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Macao Awaits New Casino Business Boom
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Macao is expecting a new casino business boom as Las Vegas Sands Corp. announced Thursday to open a new mega-casino complex in the city's Cotai Island on Aug. 28.

The international gaming giant said in a statement that the Venetian Macao project will be the second largest casino building in the world and the largest in Asia.

"This is truly a defining moment for Las Vegas Sands Corp. as our work to open Macao's first multi-use integrated resort comes to fruition and our vision of creating Asia's Las Vegas comes one step closer to reality," the statement quoted Sheldon G. Adelson, chairman and chief executive officer of the company, as saying.

The new gaming complex will feature 3,000 all-suite rooms, 1.2 million square feet of meeting, convention and exhibition space, an 1,800-seat theater, a 15,000-seat arena and a 350-stall shopping space, according to the statement.

The statement said the launch of the mega-complex will mark the opening of the first gaming project on the Cotai Strip, adding that upon completion, the strip will feature 20,000 hotel rooms, over 3 million square feet of retail space, and over 2.5 million square feet of meeting and convention facilities.

The entire Cotai Strip development is reportedly budgeted to cost US$11 billion.

Las Vegas Sands Corp. will build and own each of the properties on the strip that will, however, be operated by other companies including Four Seasons, Sheraton, St. Regis, Shangri-La, Traders, Hilton, Conrad, Fairmont, Raffles, Swiss Hotel, Inter-continental, Holiday Inn and Cosmopolitan, according to the statement.

The strip will also be home to six Las Vegas-style showrooms and a large arena for a sports and entertainment events, offering a total of 20,000 seats for live entertainment, it said.

Las Vegas Sands Corp., the world largest gambling company by market value, was the first U.S. casino owner to enter Macao with the Sands Macao project in 2004, ending the 40-year gaming monopoly of the local casino magnate Stanley Ho Hung Sun.

The company is also investing US$2 billion in hotels and condominiums in the neighboring mainland city of Zhuhai.

Shares of Las Vegas Sands Corp. recently rose two cents to US$78.40 in New York Stock Exchange composite trading.

(Xinhua News Agency June 15, 2007)

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