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Casino license bids released
Last Updated(Beijing Time):2006-10-18 09:14
Genting Bhd and Kerzner International Ltd, bidding for Singapore's last casino license for at least a decade, stepped up the competition on what analysts say is the "last lap of the race."

The two companies on Monday unveiled precise investment amounts for Singapore's second casino. They also provided details of attractions that range from the world's biggest manmade coral reef to a Universal Studios theme park. Each would push the boundaries of tourism in Singapore, Bloomberg News reported.

The city-state, attempting to shed its straight-laced image and reclaim lost tourism revenue, last year lifted its four-decade ban on casinos. By doing so, it projected the number of overseas visitors to double by 2015. Bids were submitted to the government on October 10. A decision is expected by the end of the year.

"This has to be something that can draw the regional family-based tourists to Singapore and extend their stay," said Nicholas Mak, director of research at Knight Frank, a property consulting company in Singapore. "With the right concept, the right design, product and branding, everything will fall into place. The rest are just promises right now."

Genting, Asia's biggest casino-operator by market value, said its S$5.2 billion (US$3.3 billion) proposed resort may draw 10 million tourists a year by 2015. The development, which would include a Universal Studios theme park, could generate S$15 billion a year in tourism spending.

To keep the resort "fresh," Genting has offered to spend an additional S$200 million a year for the next 30 years to rejuvenate the property. Genting, whose partner includes its unit Star Cruises Ltd, also plans an 8-hectare marine-life park.

Kerzner said it will invest S$5.28 billion in water rides and attractions that will include the world's biggest manmade coral reef as well as a jelly-fish collection and a beluga tank.

Eighth Wonder last week proposed a US$3.5 billion investment. The company has teamed up with the Isle of Capri Casinos Inc in the US, Publishing & Broadcasting Ltd in Australia and Macau's Melco International Development Ltd.
Source:Shanghai Daily 
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