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Singapore Casino Bidders in Final Countdown

4 January 2006

SINGAPORE -- As reported by Reuters: "A shrinking pool of potential bidders in the race to build Singapore's first casino raises questions about the lasting business allure of a massive resort costing about US$3 billion.

"But analysts and government officials say the narrowing of the field to only four teams ahead of the March 31 bidding deadline is a normal self-winnowing process in a high-stakes game. They say at least one more consortium may yet drop out.

"...Still standing are three of the biggest names in the gaming industry -- Las Vegas Sands Corp., MGM Mirage, and Harrah's Entertainment Inc. -- each allied with a Singaporean property firm. A fourth consortium consists of Genting International and its affiliate Star Cruises Ltd.

"The challenge for them will be to turn a profit on a huge up-front investment, which includes a land cost of S$1.2 billion ($721 million) for the Marina Bay waterfront project.

"...The three groups led by U.S. casino operators MGM Mirage, Harrah's and Las Vegas Sands are seen as front-runners for the 20.6-hectare (50.9 acres) downtown site..."

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