World’s biggest casino opens today

The Venetian Macao, a $2.4 billion project by US-operator Las Vegas Sands Corporation, will open today in Macau and become the world’s biggest casino.

The expansiveness of the resort (which also includes 3,000 hotel suites, 350 shops, a 1,800-seat conference centre and a 15,000-seat entertainment centre) make it the second biggest building in the world. The casino itself will house 1,150 gaming tables and 7,000 slot machines.

The resort is the first throw of a dice in an attempt to create a Las Vegas-style “neon alley” on the “Cotai Strip” and transform the gambling-mad island which is dominated by day-trippers into an all-round entertainment location. Of the 20 million people that visit Macau each year, a relatively small percentage actually book a hotel-room, staying an average of less than two days.

More and more entertainment events are planned for the island, including a tennis match between Pete Sampras and Roger Federer in November and an NBA match October and Las Vegas Sands Chairman Sheldon Adelson, the world’s 14th richest man, believes The Venetian can help start the process of reversing that statistic and expects his investment to be recouped within three to five years.

"I know what I'm doing. We've already done this in Vegas. There is no question about this," he said in an interview on Monday.

"All we're doing is taking the fully matured, completely evolved capital of entertainment called Las Vegas, and picking it up and dropping it here."

However, one of Adelson’s biggest rivals, Steve Wynn of Wynn Resorts Ltd., is slowing down his expansion of the Wynn Macau Resort because of new visa restrictions put in place by the Chinese government.

According to William Weidner, president and chief operating officer of Sands, that is a “big mistake” and Sands will continue to “build more and more and more”.

Editor, - 2007-08-28 11:24:19

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