Sunday, March 19, 2006

Macau Gambling: Shady Past, Rosy Future
Frederik Balfour
Business Week

Long dubbed the Las Vegas of Asia, Macau is expected to become the world's biggest gambling city in terms of gaming revenues this year. Its proximity to rapidly expanding Chinese cities and regional powerhouse Hong Kong means that Macau’s future growth prospects are tremendous. The large gaming companies are hoping to cash in and are fast entering the Macau market.

Gambling in Macau is very different from gambling in Las Vegas. For starters, the average daily take per gaming table in Macau is almost triple of that in Las Vegas. Also, unlike Las Vegas which relies on small gamers for its revenues, the gambling scene in Macau is typically dominated by "high rollers." Single hand bets of $35,000 are not that uncommon.

Sheldon Adelson's Las Vegas Sands has already invested $265 million in Macau, and plans to invest as much as $2.75 billion more. MGM-Mirage is planning on spending over $1 billion on constructing an atrium that would be three times as large as its Bellagio resort in Las Vegas. Las Vegas based Wynn Resorts’ $1.2 billion new property begins operations in early September. Meanwhile renowned hotel chains such as the Shangri-La Resorts, the Four Seasons and Starwood Hotels are planning constructions of enormous hotels.

Little wonder then that the author suggests that Las Vegas may soon be called the "Macau of North America."

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