A Place in the Sun

When it opened in 1952, the Sands casino was known as “A Place in the Sun,” and once it signed Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., and Dean Martin as entertainers, it became the most popular casino on the Las Vegas Strip.

Today, the Sands name lives on in Las Vegas Sands, Inc., the company that owns the Venetian, Palazzo, and Sands Expo Center on the Strip as well as casinos in Pennsylvania, Macau, and Singapore.

As a result, the Sands name is found in the world’s top three gambling markets—a fitting tribute to the place where Vegas got much of its magic back in the 1950s and 1960s.

You can read more about the Sands and other Las Vegas hotels  in Roll the Bones: The History of Gambling

Go here to read an excerpt from the book, or learn where to buy your copy.

When it opened in 1952, the Sands casino was known as “A Place in the Sun,” and once it signed Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., and Dean Martin as entertainers, it became the most popular casino on the Las Vegas Strip.

Today, the Sands name lives on in Las Vegas Sands, Inc., the company that owns the Venetian, Palazzo, and Sands Expo Center on the Strip as well as casinos in Pennsylvania, Macau, and Singapore.

As a result, the Sands name is found in the world’s top three gambling markets—a fitting tribute to the place where Vegas got much of its magic back in the 1950s and 1960s.

You can read more about the Sands and other Las Vegas hotels  in Roll the Bones: The History of Gambling

Go here to read an excerpt from the book, or learn where to buy your copy.

We’re no longer number one! in the LVBP

I’ve got a new piece in the Las Vegas Business Press about how Las Vegas is going to have to adjust to no longer being number one in gaming:

In June, Macau casinos took in about $2.6 billion in revenues, an increase of more than 50 percent from the previous year. This achievement highlights the dominant place that Macau has taken in the gaming world, and is another reminder that Las Vegas isn’t what it used to be … and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

via Las Vegas Business Press :: David G. Schwartz : Slip in gambling rankings not bad thing for Vegas.

It’s been a while since Macau knocked Las Vegas out of that number one spot, but I really think it has just begun to sink in. Hopefully now we can start moving forward, to whatever the future holds.

High rolling perspective from Singapore

Interesting opinion piece from a Malaysian paper about the Singapore casinos:

Since the opening of the two casinos in Singapore, some billionaires were reported to have lost a great amount of money while the two casinos were reported to have made impressive performances.

Some suffered great losses while some made great gains. It is the law for all casinos.

via Enormous losses and lucre in gambling | My Sinchew.

For reference, 1 Singapore dollar is worth about .76 $USD. So that S$100 million loss was about $76 million, hardly chump change.

I find it interesting that the author seems to feel some schadenfreude at the losses by the big high rollers, but concern over the buses of Malaysians headed to the casinos.

The win per day for Resort World slot machines, S$600,000 is $459,511 a day. With 1300 machines, that comes to a respectable $353.47–about three times the average for Nevada, but not that far off some of the more lucrative US markets.

Marina Bay Sands opens

Big news in the international gambling scene, as the Marina Bay Sands has finally opened. From the Financial Times:

Singapore has imposed a charge of S$100 (US$73) a day or S$2,000 a year for residents to visit the tables as a way of calming vocal opposition to the casino developments from locals who fear a spread of gambling addiction and crime.

The government is also encouraging people with a gambling problem to add themselves voluntarily to a national blacklist of people who will be refused entry to the casinos.

However, analysts say the two resorts are likely to generate a flood of well-heeled overseas tourists, adding up to 1.6 percentage points to gross domestic product in a full year, according to official forecasts.

The government wants to buttress the island state’s burgeoning financial and manufacturing sectors with tourism earnings of S$30bn in revenues by 2015 – triple today’s figure.

The US$5.5bn Marina Bay Sands, a stunning development on the waterfront in the city’s business district, boasts a 1.2 hectare skypark, spanning three hotel towers and floating 220 metres above the pavement. The area is likely to become something of an architectural icon, even though the skypark bears a passing resemblance to a stranded boat.

Sheldon Adelson, chief executive of Las Vegas Sands, confirmed on Tuesday that the company expected to recoup its investment within five years, with a Singaporean contribution of more than US$1bn a year to earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation.

Genting’s development, the US$4.7bn Resorts World at Sentosa, opened in February. It appears popular with punters, although no figures have been published.

The resort, located on an offshore leisure island, will have four hotels when it is fully open, together with a Universal Studios theme park and the world’s largest oceanarium alongside the gaming tables.

via FT.com / Companies / Travel & Leisure – Singapore opens second casino resort.

Extrapolating from the information in the article, the Singapore government wants to use the casinos to triple tourism revenues to S$30 billion. That means they expect the casinos to add S$20 billion a year in total revenue, which is about US$14.6 billion.

The entire Las Vegas Strip, which includes two dozen casinos and more Cirque shows, ultralounges, and meeting rooms than you can count, made $13.8 billion last year. Even with a theme park at Sentosa Island, I’m not sure expecting two casinos to lead a $14.6 billion increase is realistic.

