Casino ty­coon launches Chi­nese lo­ca­tion

The Myanmar Times - - The Pulse -

US de­vel­oper Steve Wynn Mon­day opened a US$4 bil­lion mega-re­sort in Ma­cau – complete with gi­ant lake, mu­si­cal foun­tains and ca­ble cars – as the Chi­nese casino en­clave bat­tles to turn around its for­tunes.

At a cer­e­mony at­tended by 1000 guests, he launched the Wynn Palace: 6 mil­lion square feet (560,000 square me­tres) of en­ter­tain­ment with a cen­tral casino, more than 50 shops, 13 restau­rants and 1700 ho­tel rooms start­ing at un­der US$300.

The fan­fare in­cluded danc­ing foun­tains, and a carousel and Fer­ris wheel made from flow­ers.

Also on dis­play was a rare quar­tet of Qing dy­nasty vases, which a com­pany state­ment said had been in­stalled in the re­sort “as part of Steve Wynn’s ef­forts to bring Chi­nese art­work home”.

“The only other such quar­tet is in Buck­ing­ham Palace in Lon­don,” the state­ment added.

Wynn is gam­bling on Ma­cau even as it faces a down­turn fol­low­ing a cor­rup­tion crack­down by China’s Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping and a slow­down in the Chi­nese econ­omy.

The clam­p­down has driven away many high-rollers from the main­land who propped up VIP ta­bles in Ma­cau, the only part of China where it is le­gal to gam­ble. Mass- mar­ket tourism is now touted as the en­clave’s po­ten­tial saviour.

With au­thor­i­ties un­der pres­sure from Bei­jing to di­ver­sify from gam­bling – and a 3 per­cent cap on an­nual gam­ing ta­ble growth across Ma­cau – the semi-au­ton­o­mous Chi­nese ter­ri­tory is suf­fer­ing a third year of de­clin­ing gam­ing rev­enues.

But speak­ing to re­porters last week Wynn, 74, was bullish about the pro­ject, in­sist­ing that gam­bling is no longer the main fo­cus.

“My re­al­ity is the ex­pe­ri­ence peo­ple get in this build­ing – when that is per­fect, the money takes care of it­self,” he said.

Re­cent re­sort open­ings by Gal­axy and Stu­dio City have upped the non­casino el­e­ment, in­clud­ing ev­ery­thing from river rapids to a fig­ure of eight Fer­ris wheel.

In Oc­to­ber Las Ve­gas Sands is due to open another mega-re­sort, La Parisian, in Ma­cau, fea­tur­ing a half­s­cale Eif­fel Tower.

An­a­lysts re­main cau­tious over whether the mass ap­peal of the new mega re­sorts can re­ally make up for the high-rollers.

Ma­cau over­took Las Ve­gas as the world’s casino cap­i­tal in terms of rev­enue af­ter the sec­tor was opened to for­eign com­pe­ti­tion in 2002, and still leads its US coun­ter­part de­spite the down­turn.

Wynn be­lieves the new for­mula works. “We’ve got some­thing for ev­ery­body here,” he said. –

Guests ex­plore the casino floor, which is dom­i­nated by a ro­tat­ing fer­ris wheel. The $4 bil­lion re­sort has more than 50 shops, 13 restau­rants and 1700 ho­tel rooms.

Pho­tos: AFP

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