Macau to overtake Las Vegas by 2007

Macau to overtake Las Vegas by 2007
With more than 20 billion dollars worth of investment committed to some 25 new hotels and casinos in the next five years the southern Chinese territory is expected to emerge as a world-class tourism destination, according to analysts Globalysis.

“We believe that Macaus (revenue) will surpass that experienced on the Las Vegas Strip in 2006, signalling Macaus success as a global casino gaming destination,” it said in a statement.

Macau’s century-old casino sector was resuscitated from years of crippling decline in 2001 when the Chinese-backed government of the former Portuguese enclave wrested a 40-year operations monopoly from ageing tycoon Stanley Ho.

The move brought in a flood of American investment, principally from Las Vegas Sands — operator of the phenomenally successful Venetian resort — which reversed the city’s ailing fortunes when it opened the Sands Macau in 2004.

Sands Thursday posted record quarterly growth for the three months to June 2006, with pre-tax profits up 52.7 percent to 117 million dollars, a company statement said.

Growth in Macau would not have been possible without a coincidental relaxation of travel restrictions on Chinese tourists, which boosted visitors to the tiny territory to a record 18 million in 2005.

According to Globalysis, most of the investment committed to Macau over the next five years is destined for the Cotai Strip, a gaming district under construction by the Sands corporation on a 100,000 square-metre plot of reclaimed land.

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