Sheldon Adelson has opened yet another casino in Macau via his Sands China subsidiary, with the new $4.4 billion Sands Cotai Central casino opening its doors to become the 35th casino in Macau.
Macau is now by far the world's largest gambling market -- surpassing Las Vegas back in 2006 -- and the Sands Cotai Central is not just the latest Macau casino to open but will be the newest arrival for quite some time, as government approval and construction time means that it will be a least 2015 before a newer casino is opened in Macau.
Macau's growth as a gambling center has been meteoric, with revenue growth of 27% in the first three months of 2012 that followed up an amazing surge of 42% growth in 2011; Macau's gambling haul of $33.5 billion in 2011 was more than five times the amount earned by Las Vegas Strip casinos.
China continues to fuel the gambling boom in Macau, with high stakes baccarat players flocking to the area now that a nearby gambling alternative is open to them, instead of being forced to make a long trip to Vegas or other gambling centers as was the case in the past.
Sands' rivals in Macau (which include other Las Vegas-based gambling giants such as Wynn Resorts and MGM Resorts International) are also waiting for government approval for projects they're planning for the Cotai Strip. All three companies may be based in Vegas but an outsized portion of their revenues and profits now come from their operations in Macau, Singapore, and other international markets.
Sands' newest casino in Macau is expected to benefit from Sands is expected to benefit from growing numbers of tourists in Macau drawn to shopping and other non-gambling attractions at Cotai's resorts, with new transportation links making it easier to travel across from mainland China.
The opening of the casino had been delayed several times, with the global recession and credit crunch halting the project several times as well as delays related to government restrictions on the amount of foreign workers that could be used during construction.