Macau, China, 22 May – Hong Kong group Galaxy Entertainment opened Macau’s 21st casino – Grande Waldo Casino- in the landfill area between the islands of Taipa and Coloane in front of Hengqin island in the Chinese municipal area of Zhuhai.
The Galaxy group already has three other casinos on the Macau peninsula – Waldo, Rio and President – and plans to open two more: one in August this year and another in 2008.
Of the 21 casinos in Macau, 16 belong to gaming magnate Stanley Ho’s, Sociedade de Jogos de Macau and one to Las Vegas Sands, to which the Galaxy group granted a sub-concession for opening casinos in Macau.
At least three more casinos are due to open by the end of the year: the Wynn Resorts hotel/casino, right in front of hotel/casino Lisboa, the Star World, another Galaxy hotel/casino, in the centre of the city, and a Casino at Fisherman’s Wharf by Sociedade de Jogos de Macau.
The gross revenue of Macau’s 19 casinos totaled US$1.6 billion in the first quarter of 2006, an increase of 16.5 percent on the same period of the previous year.
The development of the gaming and gambling sector in Macau has attracted large hotel chains such as Hilton, Conrad, Four Seasons, Sofitel, Intercontinenal, St. Regis, Shangri-La, Mandarin, Sheraton, Starwood and Crown, which have all announced agreements with casino operators to operate hotel complexes in Macau.
Wynn Resorts, one of the three groups to which the Macau government granted a casino concession in 2002, is due to open its first hotel/casino in September.
Wynn Resorts recently closed a deal with Australia’s PBL, associated to Melco, which is owned by Stanley Ho’s son Lawrence, for the sale of a gaming sub-concession for US$900 million.
The PBL/Melco consortium is expected to open its first hotel/casino, the Crown Macau, on Taipa island in 2007.
US company MGM Mirage, which has a joint venture with Pansy Ho – daughter of Stanley Ho – is also building a hotel/casino in the center of the city which will operate with a sub-concession of the license held by Sociedade de Jogos de Macau, in 2007.
In 2002, when the monopoly of Sociedade de Turismo e Diversões de Macau came to an end, the group had 11 casinos.(macauhub)