The gambling industry across Asia continues to develop. One of the main drivers has been tourism. Macau is one of the main hubs to place a wager in the region and the Chinese-ruled enclave puts great store by evaluating the impact tourism has on its booming casino business. Singapore has taken a similar approach
Singapore Visitors Go Up, Benefit Casino Business
Singapore has posted convincing numbers about its casino industry. The first nine months of the 2018 saw 14.03 million total visitors, which is 7.5% more than the same period in 2017. The data was collated with the help of the Singapore Tourism Board (STB). This comes at a time when Singapore will increasingly find itself in competition with other Asian gambling hubs.
According to STB, tourists numbers have gone up in the country-state, beneficially affecting a number of properties related directly or indirectly with the casino business. The first efforts to reinvent Singapore into a soft gambling hut were made back in 2010 when the country gave greenlight to the introduction of two resorts.
As a result, the Resorts World Sentosa and Marina Bay Sands appeared, owned by the Las Vegas Sands corporation, a powerful conglomerate that operates casino business back in the United States. By allowing casinos to operate in Singapore, the city hoped to drive better economical results and help ramp up the influx of tourists, but also engage tourists in a way that boosts spending by foreigners in Singapore.
Southeast Asia (SEA) has been one of the main regions for the country, with 4.83 million travelling to the country just these past nine months. This constituted a 5.5% increased from over the same period last year. Greater China has also seen a significant increase in the number of people who go to Singapore to visit. The figures grew to 3.45 million total visitors.
Chinese have begun to enjoy a number of privileges, including the instant visas for countries such as the Philippines, but also a relaxation of the travelling law within the country, allowing nationals to move freely in the region and beyond.
As to North Asia in total, the number was 1.1 million, which still marked a mild uptick to the tune of 2.7%. Europeans have been quite active, coming to visit Singapore, with 1.56 million registered visitors, or a 15% increase compared to the same period in 2017.
Singapore’s Soft Regulation
Even though the country is receptive of outside influences and particularly welcomes tourists, Singapore has won itself a reputation for coming down hard on any illegitimate gambling business taking place on the territory of the country.
Most recently, Singapore carried out a raid which resulted in the arrest of 53 individuals who are now being charged with gambling-related offenses. While these illegal operations are easy to smooth out, there has been somewhat graver warnings about the stability of the Singaporean market.
According to Morgan Stanley, the Singaporean gambling industry has been worsening, with what the agency described “deteriorating fundamentals”. This has directly affected the forecast issued by the agency, which now predicts weaker growth for the gambling industry, although this data was published before the SBT made available its findings.