According to Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew, the Singapore casino industry will not become like Macau but will maintain its clean image. Macau may be making efforts to clean up its act and lose its sleazy reputation but Singapore has long been seen as strait-laced, and its bid to attract more tourists by developing two integrated casino resorts is not intended to alter that concept. The indication that Genting International could get involved with Stanley Ho in Macau was enough to threaten the company’s casino licence on Sentosa Island.
A less publicised push to improve Singapore’s economy comes from private banking. On this front the image may not be so squeaky clean. Singapore has recently tightened its banking secrecy laws. In the United States a bill to stop the use of tax havens has been introduced, and Singapore is listed as a probable location for US tax evasion. The EU is also concerned and is pushing for more information sharing on bank accounts or for a withholding tax to be paid.
Singapore ended a 40-year ban on casinos in 2005 as part of its plan to replace its traditional manufacturing base that was losing out to China and other developing countries. Since 2002 special incentives have been offered to foreign companies, particularly those in technology and pharmaceuticals. No tax on income outside Singapore, a top 20% tax rate and no capital gains tax all make the country attractive.
Sentosa Island, where the Genting casino resort will be built, already has an exclusive residential area at Sentosa Cove. Macau may be the Las Vegas of the East but it seems that Singapore is in the process of becoming its Monte Carlo. (E-04.24.07)
© Copyright 2007 CasinoCompendium
>>> return to archives
>>> return to frontpage