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New casino in Macau

By Daniel Michaels, Mar 28th 2007
New casino in Macau
MGM Mirage owner made public the intention of building a new casino in Macao this year. The proposed MGM Mirage casino would be built in partnership with Pansy Ho, daughter of Stanley Ho, one of the most influential gambling businessmen in the world. The location of the new casino is planned to be somewhere around Cotai Strip.

It seems it is a very profitable area. Las Vegas Sands Corp also operates gambling activities here, the same group that plans to open Venetian Macau Casino this year and in the next three years, hopes to open another seven casinos around this area. The costs of Venetian Macau Casino are estimated at $2.4 billion and the rest of the casinos at $11 billion.

Another company Wynn Resorts Ltd. is still interested in developing businesses in Cotai. Wynn Resorts Ltd already opened a casino here and has intentions to build other casinos.

MGM Mirage and Pansy Ho resort will have 600 hotel rooms and a casino with 345 table games and 1,035 slot machines. The costs for MGM Grand Macau, in which the two owners are equal partners, are estimated at $1.1 billion dollars.

Now the gaming regulators from Nevada want to be assured that Pansy Ho's business interests are separate from those of her father, who owns several gambling centers in Macau over which plans the accusation that his casinos have been involved with organized crime.

Stanley Ho's business holdings include hotels, real estate, a ferry route, Macau's largest department store, an airline and a racetrack. And also he is known as one of the most controversial figure in Chinese business circles.

Pansy is expected to attend the subpoena in front of Nevada gaming regulators. The control board would make a recommendation on her suitability, which the Nevada Gaming Commission would then take up at a later date.

Some partners of Pansy sustain her. For example, MGM Mirage Chairman Terry Lanni has said in different interviews he has no doubts about Pansy Ho's independence from her father.

Gaming Control Board Chairman Dennis Neilander said “The process is evolving in Macau so I'm sure there are some timing issues in this type of matter".

Deutsche Bank gaming analyst Bill Lerner declared that the announcement may express MGM Mirage's confidence that Pansy Ho will be found suitable by Nevada gaming authorities.

Bear Stearns gaming analyst Mr. Joe Greff said that this announcement may not be a surprise to investors, as second and third Macau projects between MGM Mirage and Pansy Ho have long been discussed by current operators in the Macau market.

The Macau market is developing further. And why not? The earnings from gambling in Macau were reported of more than 6.95 billion in 2006

Lerner mentioned that this gives the occasion for people to reclaim the land. So did Chinese engineers from the South China Sea in between the islands of Coloane and Taipa.

In 2005, published reports said New Jersey gaming regulators had begun looking at MGM Mirage's relationship with Pansy Ho, the oldest of Stanley Ho's 17 children. MGM Mirage co-owns the Borgata in Atlantic City with Boyd Gaming Corp.

Harry Curtis, an analyst at JP Morgan Securities, sustain that MGM Mirage may be willing to sacrifice its 50 percent interest in the Borgata to preserve its Macau joint venture in case New Jersey regulators don’t approve a license for Pansy Ho.

Control Board sources said Pansy Ho does not need a Nevada gaming license because she is not operating a Las Vegas casino. So she can be considered for suitability.

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