Singapore casinos and attractions to reopen this week

By Noah Taylor Updated
Singaporean duo jailed for illegal gambling operation 

Singapore’s casinos at Marina Bay Sands and Resorts World Sentosa are among 13 Singapore entertainment attractions granted permission to reopen from Wednesday.

Asgam reports the Ministry of Trade and Industry and Singapore Tourism Board announced Sunday that it had granted permission for the attractions to open following careful assessment of reopening proposals.

However, operations will be limited to no more than 25 per cent of normal capacity and subject to strict health and safety measures.

In a press release issued last Sunday, Marina Bay Sands said it was restricting casino access to Sands Rewards Club members holding gold status and above, plus Annual Levy Holders.

“The casino will also abide by strict safe management measures,” MBS said.

“There will be limitations on the number of patrons at each gaming table, while seats at the electronic gaming machines and slots will be at least one metre apart.

“Safe Distancing Ambassadors will be deployed to ensure there are no bystanders.

“Customer-facing team members will don masks and face shields, and will sanitise their hands before and after shifts at gaming tables.”

MBS said it has trained more than 1000 staff to take on safe distancing roles and will also reopen its ArtScience Museum and Sands SkyPark.

Resorts World Sentosa will open its casino and Universal Studios Singapore from July 1, followed by SEA Aquarium from July 4.

The return of some casino operations comes almost two weeks after Singapore entered phase two of easing COVID-19 restrictions, with both MBS and RWS opening some retail and food and beverage outlets.

Both companies had suspended all operations in early April.

Aside from facilities at the two integrated resorts reopening this week, other entertainment facilities given permission to resume partial operations include Singapore Zoo, Madame Tussauds, Bounce, Flower Dome at Gardens by the Bay, Jurong Bird Park, River Safari and Zero Latency.

Locals to pay more to enter Singapore casinos

The Ministry of Trade and Industry, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of Social and Family Development in Singapore announced in a joint statement last year that Singapore citizens and permanent residents will now have to pay SGD $150 every day to visit any of the two integrated casino resorts in the country.

Earlier the levy to enter a casino resort for one day was SGD $100. The annual levy has also been increased by 50 per cent, Casino Buzz reported.

Those who now want to have a yearly pass to enter the integrated resorts will have to shell out SGD $3,000. Earlier it was SGD $2,000 for locals.

The increase for entering gambling facilities has come as the Marina Bay Sands and Resorts World Sentosa, the two popular Singapore casino resorts, are planning to increase $9 billion in non-gaming activities.

These steps are part of a plan to keep locals away from gambling activities and the government has reassured citizens that problem gambling in Singapore is under control.

Chan Chun Sing, Minister for Trade and Industry, said the government is already attention and active towards any potential negative impact of gambling.

“Although problem gambling has not worsened since the introduction of integrated resorts, we are nevertheless wary of the dangers posed by gambling, in particular, online gambling, which has become an increasingly serious threat,” he said.

“To further limit the social impact of problem gambling on our local population, Marina Bay Sands (MBS) and Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) have agreed to work with MSF to study how to help casino patrons make more informed decisions on their level of play,” Chun added.

The two integrated resorts have been granted permission by the government to expand their gaming floors beyond their current 15,000 square metres apiece.

MBS has been okayed to expand its approved gaming area by an additional 2,000 square metres, on which it can place an additional 1,000 gaming machines.

RWS has been granted a smaller expansion of 500 square metres that will accommodate another 800 machines.

The government said it was granting these perks to the integrated resorts based on their “substantial investment” to date and to ensure “business certainty” for their operations going forward.

On top of the total $15 billion the two operators initially invested to build their properties, they have no committed an additional $9 billion toward non-gaming amenities to boost tourism.

The Sands’ expansion plans include a fourth tower boasting 1,000 hotel rooms catering to the VIP crowd, along with a 15,000 seat entertainment area and expanded meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions space.

Genting’s expansion will also cost $4.5 billion and involve two new ‘destination’ hotels offering a total of 1,100 rooms plus a pair of new attractions – Minion Park and Super Nintendo World – at its Universal Studios Singapore theme park.

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