Sands says Singapore casino opening delayed

Dec 22, 2009 3:42 AM

Las Vegas Sands (LVS) Chairman Sheldon Adelson said the opening of the company's $5.5 billion Singapore casino and resort has been delayed again, and now expects it to begin operations in April.

The Marina Bay Sands, one of two casinos being built in Singapore, was initially scheduled to open this month. Then Adelson said in July it would open by February. Heavy rains and the bankruptcy of some of the project's sub-contractors further pushed back the opening, Adelson said.

"There are too many issues," Adelson told reporters Monday in Singapore. "But a delay of a week or two or a month is not considered to be a delay in construction."

Sands has focused its resources on the Singapore casino as a cash crunch brought on by the credit crisis and falling revenue forced it to suspend work on a Macau project last November and lay off as many as 11,000 workers.

Adelson said Sands plans to restart construction in Macau within five months and the first phase of its Cotai strip project should open by June, 2011.

Adelson said he wasn't concerned that rival Resorts World, built by Malaysia's Genting Bhd, is scheduled to open early next year in Singapore, before his resort.

"I'm glad that they are opening first," he said. "We'd rather they make the mistakes and we learn from it, rather than we make mistakes."

Adelson said the Marina Bay Sands is expected to earn $1 billion of profit annually. Las Vegas Sands plans to open at least 50 percent of its resort in April, including one thousand hotel rooms, a casino, and parts of a shopping mall and convention center.

Singapore is hoping the property, along with Resorts World, will attract tourists as the government gradually shifts the economy to services from manufacturing.

Adelson said business is picking up at his Venetian and Palazzo casinos in Las Vegas as convention and company meetings return to the gambling mecca.

"We did get hurt in this economic crisis," he said "But the groups are coming back in force."

Las Vegas Sands also owns the Sands Macau, Venetian Macau and Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem in Pennsylvania.