Singapore casino costs could balloon by 40 percent: report

29 Aug 07

Singapore casino costs could balloon by 40 percent (AFP photo).The cost of Singapore’s first casino development could balloon by up to 40 percent in a struggle to keep the project on budget, reports said Wednesday.

Today newspaper quoted the chief executive officer of Las Vegas Sands as saying the original 3.6 billion US dollar cost of the development could swell by as much as 1.44 billion dollars.

The cost could rise by “20 to 40 percent,” Las Vegas Sands president and CEO William Weidner was quoted as saying in Macau.

He spoke to Singapore reporters at the opening of the company’s 2.4-billion- dollar Venetian Macao, the world’s largest casino-resort.

“We’re struggling, quite frankly, to stay within our budget” on the Singapore project, Today quoted Weidner as saying.

The project was already one of the world’s largest investments for a single integrated gaming resort.

Weidner cited escalating building costs, sparked by an Indonesian ban on sand exports, as well as refinements to the design.

“It’s a very, very complicated and sophisticated building… now that we try to execute it in concrete and steel, it’s a bit of a challenge,” Weidner was quoted as saying.

“We’re looking for means and methods to construct it more efficiently.”

The waterfront development, known as Marina Bay Sands, is to feature three 50-storey hotel towers which curve upwards in a design by Moshe Safdie and Associates.

In January, Indonesia banned the export of land sand to Singapore. Stricter checks by the Indonesian Navy on barges bound for the island republic disrupted granite supplies as well.

Sand and granite are both key ingredients for concrete.

Singapore’s Minister for National Development, Mah Bow Tan, told parliament in February that the Indonesian sand ban would not slow down the city-state’s resurgent construction industry.

As well as gaming space, Marina Bay Sands is to feature 100,000 square metres (1.08 million square feet) of convention and exhibition space – one of the largest such facilities in Asia – as well as an “ArtScience Museum”.

Construction began in February.

The Business Times quoted Weidner as saying the project is still on track to open as planned in 2009.

“If we keep our noses to the ground, we can open in late 2009,” he said

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