Las Vegas Sands Corp chairman and chief executive Sheldon Adelson says the opening of Sands Macao played an essential role in the development of the gaming industry in Macau.
“The ‘Sands effect’ kicked off what I predicted at that time would be the entertainment capital of Asia,” Mr Adelson said today in a speech in Macau, highlighting “the level of excitement that a Western operator brought to Asia”.
He added: “Everybody predicted that I would fail; I didn’t. I predicted our success.”
Mr Adelson said his company has kept its word to the Macau government when it first was granted a casino licence in Macau in 2002. Among other things, it has brought several major international hotel brands to Macau, he said.
The octogenarian casino tycoon is in Macau for the official celebrations of the 10th anniversary of Sands Macao, which opened on May 18, 2004. “That was one of the most exciting days of my life”, Mr Adelson said.
The property, owned by Las Vegas Sands subsidiary Sands China Ltd, was the first casino to open in Macau after the gaming liberalisation in 2002. It was also the first Las Vegas-style casino in the city.
Mr Adelson pointed out that Sands Macao was initially planned as a temporary casino, until his company was able to have a larger property in Cotai, what happened in August 2007, with the opening of Venetian Macao. “But as you can see … [Sands Macao] it is quite permanent.”
He unveiled the property will undergo renovations to add more retail space and one more entrance. “We are going to keep this property up with the new properties.”
Mr Adelson forecast the Macau casino market would reach new heights once the massive Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge is ready. With a budgeted cost of US$10.7 billion, the project is expected to open in two years.
“We will see a resurgence of activity because essentially Macau will … get a ready-made second airport, servicing 100 airlines that are servicing 180 different cities.
“Macau, we have to get ready for what is going to happen within the next two years,” Mr Adelson said.
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Lionel Leong Vai Tac
Macau’s Secretary for Economy and Finance