Marina Bay Sands shuts for two weeks due to COVID-19 outbreak

By Noah Taylor Updated
Marina Bay Sands shuts for two weeks due to COVID-19 outbreak

Singapore casino Marina Bay Sands has been forced to close for two weeks after 11 COVID-19 cases were found at the venue.

Bloomberg reports that Marina Bay Sands will shut from July 22 for deep cleaning after authorities detected a coronavirus cluster, the latest to emerge after an outbreak at a fishery port that made the government reimpose social restrictions.

The cases have been linked to Las Vegas Sands Corp, prompting the decision to close until August 5 for deep cleaning to break the spread of the virus, the Health Ministry said.

Testing will be done on all staff working at the casino, which is part of a larger complex including a hotel, dining and luxury shopping mall.

Las Vegas Sands fell in late trading after reporting second quarter results that trailed Wall Street estimates.

The company has faced headwinds from pandemic-related travel restrictions that remain in place in its two key markets of Macau and Singapore.

The Marina Bay Sands casino cluster is part of 179 new coronavirus cases found in Singapore.

Most of those cases came from a fishery port cluster which appears to be the epicentre of a resurgence in infections found in food markets, karaoke clubs and now in one of two casinos in Singapore.

Singapore’s Health Minister Ong Ye Kung said the fishery cluster prompted it to reimpose stricter measures, including a ban on dining-in and limiting social interactions.

“Unfortunately, while our fishmongers and stall assistants were going about earning an honest living, they got infected at the Port,” Ong said.

“As they went on to work at various markets around the island, many more cases in the community were seeded.”

About half of Singapore’s population has received two doses of vaccine, Ong said, adding that he expects the number to rise by a percentage point daily to about 64 per cent or more in two week’s time.

“This will put us in a much stronger and resilient position when we review the restrictions,” he said.

Singapore flags gambling law changes

Ministry of Home Affairs is seeking public feedback on the proposed amendments, which include raising penalties for repeat offenders who facilitate or operate illegal gambling services and amending the definition of gambling so that it can cover emerging products.

MHA said on July 12 that it will amend the legislation in late 2012 to ensure that Singapore’s laws and regulations remain effective in the face of evolving gambling products and business models.

This comes after the ministry said in April 2020 that it will set up a new gambling regulator by 2021, as well as review and amend gamling legislation within the same period.

Gambling-related crimes remain low, with the number of people arrested for illegal gambling activities remaining stable from 2011 to 2020, the MHA said.

Problem gambling remains “under control”, with surveys showing that problem gambling and pathological gambling rates have remained relatively stable, at around one per cent.

“To continue to enjoy these good outcomes, we need to make sure that our laws and regulations can address two trends in the gambling landscape.

“First, advancements in technology. The internet and mobile computing have made gambling products more accessible.

“Second, the boundaries between gambling and gaming have blurred. Business models have adapted to suit changing customer preferences by introducing gambling elements in products that are traditionally not perceived as gambling.”

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