Las Vegas university may set-up in Macau
The University of Nevada, Las Vegas is weighing up relocating to Macau when the lease expires on its Singapore facilities at the end of 2015.
The Singapore government said it handed out S$32.5 million (205.2 million patacas) in loans and grants to the university, also known as UNLV.
Richard Linstrom, associate dean at UNLV’s Singapore campus, said the subsidies would be repaid by 2015 and it was “highly likely” the school would close and move to another Asian city.
Macau could be an ideal location, Mr Linstrom had told Bloomberg News.
“There will be some dramatic changes, with the university downsizing or closing here,” Mr Linstrom told Business Daily yesterday.
The board will make a decision in October, after UNLV carries out a “strategic review of its international positioning”.
“Gaming is our differentiator, our studies of gaming, training of gaming personnel, problem gaming studies,” Mr Linstrom said.
UNLV “might make us a good partner” for tertiary education schools here, he said.
“Las Vegas and Macau have a lot of economic similarities. The proximity to [mainland] China would be very interesting for us and the transportation links in and out of Hong Kong would be a plus.”
Mr Linstrom says there was “a lot of academic exchange going back and around between Singapore and Macau” but more could be done.
UNLV is “highly unlikely,” however, to enter the Macau education market alone, he said.
The lack of facilities and land available to develop “is a major reason, the escalating costs on staff housing as well”.
The Las Vegas school would rather start a Macau partnership “with the institutions we have relationships with,” Mr Linstrom said.
UNLV has signed cooperation agreements with the Institute for Tourism Studies and the Macao Polytechnic Institute, including joint programmes.
A move to the city could also help the institution expand its offerings beyond the hospitality sector and into engineering, architecture and fine arts.
This has not been possible in Singapore due to “regulatory restrictions,” Mr Linstrom said.
Macau is not the only location UNLV is looking at.
“We have looked around Hong Kong. And with gaming spreading in Asia, you could make an argument for Manila,” Mr Linstrom said.
“Seoul could be another option, especially if they get around to opening casinos to locals.”
UNLV has not yet made any contact with the Macau government, Mr Linstrom said.
The Tertiary Education Services Office confirmed to Business Daily it “has not received any application for the establishment of UNLV in Macau at the present moment”.
The bureau said it would “analyse and study” any application from an organisation planning to establish a higher education institute “in several perspectives”.
Those criteria will include “social needs, overall development of higher education, applicant’s resources, teaching staff allocation, teaching and research capability and quality, financial arrangement and teaching facilities,” the bureau added.