Ever since Chinese President Xi Jinping started his anti corruption crackdown, Chinese officials have stopped spending big at casinos in Macau, leading to a 20% decrease (approximately $46 billion) in the city’s economic output. While it might seem like there isn’t much to be optimistic about, American businessman Steve Wynn begs to disagree.
Wynn played a large role in transforming Las Vegas into the gambling Mecca back in the 1990s. Now, he has his eyes set on the Vegas of the East, the only place in China where gambling is technically legal. He started the project to build Wynn Palace, the most expensive and luxurious resort/casino the city has seen, back in 2011 when business better, and now the grand opening is only 3 days away.
The 28 billion RMB ($4.2 billion) resort, which Wynn emphasized is not for kids but adults, plans to have 100 to 400 gambling tables. The government in Macau has placed a cap on the available number of tables and Wynn has to allocate tables from existing casinos owned by him to make up for the number.
However, there is far more to do there than gambling there. The grandiose palace has an aerial and air-conditioned gondola, a fountain displaying synchronized water shows set to music, nearly 2,000 hotel rooms and the usual spa, fancy restaurants, salons and other swanky places.
In addition, there will also be numerous Chinese art pieces, antiques and vases displayed inside the resort, which are valued at around $200 million.
The success of Wynn’s palace will likely depend on the recovery of Macau’s market. When asked by a Bloomberg reporter about the future success of Wynn Palace and whether it could revive the market, Wynn answered in a guarded manner, “The last two places that opened did not cause the market to grow, did they? No. Will this one? Good question. We’ll get an answer to that in September or October. I’m anxious to see it myself.”
The new resort forecasts a 15 to 20% return on investment, but the figures are three to four times higher than the investment return on the two recently opened casinos, Studio City and Galaxy Phase Two, Financial Times reports.
Richard Huang, a gaming analyst in Hong Kong, speculated that if Wynn knew that the market would take a plunge in 2011, he would have spent a quarter of the amount building the palace, Reuters reports. Bad luck.
However, it’s not all bad news. In the past six months, there has been much excitement surrounding Wynn Palace and investment shares increased by almost 50%. The grand opening time is set at 8 p.m. on Monday, which is a rather auspicious time in China.
Watch their promotional video here:
[UPDATE: 8/22] A previous version of this story reported that the Wynn Palace will have a mini Eiffel Tower. That actually in front of another Macau property.
By Sarah Lin
[Images via Wynn Palace]