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Macau Bets on Las Vegas Touch
Macau is betting on Las Vegas’ glitz and mainland China’s rising wealth
to transform itself into the Monte Carlo of the Orient. As a couple of
Las Vegas casino bosses put the finishing touches to their Macau
business adventures, they foresee a new era for the tiny former
The first of many US investments opened in Macau on May 18 when Nevada
multibillionaire Sheldon Adelson unveiled his new casino, The Sands.
"This is the start of a new era in Macau," Sheldon told crowds of
anxious, anticipatory gamblers waiting in front of the new building.
"The vision starts today."
Set on the water’s edge and given an auspicious Chinese name that
translates into "Golden Sands", the new casino features 319 gaming
tables, 510 slot machines, six restaurants, a cavernous theater and a
Moreover, Sheldon Adelson plans a second project, a complete replica of
his celebrated Las Vegas Venetian Hotel Casino, where gamblers can take
a gondola along a fake Grand Canal on the way to the 2,500 slot
Even before Macau’s legislators have finished scrutinizing draft gaming
legislation on extending credit and collecting debt, Las Vegas casino
moguls are investing more than US$12 billion into a chain of new
casinos, hotels and Macau resorts that would create more than 10,000
"My vision for the future is to transform Macau into Asia’s Las Vegas,"
says Adelson. "This is a new beginning not only for Macau but also for
the whole Asia-Pacific region."
China is potentially the world’s greatest untapped gambling market and
the Macau government’s decision to open the once monopolized gaming
industry to competition may turn out to be an inspired measure.
Officially, China prohibits any form of gambling other than lotteries.
But according to press reports, plenty of illegal soccer betting takes
place all over the country around big events like the World Cup or the
European championships. Some reckon that China’s underground gambling
market is already worth at least $20 billion a year.
As the country enjoys more and longer public holidays, China’s urban
rich have been flocking in great numbers to Macau and even to Las Vegas
itself to indulge a national passion for games of chance. The growing
influx of mainland gamblers is already lifting economic growth forecasts
for tiny Macau, which is heavily dependent on tourism and its casinos.
entire article at:
Asia Times Online
2004 Online Casino News Archive