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12 February 2010

Singapore's first casino to open on Chinese New Year

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Singapore’s Resorts World Sentosa casino is scheduled to open on Sunday, February 14, in time for the Lunar New Year, reported Channel News Asia.

Its Universal Studios theme park will also welcome its first visitors on that day, though rides and shows will only be operational in early March.

The casino will admit its first public guests at the auspicious hour of 12.18pm, with a private ceremony. A spokesman for the resort said that 12:18 when pronounced sounds like "striking prosperity" in Cantonese, which would bring good luck.

A day of festivities at the integrated resort has been planned to mark the red-letter day, including the debut of its public attraction "Lake of Dreams", and evening previews at its Universal Studios theme park.

Tan Hee Teck, CEO of Resorts World Sentosa, said the resort is still fine-tuning the rides and shows in the theme park, which are still on schedule to open in the first quarter of 2010.

But a week-long preview of the theme park will be conducted to give Singaporeans a special and unique first-to-see walk-through opportunity. The theme park's restaurants and shopping venues will be open for guests, although rides and shows will not be operational.

For sneak peek week, Universal Studios Singapore will open from 5pm to 9pm every night from February 14 to February 21. Admission will be by S$10 tickets, rebated by a same-value dining voucher. Sale of the tickets starts from 11:18am on Friday.

Guests can visit the box office at the Universal Studios Singapore front gate to purchase tickets for another day, as there will be no same-day ticket sales available.

"The rationale behind buying advance tickets for the theme park is to ensure crowd control and to prevent over-crowding of the park. And similarly when the park is fully operational, we will have such measures to stagger the crowd coming into the theme park as and when," said Robin Goh, Resorts World Sentosa's assistant director for communications.

After the sneak peek week, Universal Studios Singapore will open on February 22 to employees of Resorts World Sentosa, Genting and Universal Studios Singapore. This is followed by specially-invited families, charities and guests. It expects to welcome its first public guests in early March.

While some Singaporeans may flinch from having to pay a $100 levy to enter the casino, large crowds are expected on Sunday and the resort has built an additional payment booth to cope.

If you haven't paid the levy online, you can still pay it at the door. All you need to do is to bring along your identity card or passport. Once you pay at the counter, the information will be stored into the barcode. Once that's done, make your way to the lane for Singaporeans and permanent residents (PRs), and you are all set!

Sentosa normally sees about 60,000 visitors each day during the Lunar New Year holidays - double the usual number. To cope with the crowd, it has beefed up public transport options and opened a new monorail station - Waterfront Station - which stops at the integrated resort. There is also a new pedestrian walkway.

David Goh, Sentosa Leisure Group's director of operations and retail, said: "Chinese New Year.....there is going to be a large number of crowds. They can't expect that traffic will be as smooth as on normal weekdays."


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