New Macau casinos have luck of the draw in second expansion phase
By Farah Master
MACAU (Reuters) - Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd and Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd look best placed to benefit from the next phase of Macau's development as the world's gambling capital adds eight more mega-casinos by 2017.
The expansion will take place in the Chinese territory's glitzy Cotai Strip and is expected to more than double Macau's annual gaming revenues to $115 billion in four years, according to research from U.S. brokerage Wells Fargo.
Cotai is an area of reclaimed land that is becoming a Las Vegas-style tourist hub with shopping centers, hotels and entertainment to complement the casinos.
U.S. billionaire Sheldon Adelson's Las Vegas Sands Corp was the strip's pioneer, setting up the Venetian casino there in 2007. Adelson's Hong Kong-listed Sands China Ltd is set to open its final casino planned for Macau at the end of 2015 in Cotai, but for Melco and Galaxy, their growth in the area is just beginning.
Galaxy and Melco's casinos will be the first properties to open in the second expansion phase starting early-2015.
That puts them ahead of peers like MGM China and Wynn Macau in the race for dealers and gaming tables, which are both in short supply. MGM and Wynn are also planning to open casinos in Cotai, but at a later date.
Galaxy, owned by Hong Kong construction tycoon Lui Che Woo, has the largest plot of land on Cotai and will still have half the area left to build on after its new resort opens next year.
Sands, in contrast, will use up the last of its Macau land for its Parisian complex, slated to open at the end of 2015. Continued...