As Chinese New Year revellers welcomed in the year of the Tiger yesterday, Singapore’s first casino, a key part of a drive to boost tourism revenue, opened its doors. “The $4.7 billion Resorts World Sentosa, built by a unit of Malaysia’s Genting Group, is the first of two casinos to go into operation to transform the Southeast Asian city-state’s reputation as a manufacturing and banking hub. Genting Group chairman Lim Kok Thay took the first bet on a game of baccarat to launch a new market for Asia’s booming casino industry and lure high-rollers away from Macau, the region’s gaming capital, as well as Malaysia and Australia. Lim told reporters the group was actively looking at possible expansion in the United States, where it could buy into existing casino resorts. ‘Going forward, we are actively looking at the U.S. because the last financial crisis has brought some pain, but at the same time we see great opportunities there, in terms of buying into existing resorts that (are) down on their luck,’ he said, without identifying any targets. Genting’s Singapore resort also houses a Universal Studios theme park, hotels and convention facilities intended to serve conservative Singapore’s aim of not only attracting gamblers, but also business executives and their families.”
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