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How can building of a third integrated resort be beneficial to Singapore?

With the opening of the two Integrated Resorts (IRs), ‘Marina Bay Sands’ and ‘Resorts World Sentosa’ in 2010, it has sparked many discussions and debates as to the pros and cons of this decision made in 2005 by the Government to lift the casino ban, approving bids by ‘Las Vegas Sands’ and ‘Genting Group’, becoming the third largest casino gambling hub and ranked third in earning gaming revenues in the world, positioned after Macau and Las Vegas, from opening till this date (Calvin, 2012). The success of the Integrated Resorts in overturning a stagnant economy has drawn the Singapore government in projection of developing a third IR (Sim, 2007), especially in considerations of the possibility of economical and novelty effects wearing off for the two IRs after several years (Singapore IR, N.D.). Though licensing of the third casino is only possible in 2016 (Hare, 2013), plans of implementation have been ongoing for years.

From the positive perspective, developing Integrated Resorts have indeed proved to be a right choice, as Singapore has became the world’s most profitable casino in 2013 (Danubrata & Daga, 2013), allowing Singapore to transform into a world-class destination, with significant tourism growth and expenditures leading to economic boost. Ministry of Trade and Industry stated that the IRs are contributing about an estimated 1.5% to 2% of Singapore’s Gross Domestic Product (TRS, 2012), generated by increased foreign investments, tourists spending by the huge influx of international visitors. Additionally, lowering unemployment rates as the presence of IRs have supported more than 40,000 of jobs throughout the economy (TRS, 2012), creating plenty of contracts for Singapore companies and generating spin-off businesses, as multiplier effects take place in other industries of Singapore. The brand image of Singapore is greatly enhanced as well, with distinctive and iconic developments, creating a unique architectural icon that adds vibrancy to the city, encompassing an all-inclusive range of amenities such as hotels, shops, museums, convention facilities, entertainment attractions, theme park (Singapore IR, N.D.), it broadens the type of tourists who visit Singapore, catering to both leisure and MICE business travelers. The IRs act as a catalyst to transform the economy of Singapore and increased competitive advantage, meeting the government’s aims to boost tourism figures which has been facing stiff competition from neighboring countries (Singapore IR, N.D.).

Although “the IRs’ economic performances have met all expectations in terms of tourism growth and job creation for Singaporeans” (TRS, 2012, p. 1), the social costs are not negligible. Building of Casinos means that gambling will become more accessible, encouraging gambling activities such as illegal money lending or money laundering, increasing the risk of impulsive gambling addictions and crime rates or family violence in Singapore, also causing strong objections from Muslim and Christian communities, leading to declining of moral conduct of the locals. Statistics from Credit Counseling Singapore has shown that the proportion of people attributing gambling as their main cause for being in debt has climbed drastically over the years (Admin, 2011), even though the Government has restrictions and preventive measures trying to minimize the negative impacts.
In this research paper, theory of Social-Exchange Theory will be analyzed to assess the social impacts caused by Integrated Resorts and the theory of Cost-Benefits analysis of tourism development will be used to examine the economy benefits and weighing both the social problems and economic merits, collecting secondary data on socio-economic impacts so as to evaluate the factors the Government has to consider before its’ implementation to build the third Integrated Resort.

3. Aims & Objectives

The overall aim of this research project is to analyze the impacts, specifically economic benefits and social costs of Integrated Resorts in Singapore, so as to critically evaluate the Governments’ factors of considerations on the advantages and disadvantages of granting another casino license for the development of a third Integrated Resort.

3.1 Theoretical Objectives

 To define and examine the theory of Social-Exchange, analyzing the concepts of the impacts on local lifestyle habits and attitudes towards tourism development to assess the social implications compared with economical gains of the Integrated Resorts.
 To study the theory of Cost-Benefit analysis of tourism development, researching and assessing the pros and cons of developing another Integrated Resort.
 To evaluate Butler’s Tourism Area of Life Cycle and analyze the Integrated Resorts using the model.

3.2 Data Objectives

 To analyze statistical data from annual reports of Singapore Tourism Board in order to interpret the growth of tourists arrivals and receipts due to the Integrated Resorts.
 To research on data regarding increase of social problems such as gambling addicts in order to evaluate the effectiveness of Governments’ regulatory measures of efforts trying to minimize social costs.
 To study and analyze statistics regarding Singapore’s GDP, unemployment rates before and after the building of Integrated Resorts.
 To look into Case studies of Integrated Resorts in Las Vegas and Macau, reviewing the cost in relation to benefits received with comparisons of the one in Singapore

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