Singapore's integrated resorts, interrupted

Marina Bay Sands and Resorts World Sentosa once employed more than 20,000 people in total, but now count only 15,000 on their payrolls. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI
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On the eve of the stone-laying ceremony for the Bintan Beach International Resort in 1994, Singapore's then Deputy Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong described the Singapore-Indonesia joint development as an integrated resort (IR). The Singapore Government used the same description a decade later for developments with a casino when it deregulated casino gaming.

The term is now common parlance, thanks to the success of Marina Bay Sands (MBS) and Resorts World Sentosa (RWS). They spawned ringers in the Philippines, South Korea and Vietnam, but none came close to emulating the Singapore duopoly. Meanwhile, Japan laboured for 20 years to finally pass casino gambling into law in 2018 but received only two bids for its three IR licences after all the hype.

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