MACAU, June 7, 2011 (AFP) - Singapore is set to overtake Las Vegas as the world's second-largest gambling hub this year, a US gaming industry head said Tuesday, as Asia cements its place as a major betting market.
Singapore has emerged as Asia's hottest new gambling destination with a revamped cityscape and billions of dollars pouring into the economy, after the opening of two resort casinos in 2010.
The strong growth came after Macau -- the world's biggest gaming hub -- leapfrogged Las Vegas in gaming revenue and continues to post record-breaking growth, thanks to burgeoning numbers of wealthy Asians.
The two resort casinos in Singapore posted $5.1 billion in gaming revenues in 2010, a figure forecast to rise to $6.4 billion this year, according to Frank Fahrenkopf, president of the American Gaming Association.
A report citing research by the Royal Bank of Scotland has suggested Las Vegas will take $6.2 billion this year.
"Now more than a year old, the two integrated resorts in Singapore have exceeded all expectations and turned the nation into Asia's second global gaming superpower," said Fahrenkopf.
"The country's gaming market will likely overtake Las Vegas as the world's second-largest gaming centre as early as this year," he told a news conference at the sidelines of the Global Gaming Expo Asia which opened Tuesday in Macau.
The first Singapore casino opened in Malaysian-controlled Resorts World Sentosa on February 14, 2010, with US-based Las Vegas Sands following two months later as the world economy was still clawing itself out of recession.
The two casinos have largely been credited with turning around Singapore's tourism, helping the country welcome a record 11.6 million visitors last year.