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Crowds welcome Venetian Macao opening

31 August 2007

MACAO -- As reported by the Economist: "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 Macau, 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 enormous building, Asia's largest, required 20,000 construction workers and 3m 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..."

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