My Irreversible Point of View

Unfortunately freedom of speech is not totally respected in some parts of the world. That is why I decide to express my point of view in the name of those who are not allowed to express themselves. STAND UP, SPEAK UP! STOP THE TRAFFIK

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Macau wow

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The world's largest casino attracts thousands of eager Chinese punters


Its construction involved filling in the sea between two of Macau's islands to recreate the Las Vegas strip, and then carefully cutting out tiny canals to provide at least a hint of Venice. On August 28th the Venetian Macaum, the world's biggest casino, opened its doors to an ocean of people eager to get to its tables.
A packed ceremony in the casino's 15,000-capacity arena culminated in Diana Ross singing "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" - reflecting, perhaps, the hopes of both the gamblers with their stacks of chips, and the firm behind the casino, Las Vegas Sands. It would be hard to find a project more amenable to hype, or an industry less shy about disclosing its extravagance. The enourmous building, Asia's largest, required 20,000 construction workers and 3 million sheets of gold leaf. Running it takes 16,000 employees and enough power for 300,000 homes. Construction costs swelled from $1.8 billion to $2.4 billion - more, the South China Morning Post pointed out, than Macau's entire public-works budget for the past five years.
The Venetian has 870 tables and 3,400 slots machines in the world's largest gambling hall, which is encircled by 350 shops, more retail space than any Hong Kong mall. That is also over twice as many tables as existed in all of Macau in 2002, when a local monopoly was broken and the Las Vegas operators were allowed in. This brought together American firms, with their business plans and architectural schemes honed in Nevada, and enthusiastic Chinese punters. Macau's old casinos could not compete. Las Vegas Sands opened its first casino in Macau in 2004, and it became profitable overnight, as did casinos opened by fast-moving rivals. Investors took a while to understand the market's potential, but between late 2005 and early 2007 shares in Las Vegas Sands doubled.
But they have since been volatile. The Chinese authorities recently cracked down on visas issued from southern China - the kind of political twist that can play havoc with strategic planning. Wynn Resort, Sands' closest rival, has scaled back its own expansion in Macau. But Sands' chairman, Sheldon Adelson, is convinced that the Venetian's success is a sure-fire bet. He may well be right.
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