Sheldon Adelson is planning a multibillion-dollar Venetian complex based on his luxury Las Vegas gambling haunt complete with gondolas and canals, shopping arcades and top-of-the-line-casinos. Steve Wynn is to create a massive gambling mecca and resort on the Macau waterfront and is said to be planning to invest up to $4 billion in the enclave. Stanley Ho Hung-sun has put a neon sign on top of the ageing Lisboa Hotel. Well, it's a start, but it isn't the facade that needs attention if Ho's newly formed Sociedade de Jogos de Macau is to avoid being overshadowed by the glamour boys from Nevada. Rags-to-riches Adelson says his key to success is knowing that money flows to the entrepreneur who focuses on the customer's requirements. Actually, the key to success in Hong Kong and Macau is to get yourself a nice lucrative monopoly, but failing that, he's right. And with Ho's 40-year exclusive casino rights in Macau at an end, it's time for him to start thinking about the customer in more ways than just shining a few neon lotus flowers in their eyes, or even by trying to compete with the luxury joints his new competitors promise to bring. For an experience at Ho's tables in the Lisboa, the flagship of his 11-casino empire, is for all but the hardened punter akin to being sent before the headmistress for a dressing down during your first day at school. Sit down in the wrong place and someone wearing a scruffy, old purple jacket will scowl at you. Place a bet at the wrong time and you'll get your chips chucked back with utter contempt. Win, though, and they'll probably take a cut. Complain about it and they'll breathe fire and do that throwing thing again, only this time the chips are likely to whizz across the floor, unless you are lucky enough to catch them in your ear. 'They are so rude,' one Chinese punter at the blackjack table said to me recently, before taking himself off to be abused elsewhere. Probably to the spartan 'bar' near the gambling floor, which is about as salubrious as my old school canteen - but at least at school we could sit down. The high-five American-style of entertainment might not be to everyone's liking, but the arrival of a bit of competition might at least wipe the contempt off the faces of the purple dragonladies, and make losing all that money at the tables an altogether more enjoyable experience.