Macau, China, 12 Feb – Casino tycoon Stanley Ho has inaugurated Macau’s 25th casino, the 18th operated by his Sociedade de Jogos de Macau (SJM), in the enclave’s tallest building in an investment of 5 billion patacas (US$ 625 million).
Occupying the first five floors of a 52-storey building, the Grande Lisboa Casino, opened Sunday, is located in the city’s main casino district close to the Wynn, Lisboa, Landmark, Rio, President and Galaxy, among others.
With 3,000 employees and an area of 40,000 square meters, it has 240 gaming tables and 484 slot machines. Another seven gaming halls, with 30 tables each, will be opened in the near future.
The building, which will include a 430-bed hotel by the end of the year, is 261 meters tall and was designed by Hong Kong architects Dennis Lau and Ng Chun Man.
Speaking at the casino’s opening, Macau’s chief executive, Edmund Ho, recalled that SJM had a 63 percent share of the territory’s gaming sector in 2006, which had gross receipts of 55.8 billion patacas (US$ 6.98 billion).
Macau’s gaming sector generated gross receipts of 55.884 billion patacas in 2006, a 22 percent year-on-year increase, according to figures from the Directorate of Inspection and Coordination of Gaming (DICJ).
Receipts from Macau’s 24 casinos reached 54.998 billion patacas last year, up 22.9 percent on 2005.
Figures released by gaming authorities in Las Vegas show that Macau’s casinos generated profits of US$ 6.69 billion last year, more than those in the American city last year .
Macau’s gaming authorities levy a 35 percent tax on gross casino earnings, around 4 percent in indirect taxes and a series of licensing taxes on tables and slot machines.
Macau’s gaming sector currently has six existing operators – three concessions and three sub-concessions – of which only five are operating, due to the consortium of MGM of America and the company controlled by Pansy Ho, daughter of Stanley Ho, still not having a casino building.
From Sunday, Stanley Ho, through his SJM, operates 18 of Macau’s 25 casinos. Galaxy Resorts owns five casinos, Las Vegas Sands has one (the world’s biggest) and Wynn resorts operates another.
The consortium of Melco and Australia’s PBL, with Lawrence Ho, son of Stanley Ho, does not yet operate any casinos but has various slot machine halls.
The Crown Casino Hotel is expected to open this year on Taipa Island and in 2008, the City of Dreams casino is scheduled to open in the same location.
During the current year, the Venetian casino hotel, between Taipa and Coloane Islands, is due to open and will be operated by Las Vegas Sands and MGM of Pansy Ho.
In 2008, a casino and hotel complex run by Hong Kong’s Galaxy group will open on land between Taipa and Coloane Islands.
When the gaming monopoly of Stanley Ho’s STDM ended in 2002, Macau had 11 casinos. (macauhub)