(SINGAPORE) Too much direction and control by officials managing the bidding process for Singapore's integrated resorts (IRs) is counter-productive and could compromise the quality of the final product, says Las Vegas casino mogul Steve Wynn.
Mr Wynn, creator of some of the best-known IRs in Las Vegas, has praise for Singapore's fundamental strengths of good governance, safety, a world-class airport and laissez-faire economic policies - as well as the choice of the Marina Bayfront site for an IR.
But he is critical of what he sees as micro-management by 'bureaucrats' on several issues leading up to the submission of bids, particularly design-related issues. 'There's an awful lot of control and direction in the documents we've received which, frankly speaking, is unsophisticated,' he told BT in an exclusive interview in Las Vegas.
'It's control and direction given by people who've never done this before. I don't think it's appropriate to tell someone: Give us an attraction that's irresistible, that will reach into India and China - but we'll tell you how to design it.'
According to Mr Wynn, for instance, the requirement to submit line drawings by Sept 30 won't serve a useful purpose. 'By definition, anything done by Sept 30 will be a partially finished product,' he said. 'Everybody will make big promises and have fancy drawings. But you can't tell from a drawing or a rendering what space moves the human spirit. You have to be in it to understand.'
Mr Wynn's resorts in Las Vegas include The Mirage, Treasure Island, The Bellagio and, most recently, the US$2.7 billion Wynn Las Vegas - billed as the world's most expensive and up-scale resort. He also has a gaming licence in Macau, where he is constructing a resort due for completion next year. His company, Wynn Resorts is among the 12 remaining bidders for one of the proposed IRs in Singapore.
Mr Wynn told BT that Singapore government officials also want to know 'exactly what the show (in the resort) will be'. But it took more than three years to create shows such as the sellout O show, currently running at The Bellagio, and Le Reve, showing at Wynn Las Vegas, he said. The creation of such shows involves intricate choreography, music and lighting effects and is often an organic process over a period of time and perfected after audience feedback 'If I'd ever tried to describe the O show on a piece of paper to someone, they'd have laughed at me,' he said.
Rather than trying to specify detailed design requirements in documents, Mr Wynn suggested that Singapore officials visit Las Vegas and see the work done in the resorts there. 'Infer from what you see what you like,' he said. 'Don't issue thunderbolts of wisdom from the top of Mount Olympus. You're talking about the people of the world and what makes them go. That's the ballpark we play in. Running the government is the ballpark they play in. Those are two different games. Both sides have to be open and flexible. 'Telling us to go get a world-class architect with no specific name is not the way to go about it. On the other hand, telling us 'show us your work' and then asking us how to create something in Singapore as best we know and in a way that's not repugnant or antithetical to the sensibilities of the city is a perfectly valid instruction.
'And if someone does something that's offensive, you reject it, plain and simple. But you don't tell an expert how to do an expert's job. You ask.'
Mr Wynn said he accepts the rules governing the bidding for IRs. But according to him: 'The question is, do the rules interfere with the creative process? The question is, can we keep the promise to Singapore? There's a very definite agenda on the table here: We want to change Singapore's tourism profile from 5 per cent of GDP to closer to 15. Ultimately, this is not between me and the government, it's between me and the public'.
May 16, 2005
Donch tell grandma how to suck eggs (or run an IR)
First, they irked the Singaporean public with their decision to set up the IRs, now they've even managed to rub the ang-mohs who are going to run the show the wrong way. The view from the ten-thousand foot pedestal is myoptic to say the least.