Kerzner shortlisted for Singapore casino - Tuesday 12th of April 2005

Two weeks after it lost two casino bids in the U.K., Kerzner International Ltd. announced Friday that it has been short listed by the Singapore Government to submit a joint proposal for a casino resort in the Southeast Asian country.

Kerzner was reportedly told last week that its joint concept plan with Singaporean developer CapitaLand Ltd. was one of several picked from a total of 19 proposals.

"But that was only the first round or the request for concept stage. What the government has said now is that in the next round of the process the RP or request for proposal stage, they will be accepting the ones picked in the third quarter," said Kerzner spokesman Omar Palacios in an interview with The Guardian.

"We are going to be in the next round so we will submit a proposal in the third quarter along with everyone else that's being asked and we would expect the government to award licenses by the end of this year," he continued.

CapitaLand's investors expressed interest in Kerzner's Singapore casino proposal last year and travelled to The Bahamas in December to meet with Prime Minister Perry Christie and Kerzner representatives.

They were reportedly impressed with Atlantis, which they described as an integrated/entertainment resort with much attention to detail.

CapitaLand is 47 per cent owned by the Singapore Government and is Southeast Asia's largest property developer by assets.

The company also linked with the U.S. casino operators, MGM Mirage for the construction of a similar resort to be located a few miles from the Kerzner-proposed resort. The Kerzner proposal includes a resort project on Sentosa Island and MGM is proposing a resort project on Marina Bay.

Singapore legalised casino gambling

After debating and examining all sides of the gambling issue, the Singapore Government legalised casino gambling last Monday.

However, there were clear signs that the government was going to legalise casino gambling long before the law passed. In December, the government solicited proposals from property developers interested in developing an integrated casino resort either on Sentosa Island or Marina Bay. It asked interested companies to submit concept proposals by the end of February. The government is now hoping to have the casinos operating in 2009.

CapitaLand said in a release that in each proposed project it would have a 40 per cent stake, while its casino operator partner would have 60 per cent. "CapitaLand has selected financially strong partners with proven track records in developing successful large-scale integrated resorts. They have also demonstrated social responsibility and care in managing their casino operations,'" the release said.

CapitaLand's property and hospitality portfolio spans 88 cities in 29 countries. It also reportedly leverages on its significant real estate asset base and market knowledge to develop fee-based products and services in Singapore and the region.


News welcomed after U.K. blow

Kerzner's short listing in Singapore, though a preliminary step, was still encouraging news for the company as it lost two casino bids in the U.K. Two week ago, the British Government sided with conservatives and announced that it would scrap eight of nine Las Vegas-style super casinos proposed by investors. Kerzner International had proposed two of the eight casinos to be ditched.

It is believed that the British Government's decision, which came a month before the upcoming national elections on May 5, was due in part to concerns expressed by many that super casinos in major metropolitan areas would result in an increase in the already high number of gambling addicts in that country

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