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2004-12-02 16:41:47

Bahamas' Atlantis Integrates Casino With Family Entertainment Resort

Families who come to Atlantis clearly do not have a problem with a casino at a family resort.

As Singapore examines whether it should build a casino - one possible model has emerged: that of integrating a casino with a family entertainment resort.

The Atlantis is a sprawling 100,000-square foot escape on Paradise Island and it seems to captivate, whether a visitor is six or sixty.

Resort owners say half of its patrons are families but some Singaporeans say such a model is not entirely family friendly.

Irene Ng, MP, Tampines GRC, said: "Already I see disturbing trends about fathers not spending enough time with the families, so let's have more fun activities where the whole family can spend time together, not having fathers or parents being dragged away to gambling and children left to play by themselves."

Zainuddin Nordin, MP, Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC, said: "Some of this models have been done in the US. It has shown some success. Maybe it's more a question of how to occupy the family activities at the same time allowing parents to explore other activities like going to the casino. There's a risk, but personally I do not see such activities to be too jarring."

Families who come to Atlantis clearly do not have a problem with a casino at a family resort.

Young Suh, Visitor, said: "The hotel is definitely not about the casino. It's all inclusive, I think they've made the resort for the adults and for the kids, as long as the kids can't go in there it's fine."

Andrew Berler, Visitor, said: "I think they do a good job monitoring it by not letting any children or under-aged kids loiter or take part in the action."

Richard L Waters, Senior Vice President, Casino Operations & Marketing, said: "All our casino staff are trained on dealing with persons under the age of 18, we identify, we ask for ID. If they cannot provide an ID or provide ID that is not valid, then we ask them to leave the premise, if necessary, we get security involved."

The largest casino in the Bahamas, it has over 850 slot machines and 78 gaming tables, contributing to 25 per cent of the company's revenue.

Ten per cent of customers visit the resort solely for gaming.

Howard Karawan, Executive Vice President & Chief Marketing Officer, Kerzner International, said: "You can spend your entire vacation going to the pool, going to the lobby, going to the restaurants and never having to walk through the casino, it's a very untraditional approach to say how Las Vegas operate where the casino is in the centre of everything."

The family entertainment experience at the Atlantis is probably as rich as the legend of the Lost City, and the majority of its advertising dollars have been used to promote just that.

Some US$35 million are spent yearly to market the resort and its convention facilities.

Operators who are looking to set up in Singapore say they have to invest over US$$1 billion to compete with other world class attractions like Disney.

And it is clear the stakes are high not only for Singapore but the operators as well.

Butch Kerzner, CEO, Kerzner International, said: "If you want to compete with the Disneys of the world, you are going to go in and be a bit bold. You can't be talking about hundreds or millions of dollars. I believe you are talking about anything in excess of US$1 billion, if you want to go in and do something that will sell."

Innovative tie-ins with movies are also expected to boost business and branding.

Gambling Magazine

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