Singapore Casino Resorts See Hope, as COVID-19 Restrictions Finally Eased


Singapore is finally beginning to ease restrictions related to COVID-19, and that’s much-welcomed news to the sovereign island city-state’s two integrated casino resorts.

Singapore casino resort Marina Bay Sands
Singapore casino resort Marina Bay Sands
A couple walks past the Merlion statue in Singapore. The sovereign city-state is beginning to ease its COVID-19 restrictions, including capacity limits at the country’s two casino resorts. (Image: AP)

The Singapore Ministry of Health announced yesterday that indoor capacity limits have been increased from 25 percent to 50 percent, effective immediately. That applies to Marina Bay Sands and Resorts World Sentosa, the two casino destinations in the Southeast Asian nation.

Singapore confirmed 14 new cases of locally transmitted COVID-19 infection on Monday. The country says there are 137 hospitalized COVID-19 patients. 

“Of these, most are stable or improving, and two are in critical condition in the intensive care unit,” the Health Ministry revealed.

Marina Bay Sands and RW Sentosa were forced to reimplement capacity restrictions and numerous operating protocols earlier this year in response to an outbreak of COVID-19. A more contagious strain of the coronavirus has also been detected throughout the country.

Since the pandemic began, Singapore has reported more than 62,300 COVID-19 cases, but only 34 deaths. 

Better Days Ahead

Along with increased capacity, the two casino resorts announced new guidelines for its table games. As of yesterday, the limit of two gamblers per table game has been lifted. Now, up to four players may gamble at the same casino table game.

Other attractions, however, remain on hold. Resorts World’s Adventure Cove Waterpark, for example, is closed. But those attractions are expected to open when Singapore enters its second phase of easing COVID-19 restrictions. That’s scheduled to occur next Monday, June 21.

When the country enters the next phase, indoor meetings and conventions will be permitted to welcome up to 250 attendees, and restaurants will be allowed to seat five people at a table. 

Long Recovery

Though Singapore is easing capacity restrictions, the country remains relatively isolated from the rest of the world. Only tourists from Australia (Victoria State excluded), Brunei, mainland China (Guangdong Province excluded), New Zealand, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau can presently arrive in Singapore without quarantining for 21 days.

And unlike some countries, Singapore takes quarantining seriously. Law enforcement is to arrest people found to be in violation of quarantine procedures, and fines for such violations can run as high as S$10,000 (US$7,532). Repeat offenders can also face up to six months in prison.

Without foreigners visiting the casino resorts, gaming analysts believe Marina Bay Sands and Resorts World Sentosa are in for a long road to recovery. 

There remains uncertainty around travel restriction loosening in Singapore (and the feeder markets) and the economic impact from COVID-19 on feeder markets (in particular, Malaysia and Indonesia),” a recent note from Bernstein explained.

Bernstein doesn’t believe the two integrated resorts will see their gross gaming revenue (GGR) return to pre-pandemic levels until 2025 or later. In 2019, Marina Bay Sands reported GGR of $2.16 billion. Resorts World reported GGR of $1.22 billion that same year.

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