Wynn lifts curtain on Macau casino-resort

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 04 May, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 04 May, 2005, 12:00am

Updated at 6.30pm:
Casino operator Wynn Resorts on Wednesday announced that its massive casino-resort complex in Macau, set to open in the third quarter of next year, would offer 600 hotel rooms, a 100,000-square foot casino, a shopping mall, seven restaurants and other entertainment facilities.

The Wynn Macau resort?s site would cover 11 acres (4.5 hectares) of the 16 acres of land the operator had leased from the Macau government, the firm said, giving details of the project for the first time. Nasdaq-listed Wynn Resorts plans to use the remaining five acres of land and spend US$354 million (HK$2.76 billion) to build an extension.

The extension would be attached to the complex currently under construction. It would provide a further 85,000 square feet of casino space, two restaurants, a theatre and a feature attraction at its entrance. Wynn Resorts said construction works for the extension would begin in the third quarter of this year. It expected to open the extension as early as 2007.

The casino operator said it intended to increase its present Wynn Macau senior debt facilities to fund the expansion and had engaged Deutsche Bank, Societe Generale and Bank of America to arrange the financing.

The Las Vegas-based company Wynn Resorts was started by leading United States businessman Steve Wynn. Mr Wynn, 63, is famous for developing some of the world?s largest and most modern casinos.

These include the Golden Nugget in Atlantic City which was built in 1980. In 1986, Mr Wynn bought the large area of land near Caesar?s Palace, across the Strip from the Desert Inn.

He then sold the Atlantic City Nugget for a reported US$440 million. This let him build his ?dream resort? ? the Mirage, in 1989. The 3,000 room Mirage was the first major resort built on the Strip since the original MGM Grand (now Bally?s) at Flamingo Road and Las Vegas Boulevard.

Wynn Resorts? entry into the Macau casino industry will add a major new dimension to a gambling industry traditionally monopolised by tycoon Stanley Ho Hung-sun.

Mr Ho?s Sociedade de Jogos de Macau (SJM) casinos have dominated the enclave for 39 years. Gambling has created considerable wealth for Macau during this time, helping it transform itself from a quiet colonial outpost into a modern Asian city. In recent years, Macau has built modern infrastructure enabling it to develop its close relationship with the mainland and Hong Kong. It was returned to central government rule in December 1999.

Macau?s gambling industry changed forever in 2001 ? when casino licenses were offered to other operators, including US casino tycoons Sheldon Adelson and Mr Wynn.