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Economy

Singapore's casino resorts to pour $6.6bn into expansion

City-state approves plans with eye on staying a top Asian destination

An artist's rendering of the Marina Bay Sands casino resort in Singapore after the addition of a fourth tower. (Courtesy of Las Vegas Sands)

SINGAPORE -- The government of Singapore said Wednesday it has agreed to a 9 billion Singapore dollar ($6.64 billion) build-out of its two integrated casino resorts.

The Marina Bay Sands, run by Las Vegas Sands, will build a 1,000-room luxury hotel. As the fourth high-rise on the premises, the hotel will consist entirely of suites. A 15,000-seat arena is also in the works.

Resorts World Sentosa, owned by Singapore's Genting Group, will add two hotels and enlarge the Universal Studios Singapore theme park on its premises.

Las Vegas Sands and Genting will each invest S$4.5 billion into their respective projects under plans authorized by the government. In return, Singapore will guarantee that the two operators continue to hold a duopoly on casino resorts through 2030.

This is the first major expansion of Singapore's integrated resorts since both started operations in 2010. The city-state is moving forward with the projects to remain competitive with rival resorts in Macao and South Korea, as well as new entrants in Japan.

Resorts World Sentosa and Marina Bay Sands were authorized to expand their casino space by 3% and 13%, respectively, with Singapore to raise the cap on the number of casino tables and machines. The top tax rate on gambling revenue will be increased to 22% in March 2022 from 15%. Singapore citizens and permanent residents also face a 50% hike on the daily entrance tax, to S$150, starting Thursday.

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