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Manufacturers, Exporters, Wholesalers - Global trade starts here.
New Foreign Bet Heats up Macao's Casino Competition

Macao's cut-throat casino market competition heated up when the United States tycoon Steve Wynn opened his mega-resort Wynn Macao here on Wednesday.


Thousands of gamblers on the first day swarmed into the American billionaire's 1.2-billion-U.S. dollar casino resort, featuring 200 gaming tables, 380 slot machines and a 600-room luxury hotel.


Prior to the opening day, Wynn pledged on Tuesday to "revolutionize" the mushrooming Asian gambling haven.


"We will bring a new day and a new beginning to Macao," the Las Vegas-based billionaire told the media at a pre-opening press conference at the glitzy new complex.


"We were selected by the government of Macao to bring change. And now change has come," he said.


Wynn Macao is the first integrated casino and hotel resort to open in Macao and the second U.S. gaming venue to open since the government lifted the city's 40-year casino monopoly in 2002.


The first U.S. gaming venue Sands Macao, a subsidiary of Wynn's rival Las Vegas Sands, run by gaming magnate Sheldon Adelson, opened the floodgates to a wave of some 20 billion U.S. dollars of overseas investment in 2004.


Adelson and the local casino czar Stanley Ho have been fighting a very public spat since the elderly Macao tycoon openly charged that his U.S. competitor using cut-price strategies to bankrupt some of his established casinos.


Adelson retorted that Ho should "get out of the kitchen if he can't stand the heat."


Wynn refused to join the fray, noting, "I am delighted to be a spectator to that shooting match (between Ho and Adelson). I have great admiration for Mr Ho and his casinos. We have a lot to learn from him."


Wynn shrugged off worries that the pace of development in Macao was too fast for a city of only 500,000, saying there is ample space for growth.


Expectations for Wynn Macao are high as local analysts predict that it will take a 10-percent bite of Macao's casino market.


Meanwhile, Stanley Ho, the local tycoon running 16 of Macao's 22 casinos, claimed on Wednesday that he has 60 percent of "the whole pie."


Competition in the market is likely to get tougher as about 20 more giant casino resorts are due to be built in the next five years.


Most of them are planned for a casino belt being under construction on a 100,000-square-meter stretch of land called the Cotai Strip.


Analysts have predicted that Macao will eclipse the Las Vegas Strip this year as the biggest gambling haven in the world.


(Xinhua News Agency September 7, 2006)


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