MGM Grand Macau says funding secured for expansion

MGM Grand, the latest Las Vegas-style casino to be opened in the world’s gambling centre of Macau next week, said Thursday it has already secured funding for its second-phase expansion.

The 1.25 billion-dollar resort casino is a 50-50 joint venture between MGM Mirage of Las Vegas and Pansy Ho, daughter of the southern Chinese territory’s casino mogul Stanley Ho.

Pansy Ho said MGM Grand has submitted preliminary plans for an expansion on the reclaimed land called the Cotai Strip — which recreated the Las Vegas Strip. It was waiting for government approval.

„Once we get the approval, we will decide how to go forward,“ Ho, MGM Grand managing director, told reporters at a pre-opening press conference.

But she said the company has yet to set concrete plans for the second phase but had already secured funding for it.

Ho also said MGM Grand will focus on the VIP market and is confident in the future of the casino industry in the territory whose gaming revenues of 7.2 billion dollars overtook the famous Las Vegas Strip last year.

„MGM Mirage is the leader of the high-end market. We feel that it’s easy for us to do the same here. We will continue to work hard and reach this goal,“ she said.

Built on the Macau peninsula, MGM Grand is the latest casino hotel to join in the battle in the cut-throat gaming industry after the liberalisation of gaming regulations on Macau, which has a population of about 530,000.

MGM Grand will feature 600 rooms and a casino with about 385 table games, 890 slot machines and 16 private gaming salons. The 35-story hotel resort will also include convertible convention space.

The small former Portuguese colony’s century-old gaming market was given a boost in 2001 when the removal of a 40-year gambling monopoly from tycoon Stanley Ho resulted in a flood of investment from American operators.

Sands was the first major American company to open its casino in 2004 in Macau. The 2.4 billion-dollar Venetian Macao resort, operated by Sands and built on the Cotai Strip, also opened its door to the public in August.

US tycoon Steve Wynn and Crown Macau, a partnership between Australia’s Publishing and Broadcasting and Hong Kong-listed Melco, have also opened their own casinos.