bout 550,000 people visited the Marina Bay Sands casino in the first 25 days of May, Chief Operating Officer Michael Leven said in an interview in Las Vegas last week, describing the overall resort as “about 25 % open.” The casino is winning “slightly more” on mass-market gambling than on VIP play since opening April 27, he said.
“If we continue at this rate, with no improvement for the rest of the year in the casino win, and just add the improvement in the hotel, we’ll exceed the analysts’ expectations” for cash flow, Leven said. He didn’t give a figure.
The Singapore site will probably generate us$ 329 million in 2010 earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization, based on the average of 13 analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Ebitda is a measure of cash flow.
About one-third of Marina Bay’s casino visitors have been Singaporeans, who pay us$ 70.90 to enter, and the rest are either foreigners living in the city-state or visitors from countries including neighboring Malaysia and Indonesia, Leven said. The us$ 5.5 billion casino resort is beside Singapore’s financial district and includes meeting and convention facilities, a shopping mall and restaurants.
“It started quite well,” said Philip Tulk, an analyst at Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc. “The hundred-dollar entry fee for Singaporeans is having a positive effect because people are staying longer.”
In February, Genting Singapore Plc opened the country’s only other casino, Resorts World, on Sentosa Island, which includes a Universal Studios theme park. Parent Genting Bhd. owns and runs Malaysia’s only casino, and buses in thousands of gamblers from the neighboring nation.
Genting Singapore rose 4 % to close at us$ 0.72. Sands China Ltd., the unit which in 2007 opened the 3,000-room Venetian Macao, rose 0.9 % to us$ 1.42 in Hong Kong. “Genting has proven to be a very formidable casino competitor,” Leven said in the May 26 interview. “They know the market better than we knew the market on the mass-play side, because they operate in Malaysia and our operations in Macau are very different.”
Las Vegas Sands is “somewhat disappointed” with the win rate for its Singapore slot machines, even though the daily average is higher than at its Las Vegas and Macau, China, sites, Leven said. The company has ordered popular electronic rapid roulette and mini-baccarat games to compete with Genting, he said. The win rate is how much the casino wins as a percentage of total money gambled.
Leven acknowledged “glitches” in the staggered opening as construction work continues, including lawsuits related to a power failure during the first conference that Marina Bay Sands hosted. “It’s really a work in progress,” Leven said. “The amount of complaints we’re getting are pretty typical of any opening.” Since opening, Marina Bay has adjusted some incentives and lowered some food and parking prices to “be more appealing to the mass market,” he said.
Singapore aims to lure 17 million visitors and reach annual tourism revenue of us$ 21.2 billion by 2015, helped by the two casino resorts. Marina Bay Sands is “going to be everything Singapore wants it to be,” Leven said. “I can’t wait for New Year’s because at that point almost everything will be done.”