Viva Singapore: Lion City set to trump Las Vegas as the world's second largest gambling hub

Viva Singapore: Lion City set to trump Las Vegas as the world's second largest gambling hub

In just over a year, Singapore has turned itself a gambling powerhouse
Keep your chips on Singapore as a gambling powerhouse.

Who would have thought that in a little over a year, Singapore would be set to overtake Sin City in the gambling stakes?

According to Frank Fahrenkopf, president of the American Gaming Association, in a report by The Straits Times, the two integrated resorts -- Resorts World Sentosa and Marina Bay Sands --  posted US$5.1 billion (S$6.3 billion) in gaming revenues in 2010, a figure forecast to rise to US$6.4 billion (S$7.89 billion) this year.

A report citing research by the Royal Bank of Scotland has suggested Las Vegas will take $US6.2 billion (S$7.63 billion) this year.

This figure puts the island-state ahead of Las Vegas, once regarded as the world's best gambling destination, but still a long way off from market leader Macau which is posting more than 40 percent growth and cashed in US$23.5 billion (S$28.9 billion) in 2010.

The association remains optimistic on Singapore, estimating it'll rake in 25 percent year-on-year growth in gross gaming revenues this year.

While Singapore may never overtake Macau in the gambling stakes, it could well give Macau a run for its money in due time.

In a report by Channel News Asia, Fahrenkopf highlighted that Macau faces several problems that could put a damper on its continued growth, principally a government cap on the number of new gambling tables at 5,500 until 2013; a quota that is already nearly filled and will restrict growth to around four percent a year. 

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Fahrenkopf attributes more than 60 percent of Macau's gross gaming revenue to junket operators.

In Singapore, junket operators are tightly watched by the Casino Regulatory Authority (CRA), which has stated in a report by Asia One that "junket operators and representatives that meet the regulatory requirements under the Casino Control Act and the Casino Control (Junkets) Regulations would be allowed to operate here after being licensed by CRA."

Still, the biggest winner isn't the casinos but the Singapore Tourism Board, which posted a record 11.6 million visitors in 2010, up 20 per cent from 2009, an increase that is largely due to the the lure of its two new casinos and its varied attractions.



In between sunning herself in the Caribbean, Bali and other exotic locales, Charlene Fang keeps her feet (and fingers) grounded as the managing editor of She blames her wanderlust on the years spent working as the editor of CNNGo Singapore and Time Out Singapore. Her ramblings have also been published by the likes of Travel+Leisure, Condé Nast Traveler, Wallpaper*, ELLE and The Australian.

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