Resorts World Sentosa casino is part of a $4.7 billion complex on Sentosa Island
Singapore opened its first casino Sunday as part of the city-state’s efforts to become a major tourist destination and cut its reliance on manufacturing.
The Resorts World Sentosa casino opened its doors at 12:18 a.m. Sunday, the first day of the Lunar New Year.
The casino is part of a $4.7 billion complex built by Malaysia's Genting Group on Sentosa Island. Among the complex’s other amenities are luxury hotels and a Universal Studios movie theme park.
Some Singaporeans have expressed concerns that promoting gambling could undermine the city-state's values and encourage money laundering.
To address such concerns, the government has imposed a $70 fee on Singaporeans entering the casino to try to dissuade them from becoming addicted. Foreign visitors are exempt from the fee.
Just days after the casino opening, Singapore jailed a 49-year-old Indonesian man for theft after he reportedly lost all his money at the casino. Paulus Djorhar was jailed Wednesday, a day after he was caught stealing a mobile phone from a woman at Singapore's Changi Airport.
Singapore will see the opening of the first phase of its second casino, built by Las Vegas Sands, in late April.
The government has estimated the two casinos will grow the city-state’s gross domestic product growth by up to 1 percentage point.
Singapore's first casino debuts
February 18, 2010