Casino firm Las Vegas Sands Corp says it has agreed an amendment to its April 2019 deal with the Singapore Tourism Board, which – in the casino entity’s words – now “extends the deadline for the firm’s Marina Bay Sands gaming resort to commence construction” on a SGD4.5-billion (US$3.31 billion) extension to the property, “by one year, to April 8, 2023”.
Under an April 2019 agreement with the Singapore Tourism Board, Las Vegas Sands had been required to complete such investment “within eight years”.
The present position of Marina Bay Sands (pictured) in a Singapore casino duopoly – alongside Genting Singapore Ltd’s Resorts World Sentosa – is guaranteed currently until December 31, 2030. Such guarantee from the Singapore government coincided with the April 2019 announcement about the development of additional facilities, as agreed with the tourism board. Genting Singapore has also pledged to commit SGD4.5 billion to extend its property.
In August 2020, a senior official of the Singapore Tourism Board said in an interview that it was “inevitable” there would be delays to the expansion of the city-state’s two casino resorts, due to the disruption to the construction sector wrought by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Las Vegas Sands’ announcement on April 2019 had mentioned the expansion would include “a hotel tower with a rooftop attraction, meetings, incentives, convention and exhibition (MICE) facilities comprising meeting rooms, function rooms and exhibition halls, and a state-of-the-art live entertainment arena with a seating capacity of at least 15,000 persons, as well as associated public areas and public connections”.
Las Vegas Sands had said – at the time of its fourth-quarter earnings announcement, in January – that it had started a US$1-billion “renovation project” of hotel accommodation at Marina Bay Sands.
A presentation deck released with those earnings clarified that the hotel renovation project was separate from the 2019 pledge Las Vegas Sands made to the Singapore government to spend SGD4.5 billion.
The parent subsequently said that the revamp of existing hotel space would be phased over 2022 and 2023.
Las Vegas Sands is the parent of Macau casino operator Sands China Ltd, which will see its current rights in the latter market expire this year, coinciding with an anticipated fresh public tender.
Singapore’s casino duopoly – which opened for business in 2010 – had been described by the local authorities as part of its efforts to boost tourism from overseas.
Singapore has been one of the first nations in Southeast Asia to announce significant easing of pandemic-related travel restrictions.
In late March, the country’s prime minister, Lee Hsien Loong, said it was easing “substantially” the city-state’s cross-border travel restrictions from March 29, as the Covid-19 situation there came under control. The city-state was reopening its borders to all fully-vaccinated travellers from April 1, said separately the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore.
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