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StarWorld poses threat to Ho's monopoly

18 October 2006

MACAU – As reported by Bloomberg: "Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd. opens its StarWorld casino in Macau tomorrow, posing another threat to Stanley Ho's dominance in the city's gaming industry six weeks after Wynn Resorts Ltd. opened a $1.2 billion hotel-casino.

"Galaxy, controlled by Hong Kong construction tycoon Lui Che- woo, says it has almost tripled its share of Macau's casino gambling market to 20 percent in August from 7 percent in January after opening three casinos earlier this year. StarWorld will help it win 25 percent of the market, Lui said last month, without forecasting when that target would be met.

"Macau is poised to overtake the Las Vegas strip as the world's largest gaming hub in revenue as casino operators bet on the rising incomes of China's 1.3 billion people will boost tourism. Ho's four decade-monopoly of the gaming industry in the only Chinese city where casino gambling is legal ended in 2002.

"…Ho has blamed the competition for pushing a third of his casino unit's 150 VIP gaming halls to the brink of bankruptcy, the South China Morning Post reported on Aug. 12. Ho's Sociedade de Jogos de Macau SA, or SJM, owns of 16 of the 22 casinos in the territory.

"…StarWorld, Galaxy's fifth casino in the former Portuguese colony, targets Macau's mid-range gaming market, which has surged since the opening of Sands Macao, the city's first Las Vegas- style casino, in 2004, Lui said…"

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