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Las Vegas Sands bets on new Cirque show

29 May 2008

MACAO -- As reported by Reuters: "Las Vegas Sands Corp (NYSE:LVS) offered a peek on Thursday at a $150-million Cirque du Soleil show that will open at the Venetian Macao, the casino operator's latest high-stakes bet that it can get visitors to the Asian city to do more than gamble.

"The dreamy 'Zaia"' features dancers and acrobats depicting a story of a girl who ventures into outer space in Asia's first permanent Cirque du Soleil installation. It has an initial contract of 10 years.

"The gamble that 'Zaia' will pull in the crowds is critical for the U.S. casino operator, which suffered an unexpected first-quarter net loss, partly because it lost a significant share of a VIP market made up of high-rollers who gamble upwards of $100,000 a visit.

"In contrast with Las Vegas, Macau, a former Portuguese enclave, has a reputation for attracting visitors with little more than gambling on their minds.

"...Cirque du Soleil's unique performances have been a cornerstone of Las Vegas' non-gaming entertainment since the early 1990s, with five resident shows in the city..."

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