On time for the Lunar New Year, Singapore's first casino will start operating on Sunday, the management said Thursday.
- A guest ambassador (L) waits at the intersection leading to the hotels of Resorts World Sentosa complex in Singapore
- A handout photo released by Resorts World Sentosa casino shows the interior of the casino
The opening of the Resorts World Sentosa casino followed the launch in January of four premium hotels at the 4.4 billion US dollar complex built by Malaysian gaming giant Genting.
Advertisement"Singapore's first integrated resort, Resorts World Sentosa, will begin the first day of the Tiger year with the soft-opening of its casino," Resorts World Sentosa said in a statement.
"The casino, the resort's much anticipated attraction, will have its first play at an auspicious hour with a private ceremony and welcome its first public guest at 12:18 pm."
A spokesman for the resort said that 12:18 when pronounced sounds like "striking prosperity" in Cantonese, which would bring good luck.
Resorts World chief executive Tan Hee Teck said the operator is still "fine-tuning the rides and shows" at the resort's Universal Studios theme park -- the first in Southeast Asia -- which is on track to open by next month.
However, visitors will get a sneak preview of the Universal Studios complex from February 14-21.
"In less that three years since the time we broke ground and commenced construction for Resorts World Sentosa, we have taken our vision from drawing board to reality," said Genting Group chairman Lim Kok Thay.
"This is a significant milestone in Singapore's business history."
A marine life park, a maritime museum, a spa and two more hotels will be launched at Resorts World Sentosa after 2010.
Marina Bay Sands, another Singapore casino resort, is scheduled to open in April following construction delays. It is being built by US-based Las Vegas Sands.
Singapore gave the green light for casino gambling in 2005, setting off a flurry of construction that went ahead despite last year's recession.
The government hopes the casinos will boost the country's tourism appeal and draw more visitors to the city-state, which relies mainly on man-made attractions to entice tourists.
Singapore welcomed 9.7 million visitors last year, down 4.3 percent from 2008 as the global recession hit travel demand.