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Packer opens casino in Macau
Last Updated(Beijing Time):2007-05-09 14:50
Melco PBL Entertainment (Macau) Ltd, a venture between Australia's richest man and billionaire Stanley Ho's son, opens its first casino today in the city that overtook the Las Vegas Strip in gaming revenue last year.

The Nasdaq-listed venture between Publishing & Broadcasting Ltd Chairman James Packer, 39, and Lawrence Ho, 30, built the US$500 million Crown Macau casino-hotel on the Taipa Island. Melco PBL plans to borrow as much as US$2.7 billion to finance new gaming houses in Macau, said four people with direct knowledge of the matter.

Melco PBL will be competing against Stanley Ho and US operators including Las Vegas Sands Corp Chairman Sheldon Adelson and Stephen Wynn in the only place in China where casinos are legal, Bloomberg News said.

Foreign investors are betting at least US$25 billion on Macau over the next five years, Sean Monaghan, a Singapore-based analyst at Merrill Lynch & Co, said in an interview.

"Packer sees Macau as a platform" for the Asian market, said Jonathan Galaviz, a partner at Las Vegas-based gaming research firm Globalysis Ltd. Melco PBL and Lawrence Ho give Packer "exposure and experience to the operating environment."

Macau gaming revenue rose 22 percent to 55.9 billion patacas (US$6.93 billion) in 2006, surpassing the Las Vegas Strip as the world's biggest gambling hub in revenue for the first time. The Las Vegas Strip took in US$6.69 billion last year, according to data from the Nevada Gaming Control Board.

Source:Shanghai Daily 
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