Six years ago, when Las Vegas resort impresario Steve Wynn embarked on a new project in Macau, China, times were better there. But gaming income in the tiny principality have been plunging—it dropped 34 percent to $29 billion last year, and this year, it is projected to dwindle by another 13 percent. Chinese tourists, the chief market in Cotai, Macau, have been staying away in droves, and even as their numbers rebuild, they're not spending as much as they were earlier in the decade.
Hardly the ideal time to open a new 1,706-room resort costing a reported US$4.2 billion. Yet on Monday at 8pm, Steve Wynn will roll the dice when his new Wynn Palace officially opens its doors to the Chinese market. “Only time will say where does the market settle,” Wynn optimistically told the Financial Times. He thinks his casino will still return a modest return—he declines to guess when he might break even—because ultimately, the Chinese people love to gamble.
What kind of facility will entice them? Something very much in the Vegas mold. We'll let the official press release set the scene: "The floral-themed Wynn Palace will transport guests into a world of beauty, excitement and entertainment, starting with a breathtaking ride in air-conditioned SkyCabs that traverse the stunning 8-acre Performance Lake and into the heart of the resort." There's also a bevy of luxury stores (of course) and a US$35 million Jeff Koons "Tulip" sculpture. However, the Wynn Palace only received permits to operate a third of the gaming tables it had originally requested, Reuters reported.
Wynn is worth an estimated US$2.9 billion. Sheldon Adelson, another Vegas gambling magnate (and operator of the local Vegas newspaper), is worth nearly $30 billion—and his own Macau property, the Parisian, opens on Sept. 13.
(Credit: Barbara Kraft)