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Sands Gambles on New London-themed Resort in Macau

US gaming giant Sands has announced it will bring London to the southern Chinese gambling enclave.

AFP Relaxnews

Updated:October 26, 2017, 6:19 PM IST
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Sands Gambles on New London-themed Resort in Macau
After a replica Venice (pictured) and Paris-inspired property in Macau -- now US gaming giant Sands has announced it will bring London to the southern Chinese gambling enclave. (Photo courtesy: AFP Relaxnews/ MIKE CLARKE)
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It has already created a replica Venice and copycat Eiffel Tower in Macau -- now US gaming giant Sands has announced it will bring London to the southern Chinese gambling enclave.

The firm, run by billionaire Sheldon Adelson, will invest more than US$1.1 billion in Macau over the next three years, most of which will be spent turning its current casino resort Sands Cotai Central into The Londoner.

The new concept will include "some of London's most recognisable landmarks", a statement from Sands said.

It comes as Macau undergoes a renaissance, with gaming revenues bouncing back after being hit hard by a Beijing corruption crackdown launched by China's President Xi Jinping in 2012.

The Londoner will stand a stone's throw from the firm's sprawling Venetian and Parisian resorts.
Sands will also expand its Four Seasons Hotel on the Cotai strip, opening an additional 295 new suites.

"While we have invested over US$13 billion in Macao since 2002... we see tremendous future opportunity in the Macau market as it continues to grow and evolve," the statement said.

Semi-autonomous Macau is the world's largest gambling hub, dwarfing Las Vegas. It is the only part of China where casino gambling is legal and is a favourite haunt of mainland big spenders.

But many VIPs cashed out due to Xi's war on graft -- the enclave has a reputation as a money laundering centre for illicit cashflows out of China.

The crisis was compounded by a growth slowdown on the mainland.

Macau has also come under pressure from Chinese authorities to diversify away from gambling.

In response, major players poured their resources into "integrated resorts" offering everything from fine dining to theme park rides as they looked to compensate for the fall in high rollers.

The appeal to mass market has helped stabilise revenues and some big spenders have also returned.

Monthly gaming revenue in Macau has been on the up for more than a year, rising 16 percent in September.

Sands' announcement came as part of its third quarter results which charted year-on-year net profit of $403 million, up 24.4 percent on the same period in 2016. Revenue climbed 12.2 per cent to $1.93 billion.

Sands China stocks dipped 1.5 percent to HK$37.2 ($4.8) in morning trading.
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