US theme park giant in Singapore casino bid - Tuesday 12th of April 2005

US theme park giant Universal and Malaysia's Genting Group said Friday they have submitted a proposal to build an integrated casino resort on Singapore's Sentosa resort.

The bid by Universal Parks and Resorts, which is majority owned by corporate giant General Electric, and the Malaysian gaming firm brings to 18 the number of known proposals for the controversial project.

The companies said in a joint statement they had submitted their concept to the government before February 28, the deadline for proposal submissions, however they did not reveal to the press details of their plans.

According to the Straits Times, Genting is prepared to spend between three and four billion Singapore dollars (US$1.9-2.5 billion) on the resort, which would include a theme park and a casino.

A company spokeswoman, when contacted by AFP, declined to confirm the report. Other known players in the race to build Singapore's first casino include Australia's Tabcorp and Las Vegas heavyweights Wynn Resorts and MGM-Mirage.

Genting Group, Malaysia's sole gaming company with a market capitalization of nine billion US dollars, announced last month one of its subsidiaries, Genting International and Star Cruises, had submitted a separate proposal.

The Singapore government is expected to announce on April 18 whether it will go ahead with a casino. The casino plan has sparked rare public dissent in this tightly controlled city-state.

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