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Macau Enjoying Unprecedented Economic Boom

4 January 2005

MACAU – As reported by the Financial Times: "It is a quiet Monday afternoon, but the Sands Macao, the former Portuguese colony's first foreign casino, is packed with Chinese tourists in dark blue nylon suits.

"Among them, Li Enhui, a thirtysomething timber trader from Zhejiang province in eastern China, is happily collecting five chips he won from the blackjack table.

"…Li is not the only person getting lucky by betting on Macao. Since the sleepy territory, which returned to Chinese rule in 1999, deregulated its gaming industry in 2001 to allow foreign investment, it has enjoyed an unprecedented economic boom. Macao's economy expanded 22% in the third quarter of 2004, after a 48% jump in the previous three months.

"…The only city in China where gambling is legal, Macao made the landmark decision three years ago to end local tycoon Stanley Ho's 40-year-old monopoly on casino operations and offer new licenses. Sheldon Adelson of Las Vegas Sands Corp., Steve Wynn of Wynn Resorts Ltd. and Ho each won one.

"The money has poured in ever since. Adelson is planning another resort in addition to the Sands Macao. Kerry Packer, Australia's richest man, and Ho are building the territory's first six-star hotel. And Wynn Resorts and MGM Mirage Inc. are planning developments…"

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