he Las Vegas Sands chief told a press conference in Hong Kong, where his Macau unit Sands China was listed in November, that he expected revenue for the second half of 2010 to be up at least 30 % year-on-year. "This is not just in comparison with last year, but we also take into account the natural growth of the sector," he said.
Sands China, which runs the Venetian Macau, the Four Seasons and Sands Macau in the former Portuguese enclave, said it would open the first phase of its new gaming resort project on the Cotai Strip in 2011. Construction of the 12-billion-dollar project, which includes 20,000 hotel rooms, has restarted after it was brought to a halt during the financial crisis.
Macau, which was handed back to China in 1999, is the only Chinese city where casino gambling is allowed. It has overtaken Las Vegas in terms of gaming revenue after the sector was opened to foreign competition in 2002.
Las Vegas Sands announced in February that its losses in the fourth quarter of 2009 were trimmed by its Macau operations, which reported record revenues over the same period. The jump was led by Venetian Macau, which almost doubled its operating profit to us$ 119.7 million in the fourth quarter of 2009, from us$ 61.3 million a year earlier.
Adelson said the Macau government's recent move to limit the number of gaming tables would have a bigger impact on his integrated casino resorts, which cater for both VIP and mass markets, than his competitors which focus only on the VIP market.
"I don't want to criticise the Macau government. But is (the cap) the best for everybody? Probably not," he said. "Would I personally have come up with a 5,500 limit? No. I would have allowed it to grow and allow the market to weed out the number of tables."
Macau announced early this year that the total number of gambling tables would be capped at 5,500 until 2013 to promote the healthy development of the casino market as gambling revenue continues to soar. The government has repeatedly emphasised the need to diversify its economy to avoid heavy reliance on gaming.