Singapore Casino Market taking a Nosedive
Over the past few years, the Singapore casino market had exploded with growth and was predicted to pass Las Vegas as the world’s second biggest casino destination. Thailand billionaire Dhanin Chearavanont even pointed to Singapore as evidence that his country needs to get into the casino industry. However, it appears as if the surging city-state has hit a stumbling block recently since their casino market’s been declining rapidly.
Coming into this year, some economic experts predicted a decline in Singapore’s overall GDP. And those analysts have been right since the economy’s growth has dropped from 4.9% in 2011 to 1.5% in 2012. As for specific numbers on the casino revenue decline, Genting Singapore has reported a 20% Quarter 3 drop from S$634.1 million to S$528.4 million (US$432.3m), while Las Vegas Sands experienced a 28% Q3 drop-off from S$602.8 million to S$470.8 million (US$385.1m). Jonathan Galaviz, who’s the managing director of Galaviz & Co., spoke about the drop by saying the following:
We have been waiting for the novelty factor of Singapore’s casinos to finally wear off, and that time may have finally come. Gaming revenues are sometimes a leading indicator of overall macroeconomic activity in a region. This may be a sign of things to come economically for Southeast Asia.
While several reasons have been pointed to as for why Singapore’s once-budding casino industry is suffering, the biggest involves the government’s involvement. For example, Singapore residents must pay a S$100 fee before entering either casino, and visitors from anywhere are limited in how many times they can visit each month. In addition to this, there are limitations on how many promotions and free offers casinos can send to customers.
Unfortunately, things only look to get worse for Las Vegas Sands and Genting Singapore because betting limits are being proposed. Plus families can now set a self-imposed limit on how many times they attend the casinos each month. This being said, it’ll be interesting to see when the Singapore gaming decline stops.