Galaxy Casino stood little chance of winning one of the Macau casino concessions as recently as a week ago - but all that changed when one of Las Vegas' biggest players decided to join forces with the group. The Venetian, one of the biggest resort casinos in Las Vegas with 3,036 guest rooms, told the bidding committee it had switched its allegiances from a Taiwanese-linked bid and teamed up with Galaxy last Friday. Hong Kong magnate Lui Che-woo is one of the main Galaxy shareholders. Francis Tam Pak-yuen, president of the tender committee, said the Venetian informed officials it no longer held any shares in the original bid - Asian American Entertainment Corporation. Mr Tam, who is also Macau's Secretary for Economy and Finance, said the committee had been giving the Venetian top marks because of its development concept and the group's experience in hosting international exhibitions. 'Regardless of which companies the Venetian is with, what we've considered are its own credentials,' Mr Tam said. He admitted that Galaxy Casino would have had a slimmer chance of winning before joining up with the Venetian. 'While the Galaxy Casino's rating was not high at that time, I'm not saying that it does not have any strength at all,' Mr Tam said. Asked if there was any political consideration behind the Venetian's change of its bidding partner Mr Tam said the Government had not intervened in the decision-making process. Macau's Va Kio Pou newspaper yesterday reported that the former Kuomintang finance chief Liu Tai-ying was one of the bosses of Asian American. While the Venetian changed its bidding partner a day after the deadline allowed for bidders to apply for a merger, Mr Tam said changes in shareholders did not need approval under the bidding rules. Mr Tam said the Venetian had at least 30 per cent of Galaxy Casino's shares. The other main shareholders include the family of Hong Kong property magnate Mr Lui, who is chairman of K-Wah International, Alfred Tsai and Pedro Ho On-chun, who is from Macau. Yip Wai-chau, son of the late casino mogul Yip Hon, was originally listed as one of the administrators of Galaxy. But his name did not appear among the major shareholders list. Galaxy's success represents Mr Lui's first major foray into Macau. He made headlines in April when a homemade coffin with his name emblazoned on it was delivered to the Grand Stanford Harbour View Hotel, which he owns, in Mody Road. He told police he had no enemies and did not know who would do such a thing or why. Mr Lui, a father of five who is in his early 70s, is a member of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference and a golf enthusiast who plays with the likes of tycoon Li Ka-shing. His hotel group, Stanford International Hotels, has prospered from being a single hotel in Hong Kong in the 1980s to a chain of more than 21 hotels in the US. The chain was listed as one of the 12 largest hotel groups in the US in 1998. In an interview with the Sunday Morning Post in December 2000, Mr Lui said: 'I have been in business for 50 years but I never thought I wanted to do big business. We just have to progress with society.'