Singapore to decide on second casino early December

Singapore is likely to decide early in December which one of three competing consortiums will be awarded the bid to build the city-state’s second casino, a government minister was quoted as saying on Sunday.

On October 10, three groups – one led by Malaysia’s Genting, one by U.S. group Eighth Wonder and one by Bahamas-based casino operator Kerzner – submitted bids worth up to USD 3.5 billion to build and run a casino on the Singapore resort island Sentosa.

„Whichever one we choose, Singapore will be the better for it. I believe the decision will be likely ready somewhere around early December or so – before Christmas definitely,“ National Development Minister Mah Bow Tan told reporters in China, according to state-owned broadcaster Channel NewsAsia.

Malaysia’s Genting has teamed up with US theme park giant Universal Studios and is bidding through its Genting International and cruise operator Star Cruises affiliates. A consortium led by U.S. resorts developer Mark Advent’s privately held Eighth Wonder – which has a 61.7 percent equity stake in it – also includes Mississippi-based gaming firm Isle of Capri Casinos; Australian tycoon James Packer’s Publishing and Broadcasting (PBL); and Macau gambling magnate Stanley Ho’s Melco International Development.

The third group is a 60-40 percent joint venture between Kerzner International and Singapore real estate firm CapitaLand, which is 46-percent owned by Singapore government holding company Temasek Holdings.

Singapore wants the Sentosa casino to have family attractions that will lure regional tourists and boost its services sector. The casino is expected to operate from 2010. Las Vegas Sands won the first casino licence in May after it promised to spend more than USD 3.2 billion on the project, which faces Singapore’s financial district.