Macau welcomes 2 new casinos
Updated: 2005-02-08 09:06
Two new casino halls opened for business in Macau yesterday, aimed at the
tourists arriving during the Lunar New Year travel spree.
Fortuna Casino at the former Fortuna Hotel became the 15th casino owned by Macau
tycoon Stanley Ho's gaming empire. The casino next to Ho's flagship casino -
Hotel Lisboa - is a small-scale casino offering 35 gaming tables.
same day, Macau's first Las Vegas-invested casino Sands Macau added the "Pearl
Room," a new themed luxury gaming room, hosting 40 gaming tables in addition to
180 slot machines.
Ho's Macau Gaming Co Ltd is experienced in promoting
business during holidays.
It opened the Casa Real Casino last year to
coincide with the bumper holiday season of China's National Day, and the Greek
Myth Casino during the Christmas and New Year season.
renovation projects on the company's former assets.
By updating his casinos,
Ho is rising to the challenge from his rivals, the Venetian, which owns the
Sands Macau, and the Hong Kong-based Galaxy that runs the Galaxy Waldo
The gaming city is experiencing its best-ever economic growth
period. In January, Macau's 16 casinos generated 3.6 billion patacas (US$450
million) in total gross revenue, an increase of some 20 percent over the same
month last year.
A senior economic official hinted that "18" to "19"
would be the maximum number of casinos for Ho, who had monopolized Macau's
gaming industry for 40 years before 2002.
Francis Tam Pak Yuen, secretary
for economic and finance of the Macau Special Administrative Region government,
who oversees the gaming sector, said the government was exchanging views on the
issue with Ho's company.
Some industry insiders believe that following
the gaming sector liberalization, the total number of casinos in Macau will
reach about two dozens by the end of the decade.
Macau's legislation on
gaming business limits the number of casino-operating concessions to three.
However, the number of casinos or sub-concessions that each of the three
concessionaires may run is not specified by law.
Macau is the only city in
China where gambling is legal. The first gaming businesses were licensed around