ven when Singapore's two multi-billion-dollar casino developments are open in 2010, the former Portuguese colony can still hold its position in the expanding gaming market, said Ambrose So, a director with Sociedade de Jogos de Macau, which is owned by Ho.
"Both places have different clientele. I don't think the two places will have a life and death competition," So said at the Asian Casinos Executive summit.
The high rollers and tourists to Macau come mainly from China, Taiwan and Hong Kong while Singapore is targeting neighboring countries in Southeast Asia as well as India and China.
Government figures released this month confirmed that the southern Chinese enclave had overtaken the Las Vegas Strip as the world's biggest casino draw. Gross gaming revenues in 2006 at Macau's 22 casinos were equivalent to us$ 7.2 billion, outstripping the us$ 6.6 billion pulled in by the 40-odd gaming centers along Vegas' famous boulevard.
"As you have seen after opening up of the casino industry in Macau, the total revenue has doubled and now today, the per capita income of Macau people surpassed that of Hong Kong," So, said, expressing confidence that Macau will be the center of the region's expanding gaming industry.
Lawmakers from Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party are already drawing up proposals to allow a handful of huge Vegas-style casinos, which could open their doors within a few years. Taiwan is considering lifting its ban on casinos while Thailand is also seen as likely to relax its gaming laws in the coming years.
Malaysia's Genting International broke ground yesterday on Singapore's second casino development. Las Vegas Sands is building the city state's other multi-billion-dollar casino and convention project at Marina Bay.