Details emerge about Marina Bay Sands’ Singapore expansion

By Ethan Anderson Updated
Details emerge about Marina Bay Sands’ Singapore expansion

The next phase of upgrades to Marina Bay Sands was announced in January, but the casino operator has now provided an update on what’s coming and when the upgrades will be finished.

Marina Bay Sands has been working on upgrades to their Singapore venue worth $3.3 billion for the past couple of years and invested an additional $1 billion in January.

The investment is part of a larger agreement with Singapore that extended the operator’s regional exclusivity through 2030, if not later.

The renovations originally had a completion date of some time in 2025.

However, the schedule changed because of COVID-19 and they are on track for a 2026 conclusion.

“Our reinvestment as well as our planned multibillion-dollar expansion that we announced in 2019 represent a further demonstration of our long-term support for Singapore,” Las Vegas Sands chairman and CEO Robert Goldstein said.

All rooms and suites in two of the three hotel towers are receiving an “extensive” rework.

Additionally, the 55th floor of all three towers will receive changes.

Among these will be a renovation of the executive club lounge, the health facilities and the high-end dining area.

New restaurant and amenities part of MBS facelift 

The property will also add a new restaurant to its amenities.

Wakuda, developed by Japanese-born Australian chef Tetsuya Wakuda and restaurateur John Kunkel, is coming as soon as the final plates and tablecloths are in place.

Kunkel is the founder of 50 Eggs Hospitality Group and describes Wakuda as “a bold, artful collision of time and culture, traditional eastern mythology and seductive design.”

MBS chief operating officer Paul Town didn’t want to put too many details about the upgrades out there yet.

He said in the press release that more information will be coming “in the months ahead” as border restrictions ease to allow greater traffic.

Singapore eased travel restrictions last September before bringing back tighter travel controls in December.

However, in the middle of January, Singapore was able to ease up once again on the restrictions.

It began selling bus and airline tickets for travel between Malaysia and the country.

There were only half the amount of tickets available that would normally be seen, and only vaccinated travellers can make the trip.

Singapore will continue to relax the restrictions as warranted, and MBS will be ready when it does.

The second set of upgrades that are currently underway will conclude in stages between this year and 2023 and the casino will unveil the changes “as international travel returns following the easing of border restrictions.”

Singapore parliament passes new casino exclusivity bill

In January, the Singapore parliament passed a new Gambling Duties Bill that will see casino tax rates raised and the exclusivity of the state’s two integrated resorts extended until 2030.

The amendments, aimed at consolidating some of Singapore’s gambling law, were first proposed in 2019 under agreements signed by operators Las Vegas Sands and Genting Singapore with the Singapore Tourism Board for expansion of their respective integrated resorts – Marina Bay Sands and Resorts World Sentosa.

Under changes to be made to the Casino Control Act by implementation of the new Gambling Duties Bill, a new tiered tax system will come into force that will see the current 15 per cent tax rate for premium gaming increased to 18 per cent for the first SG$3.1 billion in gross gaming revenue and 22 per cent for any amount above.

Premium gaming, currently taxed at five per cent, will increase to eight per cent for the first SG$2.4 billion and 12 per cent thereafter. 

Premium revenue is defined as that derived from customers with at least SG$100,000 deposited in their casino accounts.

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