alaxy Entertainment, the company which owns the casino is headed by Lui Che Woo, a billionaire from Hong Kong. In recent years, authorities have been trying to turn Macau from a gaming city into a tourist destination.
The opening on Sunday had much fanfare with firecrackers, a traditional lion dance and women dressed in peacock feathers. The hotel at the Galaxy Macau will have 2,200 rooms, run by hotel brands Banyan Tree and Japanese Okura.
Tropical and Japanese gardens, a Japanese tea pavilion, a Scottish-themed whiskey bar, 50 restaurants, a private members' club and a shopping street are other draws. A nine-screen 3-D movie theater is to open later this year.
The launch of Macau's 34th casino comes as the city seeks to diversify its economy away from gambling after years of searing growth that helped it overtake Las Vegas as the world's top casino market.
"We are happy to follow the Macau government's development strategy and build new momentum not driven by gaming culture," said Galaxy Chairman Lui Che-woo, a Hong Kong-based billionaire who built his fortune on property and construction.
The company expects a third of visitors to be high-rollers while the rest will be the so-called mass market, said Galaxy Vice Chairman Francis Lui, who is Lui Che-woo's son.
Galaxy is hoping to attract visitors from other Asian countries such as Japan who will stay at least two days, half a day longer than average, Francis Lui said. The average length of stay for Las Vegas visitors is 3.6 days. He added that the casino has capacity to add another 150 gambling tables, depending on demand.
The Galaxy Macau is located on the Cotai region, a new part of Macau which in coming years is expected to attract a lot more development. It is already home to the Venetian Macau, Sheldon Adelson's casino, and there are planned projects from Wynn Resorts, and Stanley Ho's SJM Holdings.
Authorities are hoping it will eventually follow Las Vegas, and diversify Macau's economy away from gambling. Nonetheless, that gambling revenue has propelled Macau past Las Vegas and made it the world's top casino market.