A US gaming mogul predicts it will hit the jackpot and overtake Las Vegas Macau will steal Las Vegas' title of casino capital of the world, American gaming mogul Sheldon Adelson has predicted. Mr Adelson, who heads one of the three companies allowed to run casinos in Macau, based his forecast on southern China's booming economy. The chairman of Las Vegas Sands - a partner with Hong Kong investors in the Galaxy Casino consortium building a casino and convention centre in Macau - said the city's gaming industry had 'one billion potential customers within a two-hour plane ride, and 60 million within a two-hour car ride'. 'Macau is going to surpass Las Vegas,' Mr Adelson told the annual meeting of the International Association of Exhibition Management at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas on Tuesday. He did not suggest when the free-wheeling western United States city would lose its international 'casino capital' crown. More than 33 million people travel to Las Vegas each year to gamble in its 200-plus casinos. Macau has just 11 casinos and a third the number of visitors. But Mr Adelson, whose classical Roman-themed Venetian complex in Las Vegas is the model for Galaxy's Venetian Macau casino, in July envisaged 20 mega resorts with 60,000 hotel rooms could be built on Cotai, a reclaimed area between the islands of Taipa and Coloane. As part of a US$1.1 billion deal with the Macau government, Galaxy is building a convention centre on the site that is scheduled to open in late 2006. Its casino, next to the Mandarin Oriental hotel, will open in March. Wynn Resorts Macau, will next year begin construction of a US$1 billion resort on Cotai. 'The idea is to create Asia's Las Vegas,' he told the South China Morning Post in announcing plans to create 'the most popular tourist destination in Asia'. The Jewish billionaire is seeking investors for the estimated US$12 billion project, which he said could be launched next year and be completed within three years. Galaxy last year won one of three casino concessions granted by Macau's government to end the four-decade monopoly held by tycoon Stanley Ho Hung-sun's Sociedade de Jogos de Macau. Mr Adelson said during negotiations for the casino concession he got the impression the central government was interested in developing Macau as a regional exhibition and business hub, rather than just a place for gaming.