SINGAPORE (Apr 8): Nine years ago this month, Sheldon Adelson, the ageing chairman and CEO of Las Vegas Sands, cut a yellow ribbon at precisely 3.18pm to symbolise the opening of the Marina Bay Sands (MBS) integrated resort (IR). The iconic three towers and boatlike cantilevered deck would soon come to define Singapore’s skyline.

Three months earlier, in time for the Lunar New Year, Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) had opened for business. Genting Singapore’s sprawling complex, with six slick hotels and a Universal Studios theme park, quickly overshadowed the casino and leisure park that its Malaysian parent had built in the highlands in Pahang in 1965.

Together, the two developments represented $15 billion worth of investment, as well as a paradigm shift in the national mindset of what was good for Singapore.

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