Dreaming Of Macau

The Sands Venetian Macau has company.

The Las Vegas Sands Corp. was the big cheese at Cotai, an area a few miles outside the traditional gambling area of Macau, a special administrative region of China. As of June 1, a next-door neighbor arrived – the City of Dreams, a $2.4 billion casino resort backed by the sons of a Macau gambling impresario and an Australian magnate, according to the Wall Street Journal.

“We welcome them enthusiastically,” Las Vegas Sands Chief Executive Sheldon Adelson told the WSJ. “We’ll be in a position to exchange customers. And we’ll get a lot more of their customers than they will of ours.”

The massive City of Dreams is expected to eventually offer more than 500 gambling tables, three hotels (including a Hard Rock Hotel) and a shopping mall, according to the paper. There’s a domed multimedia theatre and an electronic aquarium filled with digital fish.

Macau is not immune to the slowing global economy, with the island seeing a 5.9 percent gross gambling revenue drop over the past year. But Macau, which is the only place in China with legalized gambling, made more money last year than Las Vegas and Atlantic City combined, the WSJ noted.

The issue is that Macau doesn’t have many long-term visitors, with most staying an average of 1.3 nights compared with 3.2 nights in Las Vegas. Macau’s industry is focusing on high rollers to make up the difference.