Today’s New York Times covers the opening of the world’s largest hotel and casino in the world, the $2.4 billion Venetian Macao Resort, in the article, “Bigger Than Vegas? That’s Macao’s Bet” The figures are just staggering:
“The Venetian has more floor space than four Empire State Buildings. The hotel’s slot machines, baccarat tables and other games of chance sprawl across a casino more than three times the size of the largest casino in Las Vegas. The 15,000-seat sports arena nearly rivals Madison Square Garden, the convention center has a 6,000-seat banquet hall and the luxury shopping mall has three indoor canals with singing gondoliers; the Venetian in Las Vegas has just one. But what is most surprising about the 3,000-suite project is that it is merely the first of 14 interconnected hotels being built here by the Las Vegas Sands Corporation. When completed, the complex will include a St. Regis, a Shangri-la, a Raffles, a Conrad, an Intercontinental and a Sheraton, with their own casinos, bars and restaurants. And the project, which will cost $10 billion to $12 billion, is just the largest of a series of giant gambling complexes being constructed here in Macao, on the southwestern lip of the mouth of the Pearl River.”
Macao returned to China from Portugal in 1999 (much like how Hong Kong returned to China from the United Kingdom in 1997) and is governed as a Special Administrative Region (S.A.R.). Gambling in China is illegal, but not in Macao, so the great hope of hotel and casino investors is that Macao becomes the next Las Vegas, or better yet, LARGER than Vegas. But there are a lot of challenges as the article goes on to explain.