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December 22, 2009

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Singapore casino now to open next April

LAS Vegas Sands Chairman Sheldon Adelson said yesterday that the opening of the company's US$5.5 billion Singapore casino and resort had been delayed again, and now expected it to begin operations in April 2010.

The Marina Bay Sands, one of two casinos being built in Singapore, was due to open this month. Then Adelson said in July it would open by February. Heavy rain and the bankruptcy of some of the project's sub-contractors further pushed back the opening, Adelson said.

"There are too many issues," Adelson said in Singapore. "But a delay of a week or two or a month is not considered to be a delay in construction."

Sands has focused its resources on the Singapore casino as a cash crunch and falling revenue forced it to suspend work on a Macau project last November and lay off as many as 11,000 workers.

Adelson said he wasn't concerned that rival Resorts World, built by Malaysia's Genting Bhd, is due to open early next year in Singapore, before his resort.

"I'm glad that they are opening first," he said. "We'd rather they make the mistakes and we learn from it, rather than we make mistakes."

Adelson said the Marina Bay Sands is expected to earn US$1 billion profit annually. Las Vegas Sands plans to open at least 50 percent of its resort in April, including 1,000 hotel rooms, a casino, and parts of a shopping mall and convention center.

Singapore is hoping the property, along with Resorts World, will attract tourists as the government gradually shifts the economy to services from manufacturing.

Adelson said business is picking up at his Venetian and Palazzo casinos in Las Vegas as convention and company meetings return to the gambling mecca. "We did get hurt in this economic crisis," he said. "But the groups are coming back in force."


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