Sheldon: More Macau!

Sep 5, 2006 8:27 AM

Not to be outdone by Steve Wynn’s foray into Macau, Sheldon Adelson plans to invest "a couple of billion dollars" in an island resort complex on Hengqin Island in southern China, which will complement the casinos and hotels the his company plans to build in the nearby gambling enclave of Macau.

The business and residential complex on Hengqin Island will include 4 million square feet of convention space, 20,000 hotel rooms and as many as 30,000 apartments, according to published reports.

Adelson said that Las Vegas Sands (LVS) is close to receiving final approval for the complex from the Chinese government and hopes to break ground by the end of the year.

"This will be China’s Riviera," Adelson was quoted as saying in an interview.

Adelson added the facilities he envisions on Hengqin Island represent the next phase in LVS’s ambitious expansion into China.

In addition to the Sands, LVS is well along in construction of the Venetian Macao, a 3,000-room hotel and casino set to open next summer.

Hengqin — located next to Macau — is administratively part of the Chinese mainland and does not allow gambling. However, Adelson says he believes the island will provide a spacious hinterland for residences, golf courses, tennis villages and a marina that would support his casino investments in Macau.

He said it is hard to give a precise figure for the likely investment required at Hengqin, where the immediate need is for roads, seawalls and other basic infrastructure.

"We’ll start out with probably a couple of billion (dollars)" in investment, he said. "Ultimately, it could be 10 billion (or) 15 billion."