Sentosa casino set

I don’t have much time today–I’m off to Mandalay Bay for the LV Marathon expo–but this is newsworthy:

Singapore awarded its second casino resort contract Friday to Genting International, whose proposal of a venture worth 5.2 billion Singapore dollars is intended to lure thousands of visitors with a Universal Studios theme park and a huge outdoor marine park.

Genting, which runs two casinos in Malaysia, had joined with Star Cruises in its bid against the Las Vegas-based Eighth Wonder and Kerzner International to build and operate the resort. The project is scheduled to open in 2010 on a site of 49 hectares, or 121 acres, on Sentosa Island.

Singapore’s deputy prime minister, S. Jayakumar, said at a news conference that Genting had provided “the most compelling proposal over all that best meets our economic and tourism objectives.”

He added, “We wanted a large-scale family-oriented resort that would draw a large number of new visitors to Singapore.”

Genting wins Singapore casino license – Business – International Herald Tribune

Casino geomancers and astrologers

Parties bidding on the casino license for Sentosa Island, Singapore, might want to follow Las Vegas Sands’ winning strategy for the Marina Bay casino: an innovative design, multi-faceted marketing approach, and proven experience in the region and industry. Or, they might just want to read their star charts and consult with feng shui experts. From the Taipei Times:

Bidders for Singapore’s second casino resort on Sentosa Island were warned yesterday not to ignore the site’s bloody World War II past.

With the Las Vegas Sands beating three other competitors for the US$3.2 billion Marina Bay complex in the commercial district, geomancers, recalling a massacre during the Japanese occupation of Sentosa, have suggested ways of harmonizing bad vibrations on the site of the second casino.

They told the Straits Times that a pavilion or memorial should be erected, or a multi-religious service held, before construction starts to avert accidents, suicides or a loss-making venture.

While acknowledging feng shui alone will not secure the second winning bid or a successful venture, the experts suggested charting the stars.

“If they want to win, submitting at an auspicious time gives a small advantage,” feng shui author Adeline Pang was quoted as saying.

The Sands, the owner of the Venetian in Las Vegas, was declared the winner of the first resort last month with a design which had three slanting hotel towers overlooking three low-rise waterfront domes and roofs resembling waves.

The government dropped its longstanding ban on casino gambling in its zeal to attract a greater share of the Asian tourism market.

Bidders now have until October 10 to submit proposals for Sentosa with its combination of a casino and theme parks.

Geomancers and feng shui experts agree that the Sentosa resort should have its back to the mainland for support.

Master Ang Kian Cheong said the orientation will make all the difference to its success.

Irregular or sharp angles in the designs should be avoided, feng shui expert Victor Li told the newspaper.

“Round, semi-circle or an ellipse will be good,” he added.

A winner will be announced by the end of the year.

Casino bidders warned of bad vibes

Incredibly enough, Sentosa Island is one of the very few places I’ve been to outside the United States. I stayed at the Rasa Sentosa resort, and they didn’t mention anything about a bloody past.

I think this article shows how cultural sensitivities are very important. If an American casino executive starting calling an astrologer before announcing a new venture, stock prices would plummet. But calling in a geomancer might actually be a sensible thing in this context.

Singapore Sands?

It sounds like a drink you’d buy in a Asian-themed bar, but that might be the name of the Marina Bay casino/hotel/resort in Singapore, as Las Vegas Sands won the bid to build a casino in the Marina area. From Yahoo Finance:

Singapore picked Las Vegas Sands Corp. to build and run what will be the world’s most expensive casino at a cost of more than S$5 billion (US$3.2 billion), sending the U.S. casino operator’s shares up more than 9 percent.

The tiny island nation scrapped a ban on casinos last year in a move to shake off its staid image and capture part of Macau’s success as a gambling center for Asia’s increasingly wealthy and mobile middle class.

Las Vegas Sands, the world’s largest gaming operator by stock market value, beat three other bidders with a promise to invest S$3.85 billion (US$2.4 billion) in the project, on top of the S$1.2 billion price tag for the land in downtown Singapore.

“This is a pretty big win for Las Vegas Sands,” said Peter Dunay, chief investment strategist at fund management firm Leeb Group. “As far as real strong explosive growth, it is coming from the strength you are seeing in the Asian (market).”

Sands wins bid for Singapore casino: Financial News – Yahoo! Finance

Bill Eadington announced the decision at the International Conference on Gambling and Risk-Taking on Friday and showed the crowd a rendering of the casino design. It looks spectacular, with what looks like three decks of cards supporting a “hanging garden” feature. I’m already looking forward to 2009, when the resort will open.

Internet news: take it or leave it

If it’s on the Internet, it’s got to be true, right? Maybe not. According to Dow Jones (so says Yahoo), Wynn Resorts is looking to build in Singapore. That seems reasonable. But one paragraph in, the article says that Wynn owns the Bellagio and Mirage.
Continue reading “Internet news: take it or leave it”