Casino Giant Las Vegas Sands Rolls Dice into Asia

by Tanya Thomas on  June 11, 2011 at 10:56 PM Lifestyle News   - G J E 4
US gaming giant Las Vegas Sands said Wednesday it was in talks with several countries to build integrated resorts, as the firm looks to replicate its success in Singapore and Asia's gaming hub Macau.
 Casino Giant Las Vegas Sands Rolls Dice into Asia
Casino Giant Las Vegas Sands Rolls Dice into Asia

"We are talking to other countries, to five, six, seven countries and they all said they want to copy what we did here and they said they want to copy Singapore," said the firm's billionaire chairman Sheldon Adelson.

The American gaming mogul was speaking at a luncheon during the three-day Global Gaming Expo Asia, which began Tuesday in Macau.

Adelson did not identify the countries, but Sands spokesman Ron Reese later told reporters that the firm was eyeing a handful of Asian territories including Taiwan, Vietnam, Japan and Korea.

Adelson's comments come after the success of its property in Singapore, the Marina Bay Sands, which opened last year and was hailed by the gambling mogul as "the model" for the integrated resort concept, which combines hotels, casinos and commercial space.

Singapore is set to overtake Las Vegas as the world's second-largest gambling hub this year, Frank Fahrenkopf, the head of the US gaming industry, said in Macau on Tuesday.

Asia's strong growth in the gaming industry stands in sharp contrast to US venues such as the Las Vegas Strip, previously a byword for gambling but which is now suffering the effects of the global downturn.

Another Singapore casino is Malaysian-controlled Resorts World Sentosa which opened two months before Marina Bay Sands in February last year, when the world economy was still clawing itself out of recession.

Adelson said in February that Sands was planning to build a Las Vegas-style casino strip in Spain at a cost of up to 15 billion euros ($20.4 billion).

Macau and Singapore's gaming sectors will continue to grow, he said, despite rapid casino development among neighbours such as the Philippines, South Korea and Taiwan.

"I am of the conviction that you can put five full-scaled Las Vegases and you still won't be overbuilt," said Adelson, whose Macau properties include the massive 3,000 room Venetian.

Gambling revenue in Macau, the only place in China where casinos are legal, surged to a new record in May with a 42 percent jump year-on-year at 24.31 billion patacas ($3 billion) -- a record high for the fourth month in a row.

The former Portuguese colony drew $23.5 billion in gaming revenue last year, outpacing the Las Vegas strip by four-fold and cementing the Chinese territory as the world's biggest gaming hub.

Source: AFP

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