International Companies Seek Piece of Macau - Sunday 12th of June 2005

"When MGM Mirage, a US-based hotel and casino company, broke its first ground here on Wednesday, it seemed that more and more international hands are seeking plays in Macau's casino boom.

"Mirage is to build a 975-million-US dollar casino resort, branded MGM Grand Macau, in the special administrative region, now the only territory of China where casino gambling is legal.

"The new casino will be located neighboring another which is under construction by the Las Vegas gambling operator Steve Wynn, and near the Lisboa hotel casino, owned by the local tycoon Stanley Ho, Pansy's father.

"'With the anticipated performance in Macao for the next five to10 years, it's not a question of whether the operators may be over-investing, but rather are they possibly under-investing,' [Terry Lanni, running officer of MGM Mirage,] told the gathering at the ceremony.

"The assumption elaborates why more and more western gaming businesses are stretching hands to the east.

" Macao's economy grew a record 28 percent in 2004, more than three times the pace of that in neighboring Hong Kong, where the lottery, horse racing and betting on soccer are the only legitimate forms of gambling"

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