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MACAU BUSINESS Lion City pride by Muhammad Cohen


In its first year of operation, Marina Bay Sands is already a roaring success for Singapore and Las Vegas Sands. But the casino resort still has hurdles to clear, including finishing construction and finding a new chief executive


I 22 MAY 2011


n its first year of operation, Marina Bay Sands has become a Singapore landmark. Since opening last April 27, the casino resort, known as “MBS” has become Las Vegas Sands’ most profitable property, even though it has yet to be


completed. “They have had an amazing year. Marina Bay Sands


has become one of the world’s truly iconic tourist attractions, and one of the most profitable,” says HSBC senior regional consumer and gaming analyst Sean Monaghan. “The integrated resorts have also been great in


terms of building Singapore’s tourist brand and ‘hip’ appeal globally,” he says. “Over 11 million visitors from the region and


around the world have walked through our doors,” says a Marina Bay Sands spokesperson. “Marina Bay Sands is also experiencing solid momentum on the meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions (MICE) front, with over 1,155 deals sealed so far which will bring around 670,000 participants till 2012 to Sands Expo and Convention Centre, the biggest MICE facility in Singapore.” Marina Bay Sands is the most expensive stand- alone casino resort ever built, costing US$5.5 billion (MOP44 billion). It has 2,560 hotel rooms in three towers, a shopping mall, 122,000 square metres of convention facilities, and a three-tier casino with


more than 600 tables and 1,500 machines. Fulfilling hopes


Genting’s US$4.7 billion Resorts World Sentosa opened in February last year, and features a Universal Studios theme park along with a casino, plus (eventually) 1,800 rooms in six hotels, and retail outlets. The new casino resorts helped Singapore attract a record 11.6 million visitors in 2010. “The integrated resorts appear to be doing exactly what the Singapore government hoped they would when the plans for launching two integrated resorts and casino licenses were made,” says hospitality consultant Horwath HTL-Asia Pacific’s managing director, Robert Hecker. “Both properties complement each other,” says the


dean of the University of Nevada Las Vegas’ Singapore campus, Andy Nazarechuk. “Marina Bay Sands seeks the MICE market and professional-type customers, and Resorts World Sentosa has captured the family and leisure market. As both properties mature, they will both grow their various revenue streams.”


VIP hiccup


Las Vegas Sands reported that Marina Bay Sands made US$305.8 million in adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation (EBITDA) in the fourth quarter of last year, with an


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