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Singapore to Receive Wynn Bid

16 Feb 2005

By Howard Stutz

Plans by the government of Singapore to add casino gaming continues to lure the industry's major participants, so Tuesday's announcement that Las Vegas-based Wynn Resorts Ltd. would submit a proposal didn't shock anyone.

The company, now preparing to open the $2.5 billion Wynn Las Vegas April 28, wants to build a gambling house at the Marina Bayfront near Singapore's central business district.

The Singapore Tourism Board requested proposals by the end of February for potential casino locations at Marina Bayfront and Setntosa Island.

Deutsche Bank gaming analyst Marc Falcone said gaming in Singapore could be lucrative.

He said the government could issue just two gaming licenses. The large Asian population with a huge disposition toward gambling could boost annual revenue from a Singapore casino to a range between $1 billion and $1.5 billion.

The entrance of Wynn Resorts and company Chairman Steve Wynn into the mix changes the dynamics.

"Unlike other operators' plans to link up with local partners, Wynn Resorts intends to submit a proposal on its own," Falcone said in a note to investors. "In our view, Wynn Resorts is one of the leading casino resort developers and the company does not need to rely on a local company to support its design plans for a Singapore casino."

Falcone added that Wynn, based on the company's track record in gaining one of two casino licenses in Macau, "is a leading contender for a Singapore project."

Wynn Resorts President Ronald Kramer was quoted in The Straits Times on Monday, saying the company would file the response. He didn't give the paper an exact figure, but said Wynn Resorts' investment in Singapore would range between the size of the company's investments in Las Vegas ($2.5 billion for Wynn Las Vegas) and Macau ($705 million for Wynn Macau).

The Straits Times, citing a source close to the company, said the casino would probably cost $1 billion. Singapore's government so far hasn't given final approval for a casino.

"Wynn Resorts is delighted to be participating in the process for this exciting project,' Kramer said in a statement. "Steve Wynn's creativity and proven track record of developing destination resorts is the way for Singapore to define itself as a vibrant tourist destination for the future."

Wynn's announcement drove up the price of the company's stock Tuesday to close at $74.45, up $3.06 or 4.28 percent.

Since Singapore began seeking proposals, executives for Las Vegas Sands Corp. and MGM Mirage have said their companies will submit proposals, and Harrah's said it is exploring a joint venture with a government-controlled property developer in Singapore.

Other gaming companies that are potential Singapore bidders include Kerzner International, a Caribbean gaming power, and Barrick Gaming Corp.

Falcone said Kerzner and MGM Mirage would team up with Singapore's CapitaLand to submit proposals and that other companies could get into the action prior to the Feb. 28 deadline.

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