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Macau Becoming Las Vegas of Asia

14 June 2005

MACAU – As reported by Asia Pulse: "Close to an estimated US$7.4 billion worth of new development, centered around entertainment and casinos, has transformed the sleepy backwater of Macau into a hive of activity.

"China's strategy is to turn Macau into the Las Vegas of Asia, according to a report by Hong Kong-based UBS Investment Research, 'Macau Gaming - Let the Games Begin'. It says the political incentive is driven by the upcoming 10th anniversary of Macau's handover to China in 2009.

"…The report adds that China's economic growth provides a sustainable base for gaming enterprises in Macau. Last year, Macau earned US$5.4 billion from gaming - narrowly beating the Las Vegas Strip (US$5.3 billion) as the world's largest gaming center.

"A pivotal decision by the Macau government - to end a 40-year monopoly on casino operations in 2002 by granting three new licenses - triggered the current development boom in Macau.

"…Macau's economy grew 25% last year, says Mark Wood, Austrade's trade commissioner responsible for Macau. Growth is being driven by the arrival of mainland Chinese tourists.

"…As well as casinos and hotels, a wide range of entertainment facilities will be built in Macau in the coming years to liven up tourist attractions in the former Portuguese enclave. Aside from construction of the casinos, hotels and entertainment complexes, Wood says Macau will need additional housing, hospitals, schools and other facilities to house its growing population…"

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