Singapore IRs Headcount War

Posted: June 26, 2010 in Uncategorized

26 June 2010  Sat

150,000 DAILY VISITORS SYNDROME              


The local media and industry watchers of Singapore have been pondering over Sands boss Mr. Adelson’s bold statement of “MBS attracting 150,000 daily visitors” this few days.

There are diversified views.  Some are confident of the numbers plugged from the air, while some are just plainly not impressed at all.  So, in the nutshell what really matters most?  In the following months when the two IRs try to boast about headcount.    

Listed below is the “Relevancy Checklist” that serves to help media people and analysts/observers on this “150,000 pax question”.


1.  If Orchard Road shopping district could gather in 250,000 daily goers, why not Marina Bay Sands?  (Answer:  Just solely based on headcount, “it is possible” for MBS).

2.  Can we translate headcount into genuine customers?  (Answer:  It will be the same syndrome as Orchard Road district.  It depends on Price-points and likely that many are just window-shoppers and weekend house maids and labourers, treating the place as an air-con indoor family park.)

3.  Is Singapore Minister Mentor Lee’s comment about “… it will take 3 to 7 years for the IR to reach its full capacity.” relevent in this instance?   (Answer:  Yes, of course.  Adelson didn’t quite catch the wise-man’s deeper thoughts on customer insights!  Achieving headcount numbers can be meaningless and irrelevant to a greater goal). 

4.  What is most relevant to the two IRs?   (Answer:  Simple.  From the tourism perspective they must prove to be of great fun and continue to shine and become a “must-see’ destination to international tourists, even after some  of the Asian countries start to launch their mega resorts.  From the perspective of return on investment, the IRs have to attain optimal EBITDA and margins that ensure sustainable cash flow, amid the situation of cannibalization between the two casinos). 

5.  Where the heavy stake is placed?  (Answer:  Of course the casino!  For the next 5 years, casino revenue and margins will decide on sustainability of the IRs and more so when the rest of Asian countries chip in on mega resorts, especially for Sands in view of their overall high debt-driven balance sheet).


At this stage, casino Win/table/unit makes much more sense than just marketing slogans

Relevancy = Size of Market

Analysts need to work on the gaming budget per head


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