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LV Sands exec: Macau revenue to double by 2010

13 February 2007

LOS ANGELES, California – As reported by Reuters: "Chinese gambling revenue in Macau has topped that of the Las Vegas Strip and will more than double again by 2010, the president and chief operating officer of Las Vegas Sands Corp. (LVS.N) predicted on Monday.

Sands this year is opening a "Venetian" resort that shares the name of its Vegas casino and will be one of the first examples of a project that duplicates the glitz of the U.S. gambling capital in the only place to allow casinos in China.

Speaking at the Reuters Hotels and Casinos Summit, Sands COO William Weidner said the Venetian will be Macau's first mega-resort, featuring shopping and entertainment attractions that will draw mainland Chinese visitors who now frequent Hong Kong for those pursuits.

Wall Street expects Macau casino revenue, which hit $7 billion in 2006, to grow to anywhere from $10 billion to $15 billion in 2010, Weidner said. "I'm more in the $15 billion-plus camp," he added. The Vegas strip of mega-resorts generated $6.69 billion in gambling revenue last year.

Sands is investing $11 billion in a string of casino resorts in a part of Macau dubbed the Cotai Strip. Essentially, Sands aims to reproduce in Macau the Las Vegas Strip of today, complete with the condominiums, shopping malls and entertainment that have blossomed in the last few years.

Weidner estimated that some 3 million square feet of malls to be built in Macau would be worth at least $8.4 billion to Sands if it sold out, from as early as 2008. Residential units could fetch another $3 billion to $5 billion, he added.

Macau has had gambling for more than a century but only recently allowed foreigners to invest, sparking a building rush.

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