To that end, the nation's 87-year-old founding father, Lee Kuan Yew, and his son, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, began championing the idea of casinos and an image makeover for uptight Singapore.
"Most of my friends are like.
At the same time, the government has enacted regulations that make it difficult for Singaporeans to gamble.Still, stodgy Singapore isn't willing to slap on kinesiskt spel med brickor the Mardi Gras beads just yet.Regulators also have blocked highly profitable VIP junkets that allow third-party operators to bring in high-rollers from overseas.But the fear of losing Asia's battle for tourism and the prospect of creating thousands of local jobs spurred Singapore to reconsider.The city-state then lifted a decades-old ban on gambling and opened two sparkling new casinos last year one operated by Las Vegas Sands Corp.Family members can blacklist relatives from playing if their loved ones show signs of problem gambling.And the other by Malaysian-owned Resorts World Sentosa at a combined cost of more than 10 billion.We don't want to pay the levy said Jason Lee, a 39-year-old Singaporean who has yet to visit the casinos.The practice, which is the backbone of Macao's success, is commonly associated with organized crime.The operators had to offer additional attractions and could not dedicate more than 5 of their total floor space to the casinos.Before the resorts ever broke ground, the plan sparked a fierce debate in an autocratic country not known for political opposition."They're trying to say, 'This is not the Singapore of old, it's a happening place with a bit of raciness.' ".The park, a stunning 57-story-high terrace, features an infinity pool the length of one-and-a-half football fields overlooking Singapore's financial district.Not everyone has been impressed.The traditionally uptight Asian city-state is poised to eclipse Las Vegas next year as the world's second largest gaming destination after lifting a decades-old ban on gambling and opening two new casinos last year.Casino operators are banned from promoting and advertising locally.To make gambling more palatable to its critics, Singapore adopted a euphemism for the casinos by calling them integrated resorts.Simmering anger over the issue was said to contribute to the party's bruising performance in the May elections when it scored its smallest majority in five decades.A glass pavilion nestled in the man-made freshwater bay below will be the site of two nightclubs, one opened by Steve Adelman of Hollywood's Avalon and the other by Michael Ault, a New York nightlife impresario.
Already, they have been ordered to take down websites naming winners of cars and cash and to halt free bus service from government-subsidized housing complexes.