Friday, October 8, 2010

Asian casinos: What's in a name?

Across Asia, from Japan to Vietnam via Taiwan and Singapore, governments are experimenting with the legalisation of casinos in order to tap into the massive pent-up demand for gambling in the region.

But with many of Asia's governments professing some form of socially conservative credentials, the legalisation and promotion of casino gambling is, to put it mildly, a thorny issue.

Hence, in Singapore, those huge complexes that you see in Marina Bay and on Sentosa island, and which are generating hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue, are not casinos but, to use the official terminology, "integrated resorts".

Likewise I learn courtesy of a job advertisement in the Viet Nam News that the massive Ho Tram strip development on the southern coast, which is backed by MGM Grand, will not include regular casinos but merely "a prized entertainment and amusement area reserved for foreigners".

A free casino licence in the Asian nation of your choice is on offer to the reader who can come up with the best new euphemism.

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