Steve Wynn opened today a new mega integrated resort in Macau

Wynn Macau – the second Las Vegas-style gaming complex in the Chinese territory – has opened its doors to the public and received thousands of gamblers. Its owner and CEO, American gaming tycoon Steve Wynn, inaugurated the USD 1.2 billion casino hotel with typical Las Vegas styled glitz and glamour.

The mega integrated resort boasts 210 gaming tables, 380 slot machines and 600 hotel rooms. Eyeing high-rollers with deep pockets, US billionaire Steve Wynn, whose empire includes the Bellagio and the Mirage in Las Vegas, has vowed to transform the mushrooming Asian gambling haven.

He said, „Each time more rooms are added to inventory in Las Vegas, the city has grown and the amount of successful places in the city has grown. The amount of visitor volume has also increased.“

Macau, which is tipped to become the world’s largest casino market, is on the brink of some cut-throat competition. US gaming magnate Sheldon Adelson was the first high roller to bet on Macau when he opened Sands Macau three years ago. Since then, he has been fighting a public spat with local tycoon Stanley Ho, who lost his 40-year casino monopoly when the city’s gaming laws were liberalised by the government.

But with more than 10.5 million Chinese visitors last year – up 1.5 times from three years ago – the stakes are very high. Macau’s Cotai Strip still being constructed – modelled after the famous Las Vegas Strip. It is an ambitious project, valued at some us$ 10 billion, and offering up to 60,000 new hotel rooms.

The strip will also boast a convention centre, stadium, high-end shopping and a man-made lagoon with Chinese gondoliers. Macau’s casinos raked in USD 5.6 billion, equal to the takings in Las Vegas last year, but analysts suspect under-reporting means Macau probably beat the US gambling haven by about USD 2 billion.

Some experts see Macau’s gambling revenue growing quickly to USD 9 billion to USD 11 billion by 2010 and upward of USD 15 billion by 2012, but skeptics say Macau can’t absorb all the rooms. They point out that Chinese gamblers are notorious for staying in Macau for only a day and spending most of their money at casino tables. Visitors in Macau don’t go to fancy restaurants, conventions and shows, as in Las Vegas.

Wynn, however, said the same was also true of Las Vegas before developers built high-quality resorts and hotels that gave tourists – even families – a reason to spend a few days in the city. He said the same if-you-build-it-they-will-come approach will work in Macau. „We haven’t had a full-on fancy hotel built here,“ Wynn said. „This is the first one.“