Betting On Singapore

MGM is still in the hunt to build a casino in Singapore, with two other major U.S. players competing for the same license.

Las Vegas Sands Corp. and Harrah’s Entertainment have announced partnerships with third parties and revealed aspects of their bid, but MGM has stayed relatively quiet. Sands’ partner, City Developments Ltd., withdrew its joint bid January 16th and reportedly said it will not seek another partner.

MGM’s silence amid the publicity generated by competitors prompted some investors to wonder if the company was no longer interested in Singapore and was instead focusing on a different deal in Macau with Pansy Ho – daughter of Macau casino mogul Stanley Ho.

“It’s not our company’s style to make a lot of noise,” MGM’s Gordon Absher said.

The company said January 13th it will proceed with its bid to build and operate a casino resort at Singapore’s Marina Bay.

The first casino will be at Marina Bay and the second will be on the resort island of Sentosa, according to Dow Jones. Bids for Marina Bay must be submitted by the end of March. The Singapore government is expected to select a winner by the middle of the year.

MGM is partnering with CapitaLand Ltd., Southeast Asia’s biggest developer, in its bid to build a casino resort on the waterfront site at Marina Bay. According to analysts, Marina will be one of the world’s most expensive casino resorts, with an estimated price tag of about $3 billion.

Singapore legalized casino gambling last April and said it will offer two casino licenses in a bid to draw more tourists and shed its straight-laced image.