Casino operator Las Vegas Sands to open second retail mall in Macau - Wednesday 30th of April 2008

Las Vegas Sands Corp. plans to open its second retail mall in Macau in July as part of the companys latest expansion in the booming Chinese gambling enclave, its senior executives said Thursday.

The 210,000 square foot (19,510 square meter) mall, featuring over 100 brands, will be the second development for the company to launch on reclaimed land on the Cotai Strip after its flagship casino and hotel resort Venetian Macao opened last August.

The company, owned by American billionaire Sheldon Adelson, also plans to open three more shopping malls on the strip in the coming years to inject a wider range of international brands under its "Flagship Luxury" retail development, said David Sylvester, vice president of Retail Development Asia of Las Vegas Sands.

The three additional malls will bring Las Vegas Sands store total to 1,200 shops on 3 million square foot (280,000 square meter) of retail space on the strip, the company said.

"Were trying to cater for everybody, so if anyone comes to the strip, theres nothing they cant purchase. Theres nothing they cant obtain," Sylvester said.

Macau, the only place in China casino gambling is allowed, has enjoyed strong economic growth since ending a casino monopoly in 2002 and letting in Las Vegas operators like Steve Wynn and Adelson. Since then, it has transformed itself from primarily a casino town for day-tripping gamblers, into a multi-day tourist destination for conventioneers, shoppers and families, while still maintaining its appeal to punters.

The former Portuguese colony now rivals Nevada in gambling revenue. Last year, casinos in Macau pulled in more than US$10.3 billion (€6.54 billion) in revenues, according to the government. That is up from 2006, when Macaus casinos rang up US$6.95 billion in gambling revenue. Revenues on the Las Vegas Strip were US$6.69 billion that year, according to regulators.

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