Until 2010 gambling was illegal in Singapore. Since then Resorts World Sentosa and Marina Bay Sands have been the go-to places to splash the cash!
In Singapore, gambling is still seen as a controversial pastime, even though it was legalised in 2010 with the opening of 2 super casinos for the principal ambition to cater to tourists, and these to this day remain the only two casinos in the country. As part of the Singaporean Government’s drive to deter locals from entering casinos, there is a S$100 entry levy that every Singaporean must pay just to enter the casino. This is obviously on top of anything they may gamble away while in the casino itself. Tourists do not pay anything to enter the casinos, but you do require passport identification to gain access (don’t forget your passport!). If I recall correctly, citizens of a few certain nations cannot enter a Singapore casino under any circumstances, which include North Korea and Cuba, for some reason.
I have been lucky enough to enjoy the casino at Marina Bay Sands on many occasions (mainly just watching, rather than playing), and the entrance fee for foreigners is completely free. Drinks are also free and self-serve once you are in there. It is a very upper class kind of casino, as you would expect from Marina Bay Sands, which has an altogether higher class than what you would find at Resorts World Sentosa.
At Marina Bay Sands Casino, the entertainment is spread over 3 floors, although the top floor in this case is actually full of celebrity restaurants. The ground floor and first floor are where the main money is seen! Slot machines aplenty, and your typical table games all around you as well (though strangely no poker, as it is not allowed in Singapore), you have a lot to do here – as long as you have the Singapore Dollar to spare!
Located on the ground floor of The Forum promenade at Resorts World Sentosa is the casino in this particular integrated resorts complex. It is a much more family-oriented casino, if such a term is possible when describing a casino! Whereas the MBS casino is located around luxury shops selling diamond jewellery and expensive watches, the casino at RWS is located close by a theme park and a many fast food establishments. Although there is still a casual dress code here at RWS, it is a much more laid-back affair than over at MBS.
If I had a chance to visit one of Singapore’s two casinos, I think I would choose the one at MBS. It has more of a professional atmosphere, without being too stuffy. I also like the music that plays in this casino, which changes depending on the time of the day (quieter music in the daytime, with pop music overnight when the casino is busier). The casino at RWS is a great casino, but it caters more for day trippers and tourists. The dress code is more relaxed there, and they are not as strict on photography, whereas at MBS you could get thrown out if they see you with a camera. MBS is designed as a casino for serious gamblers, and as a casino hotel, the Marina Bay Sands hotel actually has special suites for high-rollers where they can stay “free of charge” as long as they spend their nights in the casino. I am told that typically hundreds of thousands of Singapore Dollars are spent per head per night in this instance. In addition, there are also private game rooms for those high-rollers/celebrities who crave something a little more intimate, away from the glare of the hoi polloi. RWS do not offer private game rooms, as far as I know.
Whichever casino you choose to spend your night, please gamble responsibly.