Singapore’s Casino Industry an Example for JapanDecember 22, 2016 12:16 pm
Now that Japan has finally signaled its intention to permit casino gambling, the country is closely studying a number of different models that may best be applied to the wealthy country of 127 million people. One such example is likely to be provided by a Southeast Asian country located 3,257 miles away, namely the Republic of Singapore.
Unlike the sprawling gambling destinations of Macau and Las Vegas, the world’s biggest gambling resorts, the more inconspicuous model adopted by Singapore is likely to be perceived as a better fit for the conservative Japanese market. In fact, the country has permitted just two integrated resorts to be built since the market was established in 2010, the Marina Bay Sands (photo) and the Resorts World Sentosa, with the proviso that a mere 3% of their total areas can be allocated to gambling activities.
Deemed more important to Singapore is promoting the country as a tourist destination, while also offering gambling facilities for mostly foreigners to visit. In its efforts to dissuade the local population from frequenting the venues, Singaporeans must wait in a separate line to enter the casinos, and must also pay a S$100 (US$70) entry fee, or a S$2000 (US$1,381) fee for a year’s pass.
To provide a further example of Singapore’s approach on the issue of casino gambling, the country’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong stated in 2005 that “we are not aiming to become like Las Vegas or Macau, where gambling is the main industry. We will not allow casinos to sport garish neon displays on the facades and have jackpot machines everywhere.”
Despite its strict controls, however, Singapore still maintains a thriving casino industry which last year generated US$4.8 billion in revenues. Meanwhile, visitor arrivals reached 15.2 million in 2015, with tourist receipts totaling an impressive US$15.2 billion. All told, Singapore’s two resorts now account for around 2% of its economy, while also creating over 20,000 jobs. Given it evident success, it is no wonder that Japan has seriously been examining Singapore’s casino industry, and over the years has sent government officials to the country in order to study its intricacies.