On Tuesday the Las Vegas Sands Corp., an international gaming giant, launched a 3,000-suite casino & hotel resort in Macao.
The US$2.4-billion Venetian Resort also features a 120,000-square meter exhibition and convention center, a 15,000-seat entertainment compound, retail space for 350 stores, and a 1,800-seat theater to present a Cirque du Soleil production.
The Venetian claims to be the world's largest gaming space, taking up 550,000 square feet and housing 3,400 slot machines. The casino hosts more than 800 gambling tables.
It also claims to be the largest building in Asia and the second largest in the world. Currently the Boeing Company plant in Washington State, USA is the largest building globally.
The Venetian's decor reflects Venetian and Chinese inspirations. Canals host both Chinese-styled sampans and Italian gondolas. The resort also features a replica of St. Mark's Square in Venice.
"The new resort will hopefully boost the retail, restaurant and entertainment businesses in Macao," American billionaire Sheldon Adelson, chairman of Las Vegas Sands, stated at the opening ceremony of the project.
He's also planning to open more hotels under other brands: Four Seasons, Sheraton and St. Regis. His Las Vegas Sands Corporation plans to invest about US$12 billion and build 20,000 hotel rooms on the Cotai Strip by 2010 in Macao. Las Vegas Sands launched its first gaming hut - Sands Macao, in Macao in 2004. Labeled the world's number one casino, this casino has the highest yearly gross receipts globally.
Observers believe that new casinos like the Wynn and Adelson's Sands may make Macao more attractive than the Las Vegas Strip and even shift the world's gambling center.
Macao, with a population of 520,000, has a 150-year history of the gaming industry. The region is the only part of China where casino gaming is legitimate. Taxes paid directly by the casinos dominate over 70 percent of the Macao Special Administrative Region government's yearly revenue.
(Xinhua News Agency, China.org.cn August 29, 2007)