Sands rakes in profits for Venetian
Freda Wan in Macau
The Sands casino in Macau, which opened its doors on May 18 last year, recorded revenue of $3.11 billion during its first 71/2 months of operation.
The figures were released yesterday when the company that runs the casino, Venetian Macau, the first American player to challenge the enclave's established gaming monopoly, announced its results for last year.
The company, a subsidiary of New York Stock Exchange-listed Las Vegas Sands, posted net earnings of $952 million for the year to December.
Most of the revenue came from the Sands casino, which has 360 gaming tables and 849 slot machines, but food and beverage accounted for $127.6 million, while its 50 hotel suites raked in $2.59 million.
Hotel operations play only a supporting role at the Sands, Macau auditor Leong Kam-chuen told the Chinese-language Macao Daily News. 'Even if the number is zero it doesn't matter,' he said.
In the coming years, Macau casino-hotels would offer discounts to gambling customers, or even allow gamblers to use chips to pay for accommodation, Mr Leong said.
This could heighten competition for hotels without a casino on the premises.
In 2003, when the Sands was still under construction, Venetian Macau reported a $94.3 million loss.
Venetian Macau owns assets valued at $3.66 billion.
The company is developing a 12,000-room, $14.4 billion casino-resort on Cotai, which is due to open in 2007.
Wynn Resorts is expected to open its 600-room casino-hotel next year.