he us$ 2.1 billion City of Dreams project, just opposite to the Venetian casino, will open with 550 gaming tables and 1,500 slot machines in a 39,019 sqm gaming floor and will provide 2,200 guest-room suites and villas at the Crown Towers, Hard Rock Hotel and Grand Hyatt.
The first-phase project will start recruiting in the coming months to reach up to 7,000 employees of which 80 % would be from Macau. City Of Dreams will be Macau’s only big project opening this year. It is expected to receive 3,000 visitors a day. The 1,400-room property will be Cotai’s second mega-resort after the 3,000-room Venetian Macau, which opened across the street in August, 2007.
"Opening the City of Dreams now is actually not a bad thing, recruitment is easier now, we are not over-budget nor are we over-time. Financing is difficult now, but thankfully we did well in getting enough funds (for this project) in 2006 and 2007", Lawrence Ho pointed out.
"The worst period for Macau’s tourism industry is over, 2009 will get better," he said, although predicting a "very tough" first six months of this year in terms of gaming revenue. "I predicted a fall from 15 % to 30 %. It’s going to remain flat and then we will see single-digit growth later," he said.
Lawrence Ho Yau Lung, son of veteran casino mogul Stanley Ho, also said Thursday that he was interested in the gaming market in Taiwan after the island’s legislators on Monday passed a government-draft bill allowing casinos on outlaying islands such as the Penghu archipelago.
Macau Secretary for Economy and Finance Francis Tam Pak Yuen said in November last year he expected the gross gaming receipts of Macau’s six casino operators to reach just us$ 10.2 billion in 2009, a drop of 22.3 % compared with the sector’s expected gross receipts of us$ 13.12 billion last year.
The policy secretary’s forecast for gross gaming receipts in 2009 are 3.6 percentage points lower than those for the first nine months of 2008, which stood at us$ 10.5 billion. The gross gaming receipts are also 1.7 percentage points lower than those of the whole of 2007, which amounted to us$ 10.3 billion.