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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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)
gambled and lost in the territory every year and industry sources
say that is just the tip of the iceberg.
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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Magic To Open New Hotel in May
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.
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.
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.