Issue 86
April 30 - May 6, 2002
Volume 3
page 1

This Issue

Gaming News
Macau Bets Future on China, Asian High Rollers

Casino Magic To Open New Hotel in May

Korean Government Supports Net Gaming Industry

Peru's Congress Passes Bill To Ban Casinos In 2005


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Macau Bets Future on China,
Asian High Rollers

HONG KONG - /Reuters/ - Big Las Vegas casinos learned long ago to cater to every whim of Asian high rollers who think nothing of jetting in and dropping a million dollars or so.

Now they are eager for more, preparing to open up right on the doorstep of communist China, home to more than a billion people and some of the world's most passionate gamblers.

U.S. casino moguls Steve Wynn and Sheldon Adelson won two of three casino licenses offered at a recent auction and have pledged more than a billion dollars to bring some Las Vegas glitz to the tawdry territory of Macau, on China's southern coast.

For investors such as Wynn and Adelson, Macau's attraction cannot be overstated.

While the hundreds of casinos in the state of Nevada grossed combined gaming revenue of $9.5 billion in 2001, Macau's 11 gambling halls took in a mind-blowing $2.5 billion.

"China, more and more so, is becoming a very, very important market," said Allan Zeman, a close associate of Wynn, and one of the biggest landlords in Lan Kwai Fong, Hong Kong's premier entertainment street.

U.S. casinos woke up to Asia's gambling mania in the 1970s when Japanese businessmen arrived with suitcases full of money. But when Japan's economy started going downhill, the wealthy Chinese diaspora became a force to be reckoned with.

Tiny Macau has long been a magnet for gamblers from China and nearby Hong Kong where casinos are illegal. Though the former Portuguese enclave returned to China in 1999, it was allowed to keep its freewheeling ways for 50 years.


Neon lights of hotels and entertainment business light up the night in Macau's tourist area in this March 15, 2001 file photo. (Bobby Yip/Reuters)

Billions are gambled and lost in the territory every year and industry sources say that is just the tip of the iceberg.

"China's underground gambling market is estimated at $362.5 billion a year. Even if just 2 percent comes to Macau, it would be enormous," said David Chow, gaming expert and Macau legislator.

 

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Casino Magic To Open New Hotel in May

Cranes and bulldozers, construction workers and painters are in high gear at Casino Magic Bay St. Louis as they are preparing for the opening of a new hotel on May 27.

The 14-sotry Bay Tower Hotel will feature 291 standard rooms, including 9 deluxe suites and 46 junior suites. Also included in this development are: 11,000 sq. ft. convention space, 24-hour restaurant, expanded retail space, spa and fitness center.

Casino Magic Bay St. Louis is a stationary boat casino in Bay Saint Louis, Mississippi and is open 24 hours. The 39,500 square foot casino features 1,150 slots and forty table games. The property currently has five restaurants and two hotels with 600 rooms.

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