China opens its own, fake Paris

The Myanmar Times - - The Pulse -

CASINO gi­ant Las Ve­gas Sands launched Ma­cau’s lat­est re­sort yes­ter­day, out­fit­ted with a half-size replica of the Eif­fel Tower, as it bets its for­tunes on mass-mar­ket tourists flock­ing to the gam­bling en­clave.

A cor­rup­tion crack­down by Chi­nese Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping and an eco­nomic slow­down since mid2014 drove away many main­land high-rollers who had propped up the VIP sec­tor in semi-au­tonomous Ma­cau – the only part of China where it is le­gal to gamble.

The for­mer Por­tuguese colony has strug­gled to re­cover its foot­ing ever since as it comes un­der pres­sure from Bei­jing to di­ver­sify away from gam­bling.

But Au­gust saw gam­ing rev­enues end a two-year slump, with an­a­lysts putting the rally down to a new raft of mega re­sorts try­ing to en­tice mass-mar­ket gam­blers to com­pen­sate for the hole in the VIP sec­tor.

Sands’ US$3 bil­lion re­sort, The Parisian, opened its doors yes­ter­day evening, boast­ing 3000 rooms, a wa­ter park and a 1200-seat theatre – the lat­est in a slew of plea­sure palaces promis­ing more than just gam­bling.

While the venue is ex­pected to host more than 400 gam­ing ta­bles, Sands is sell­ing the ven­ture as an “in­te­grated re­sort” com­plete with street en­ter­tain­ers and Parisin­spired shops.

It is the sec­ond launch by Las Ve­gas stal­warts in a mat­ter of weeks, af­ter the $4 bil­lion Wynn Palace – home to a gi­ant lake, mu­si­cal foun­tains and ca­ble cars, as well as gam­ing ta­bles – opened in Au­gust.

Re­cent launches by Galaxy and Stu­dio City have also upped the non-casino el­e­ment, in­clud­ing ev­ery­thing from river rapids to an el­e­vated fig­ure-of-eight Fer­ris wheel.

The push to at­tract mass-mar­ket vis­i­tors seems to have worked, ac­cord­ing to an­a­lysts, with monthly gam­ing rev­enue for Au­gust ris­ing 1.1 per­cent to 18.84 bil­lion pat­a­cas ($2.36 bil­lion), com­pared to the same month in 2015.

But ac­cu­mu­lated rev­enue for the year un­til Au­gust fell 9.1pc at 144.39 bil­lion pat­a­cas, com­pared to the same pe­riod in 2015.

An­a­lysts be­lieve the mar­ket has now bot­tomed out and that Ma­cau will reap the ben­e­fits of the re­sort open­ings in the sec­ond half of 2016.

Ma­cau over­took Las Ve­gas as the world’s casino cap­i­tal in terms of rev­enue af­ter the sec­tor was opened up to for­eign com­pe­ti­tion in 2002.

It still leads its US coun­ter­part de­spite the down­turn.

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