, wherein they do business,' he told reporters.
Hours before the official opening, earlybirds started streaming into the integrated resort, hoping to be among the first to catch a glimpse of the new tourist attraction. Those waiting to enter the casino were ushered into the Sands Expo and Convention Center to take a queue number and wait in comfort. They were later allowed to enter the casino in the order that they have arrived. This was a measure taken by MBS to prevent a repeat of the overcrowding and crush at the Resorts World Sentosa opening on Feb 14.
Marina Bay Sands was originally set to open at the end of 2009 but faced repeated delays caused by a number of factors, including material and labour shortages and financial problems due to the downturn. It managed to clinch the casino licence only on Monday.
Tuesday's opening includes the casino and 963 out of 2,560 hotel rooms, a portion of the shopping mall, some restaurants, an exhibition and convention centre and the events plaza. The remaining hotel rooms and suites, a skypark and more shops will open on June 23, while a museum, theatres and other stores will start operations later in the year, the management said.
The early birds catch the worms. But the early worms get caught early.