Singapore PM: Gambling for Tourists

Admin. - September 5, 2010

Prime Minister Lee makes visits to Singapore’s first two casinos.

Singaporeans should leave gambling to foreigners, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has said in a speech shortly after visiting the city-state's two new integrated resort casinos.

Lee, who made the speech in Mandarin, said he noticed that many locals were visiting the casinos and trying their hand at the tables.

"One local even came up to me and shook my hand, saying, 'I am your constituent,' I hope you'll bring me good luck," Lee said, adding that he hoped Singaporeans were only trying to seek a little excitement through such visits and would not forget their day jobs.

"The prudent thing to do is to leave the punting games and slot machines to foreign tourists," he said. "That is the only sure-win policy for us, because whether they win or lose, they will generate gambling taxes... which Singaporeans can share in."

Lee also noted in the speech that the integrated resorts have already brought huge economic benefits to the country through the creation of more than 20,000 jobs.

Singapore's two casinos both opened in 2010 amid widespread publicity. First, Genting's Resort World Sentosa opened its doors in February on the island of Sentosa, off the city's southern coast.

Then, the Marina Bay Sands, built by the Las Vegas Sands company, opened in June after a preview opening in April. The Marina Bay Sands broke the record for most valuable casino property at US$5.7 billion, ahead of Sentosa, which is worth US$4.9 billion.

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