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Macau shines in uniqueness

12 February 2008

MACAU -- As reported by Asia Times: "Figures due this week are expected to show that Macau is bigger than Las Vegas. The former Portuguese enclave in China raked in US$10.4 billion in gaming winnings in 2007, virtually matching the 2006 take for Clark County, the Nevada jurisdiction that includes Las Vegas and surrounding areas.

"If Macau misses in the 2007 data, it's only a matter of time before it leaves Las Vegas twinkling in its rearview mirror. Macau already far outearns the famous Las Vegas Strip, even though the Strip has a 50% advantage in the number of both visitors and casinos. Minimum bets in the Chinese territory usually set at HK$100 (US$12.85), compared with a less than US$1 in some Vegas locations, allow Macau to take in far more per customer and per table than Las Vegas.

"Three of the biggest names in Las Vegas - Wynn Resorts, Las Vegas Sands (owners of the Venetian), and MGM Grand - have built mammoth properties that would fit right in back in Vegas. But size, whether it's your square footage or bankroll, isn't everything.

"...Casino resorts in Vegas now earn half of their revenue from non-gambling activities, said Bill Eadington, director of the Institute for the Study of Gambling and Commercial Gaming at University of Nevada, Reno.

"In Macau, the non-casino attractions have barely begun. The Venetian, Macau's first Las Vegas-scale integrated resort, includes big name shopping in a 200-plus unit mall, Asia's largest convention venue, and the Venetian Arena, the 15,000 seat arena that's already hosted Beyonce, Black Eyed Peas, the Cleveland Cavaliers of US basketball, and Pete Sampras' victory over Roger Federer in a tennis clash of the ages."

"...What will set Macau apart aren't gambling and Vegas imitations, but its unique Mediter-Asian heritage. Macau's real success, big enough to justify the billions invested, won't be Asia's Las Vegas but as the world's only Macau."

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