News @ AsiaOne

JB's nightlife takes a hit

The opening of the two casinos in Singapore is hurting Johor Baru's nightlife. -The Star/ANN

Wed, May 19, 2010
The Star/Asia News Network

By Nelson Benjamin

JOHOR BARU: The opening of the two casinos in Singapore is hurting Johor Baru's nightlife, with many entertainment outlets and massage parlours experiencing a drastic drop in business.

Johor entertainment outlet operators association president Tan Yam Meng said that many people, especially those operating pubs and discotheques, were complaining about the drop in business.

There was a lot of hype about the two casinos and how Johor would benefit from the spillover.

However, it has not been good for the state's nightlife as locals now prefer to head to the casinos after work to gamble and enjoy round-the-clock entertainment, he said.

He hoped the state government would revise the 1am closing time to 3am.

Tan pointed out that Malaysians make up 70% of the clients frequenting nightspots while the rest were Singaporeans and tourists.

"Now with so many Malaysians going across, it is hurting our business. Why would someone want to enjoy in Johor Baru until 1am when he can do the same for 24 hours at the casinos?" he said.

He added that if the trend continued, many local entertainment operators would have to close shop.

Tan said there were about 100 entertainment operators within the Johor Baru district.

The cost of opening an entertainment outlet was high with anything between RM100,000 and RM1mil, he told The Star here yesterday.

Businessman Rodney Soon, who operates a massage parlour in Jalan Maju, said he had experienced a 40% drop in business.

"While the hotel industry seems to be enjoying better business with people opting to stay in our hotels, many people are now heading to the casinos instead of frequenting our outlets.

"The market is getting bad and we hope the situation will stabilise within the next six months," he said, adding that offering discounts or other promotions would not be able to lure the people back.

Soon said that extending business hours was a step in the right direction as businesses were surviving on their local customers.

The Marina Bay Sands casino started operations last month while the Resorts World Sentosa opened its doors in February.

-The Star/Asia News Network

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