Macau, the new gambling Mecca of the world, is getting a new attraction: another retail mall. Las Vegas Sands Corporation which owns the Venetian Macau casino will be opening another retail area in the Chinese city. It’s expected to open in July, states the company’s senior executives and will feature over 100 brand name stores. The retail area, which will be attached to the Venetian Macau will cover 210,000 square feet and built on the Cotai Strip, an area of land the Las Vegas Sands Corporation reclaimed last year.
Sheldon Adelson, the owner of the Las Vegas Sands Corporation, is planning on opening three more of these malls that are common to find attached to casinos in the United States. He is hoping they will give the people of Macau a larger international selection of products to choose from. When completed, the Las Vegas Sands will have a total of 1,200 shops and close to 3 million square feet of shopping on the Macau Strip. According to David Sylvester, the vice president of Retail Development Asia for the company, they want to be able to cater to everyone that will visit the mall during their breaks from gambling.
The entire shopping complex is expected to be finished in 2011 and will include 20,000 new hotel rooms spread across a variety of top hotels, such as Sheraton and St. Regis, Shangri-La Traders, and Hilton and Conrad. Both the retail stores and hotels will produce jobs and boost the Chinese economy.
Macau is the only city in China that allows casino gambling and it has been enjoying a singular boost to the economy in the last few years. In 2002 the casino monopoly owned by the Ho family was broken, and casino owners such as Sheldon Adelson and Steve Wynn quickly jumped on the chance to open new establishments in this growing city. The city has turned into the equivalent of an Asian Las Vegas with international tourists and many gamblers from the neighbouring Chinese mainland. Beyond the casinos, there are many attractions to appeal to families as well as singles and couples wishing to discover the region. Macau, with its past as a Portuguese colony, is truly a mix of exotic Far East with a hint of European charm and history.
The casinos in the city brought in more than 10.3 billion dollars in revenue in 2007, up from the 6.95 billion dollars in 2006. Already Macau is leading Las Vegas in revenue during the first quarter of 2008 and the slowing American economy is finding many high-stakes gamblers choosing Macau over Las Vegas for their gambling trips.