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Money Rolling into Revamped Macau

30 August 2004

MACAU – As reported by the Agence France-Presse: "…Gambling Macau-style has changed dramatically since Sands, a subsidiary of the Venetian company that owns its namesake hotel-casino complex in Las Vegas, opened in May.

"It has brought Vegas pizzazz to the largely autonomous Chinese territory in an industry that had been dominated by dingy, smoke-filled dens since gambling was legalised by the Portuguese colonial government a century ago.

"With the emphasis on entertainment above gambling, it is the first in a 25-billion-pataca wave of new casino openings that are already revolutionizing an industry which just five years ago had gone into reverse. At least another 30 similar American-style casino-resorts are planned, which by 2009 are expected to pull in more than five billion US dollars annually -- outstripping takings even on Las Vegas Strip.

"…Driving this sudden boom is a huge surge in mainland Chinese visitors.

"…But for all its glitz and glamour, Sands is small-fry here: in June, its first full month, it took 320 million patacas, according to government figures, just two percent of the almost four billion patacas spent by gamblers that month.

"Even Galaxy, the Hong Kong-owned company that entered the market at the same time, raked in 400 million with far fewer tables.

"It has led some to doubt the American model in Macau.

"…The high rollers of the VIP rooms provided an estimated 80 percent of the 3.3 billion patacas taken in June by the largest and oldest casino operator: Stanley Ho's SJM…"

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