An indispensable source of information on Asia's booming gaming industry
Singapore's early numbers - do they flatter or deceive?
Feb 19, 2010
Resorts World Sentosa achieved S$40 million (US$28.5 million) in gaming gross in its first 36 hours of operation (by the end of Monday 15th February) according to unofficial figures released to the local media.
If the pattern of approximately S$26.6 million in revenue per 24 hours were extended across the rest of the year, it would mean RWS bringing in an annual gaming gross of around S$9.70 billion (US$6.88 billion) annually.
Those kinds of numbers would be massively above the US$2.1 billion annually that CLSA Asia-Pacific Markets, an independent brokerage and investment house, estimated in early February could be achieved by the Singapore casino market during 2010. And that's not counting the contribution of Las Vegas Sands Corp.'s Marina Bay Sands resort, which is due to open in Singapore in April.
Opening performance of a casino is not necessarily the best indicator of future performance. The most obvious bear factor is that new openings tend to produce an initial spike in takings. It was widely expected that the end of the official Lunar New Year holiday period in the Chinese-speaking world on Thursday 17th February would see a slow down in mass market daily take at RWS.
On the bull side, the impact of the VIP trade–typically a major driver of the gross turnover in Asian casino jurisdictions–has not yet had a chance to take effect in Singapore. That's because of the newness of RWS's casino operation, the uncertainty over whether the high roller trade in that market will involve mainly direct players or agent-delivered ones, and the fact that Lunar New Year is typically a quiet time (in Asia if not in Las Vegas) for the VIP trade.
The hotel segment of the RWS integrated casino resort, majority owned by Malaysia's Genting Group, had its initial launch on 20th January. But it had to delay the opening of the casino–Singapore's first–pending the issue of a gaming licence from the city-state's Casino Regulatory Authority. Those formalities were only completed in time for Lunar New Year on 14th February.
Singapore's National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) said that by 7.30pm that Sunday, 3,248 Singaporeans and permanent residents had paid the S$100 daily entry levy, and another 122 had purchased the S$1,000 annual pass. During that period 75,000 people were recorded by the authorities visiting Sentosa Island as a whole, which is accessed via a short causeway or via a cable car ride from Singapore Island.
The NCPG is one of the oversight bodies set up by the Singapore government as a condition of it agreeing in principle to licence two casino resorts.
Unidentified sources at RWS told local media that more than a third of the 60,000 visitors through the casino's doors in the three days up to and including Tuesday 16th February, were from Malaysia.