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Opening of Sands Macau Will Test Casino Waters for City
New casinos are cropping up, the economy is booming in double-digits
and this Chinese city is about to find out whether it made a smart bet
by opening the doors to Las Vegas-style casinos ready to give longtime
gambling tycoon Stanley Ho a run for his money.
Ho held a monopoly on gambling for more than four decades in this
former Portuguese colony, but the competition starts rolling within days
as The Sands Macau opens its door, led by the man who made a splash in
Las Vegas with his casino-hotel replica of Venice.
Sheldon Adelson’s Venetian group hopes to open the Sands on Monday —
though one casino executive acknowledged privately that the company is
consulting with feng shui experts to pick a lucky day and that May 18
may be the right time to open. Anyway, construction isn’t quite finished
yet on the Sands property, slated to have 250 gambling tables and 600
But it will soon be followed by the Waldo Hotel, a smaller property
with 38 tables and 100 slot machines that launches next month and will
be operated by Hong Kong-based Lui Che-woo, who shares a casino license
Ho holds one of Macau’s three licenses that were awarded in 2002,
with the other held by Las Vegas gambling mogul Steve Wynn, who is
hoping for reforms to the enclave’s gambling laws before he commits
Critics say that decades as a monopolist gave Ho little incentive for
innovation in a chain of casinos dominated by the flagship Lisboa, but
he’s scrambling now to become more competitive and predicts he’ll beat
out his new rivals.
Las Vegas may be known as the global gambling capital, but Ho
spokeswoman Janet Wong says that in tiny Macau her boss is still the
"We are the only one that has its roots in Macau," Wong said. "We
have more than 40 years of experience and a good network of hotels,
retail and property businesses.
Some locals agree.
"Everyone knows about Mr. Ho and his Lisboa but nothing about those
from Las Vegas," said Macau resident Ng Pui-peng, 42.
Ho, who is 82, recently spiffed up the Lisboa with bright neon lights
reminiscent of the old Las Vegas Strip, and he’s planning a 40-story
expansion nearby, along with an amusement park and a culture village.
entire article at:
Las Vegas Sun
2004 Online Casino News Archive