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Best of Howard Stutz

Gaming Guru

Howard Stutz
 

MGM Grand Macau slated to open next month

13 November 2007

LAS VEGAS, Nevada -- The $1.25 billion MGM Grand Macau will open Dec. 18, marking the third grand opening of a new hotel-casino in the Chinese gaming enclave this year.

The development on the Macau peninsula, is a 50-50 joint venture between MGM Mirage and Hong Kong businesswoman Pansy Ho. She is the daughter of Hong Kong billionaire Stanley Ho, who held Macau's casino monopoly since the early 1960s until the government of the Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China allowed for expanded gaming opportunities.

The 600-room MGM Grand Macau follows openings this year by the $585 million Crown Macau, which is operated by Australian-based Melco PBL, and the $2.4 billion Venetian Macau, which is owned by Las Vegas Sands Corp.

The MGM Grand Macau, which has three different hotel levels accented by three different shades of colored glass, will open with 375 table games, 900 slot machines and 16 high-end private gambling salons.

The resort also includes a glass-ceiling conservatory called the Grand Praca that is three times the size of the botanical garden at Bellagio. The conservatory will showcase traditional Portuguese-inspired architecture. Before being turned over to China in 1999, Macau was a colony of Portugal for more than 400 years.

MGM Grand Macau will employ 6,000 workers.

"We have long anticipated our Macau debut and, most importantly, the opportunity to demonstrate the combined capabilities of our partnership," MGM Mirage Chairman and CEO Terry Lanni said in a statement.

Nevada gaming authorities in February unanimously approved the suitability of Pansy Ho to be a joint-venture partner with MGM Mirage.

For years, U.S. and international law enforcement authorities have thought Chinese organized crime triads secretly controlled the casinos held by Stanley Ho, an 86-year-old billionaire who is the chairman of Shun Tak Holdings, one of the largest publicly traded companies on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

MGM Mirage and Pansy Ho are exploring an additional joint venture hotel-casino project on Macau's Cotai Strip, which is about five miles from the peninsula area.

In 2006, Macau topped the Strip as the world's biggest gaming hub in terms of casino revenue.