Business tycoon Stanley Ho Hung-sun had monopoly rights on gambling in Macau for decades. His private company, Sociedade de Turismo e Diversoes de Macau (STDM), once accounted for two-thirds of Macau's gross domestic product. But rather than renewing his licence when it expired in 2002, Macau's government dissolved his monopoly and solicited bids for three new casino licences. The winners, the primary concession-holders, were each entitled to grant one sub-concession. Among the 21 companies competing for the lucrative concessions were the global gaming industry's top operators. In the one industry that combines glitz, superstition, destiny and the hardest-headed businessmen in the world, Wynn Resorts won the jackpot. Steve Wynn reversed Las Vegas' moribund fortunes in the early 1990s by creating a series of over-the-top themed casino-resorts, the Mirage, Bellagio and Treasure Island resorts among them. Mr Wynn's first company, Miracle Mirage Resorts, transformed Las Vegas into a middle-class family destination. Five years ago, the casino-resort impresario lost control of his hotel empire in a hostile takeover staged by MGM's Kirk Kerkorian, but Mr Wynn is making a splashy comeback with his Wynn Las Vegas, and has another high-end 'concept' resort, Encore, in the works. His Wynn Macau, a US$700 million project, opens on Avenida da Amizade, opposite the Hotel Lisboa, in September. Mr Wynn also owns 21.85 hectares on the Cotai Strip, which he intends to develop into yet another luxury mega-resort. The Wynn company sold its sub-concession to Australian Publishing and Broadcasting's executive chairman James Packer in partnership with Lawrence Ho Yau-lung, Stanley Ho's son and director of Melco International Development. For the chance to buy the last available sub-licence, Mr Packer and Lawrence Ho ponied up US$900 million. The team plans to build a high-end casino and hotel complex, the Park Hyatt, scheduled for an autumn opening this year, as well as a Cotai Strip resort, City of Dreams, to be completed in 2008. Next in the equation comes Hong Kong property tycoon Lui Che-woo and his son, Francis Lui Yiu-tung, who purchased Galaxy through his family's K. Wah Construction Materials. To jump-start their entry into the casino business, they transformed an empty office building on the Avenida da Amizade into the Waldo hotel and casino. Also in the works are another hotel and casino, the Galaxy Star World and Galaxy Cotai Mega Resort on the Cotai Strip. Galaxy sold its sub-concession to Las Vegas Sands. Casino tycoon Sheldon Adelson gave local punters their first taste of Vegas-style glitz and glamour when the Macau Sands opened in Macau in May 2004. So popular was the 163,000 sq ft casino that the Sands corporation made back its US$265 million investment within its first year. Rising on Cotai is the even more extravagant Venetian Macao, a US$1.8 billion clone of the original Las Vegas resort. Mr Adelson has also been a moving force behind the development of Cotai into an Asian version of the Las Vegas Strip. Perhaps as a consolation prize, STDM was allowed to retain its gambling licence. STDM rakes in the lion's share of gaming profits as it controls all but a handful of Macau's casinos. Mr Ho sold his sub-concession to his daughter, Pansy Ho Chiu-king, and her joint-venture partner MGM Mirage. The 50-50 partnership plans to build the MGM Grand Macau casino resort. The US$975 million waterfront project is slated to open in 2007. MGM Mirage became Ms Ho's partner, having lost out on the bidding for one of Macau's primary gambling licences.