City of Dreams: Macao's $2.1 Billion Gamble

Fireworks explode over businessman James Packer and CEO of Melco Entertainment Lawrence Ho's 'City of Dreams' casino on June 1, 2009 in Cotai, Macau, China. Victor Fraile/Getty Images

Just hours before the official opening on June 1 of Macao's latest and slickest casino, the $2.1 billion City of Dreams, Melco Crown Entertainment (MPEL) co-chairmen Lawrence Ho and James Packer took turns at being rock stars, smashing electric guitars at a photo opportunity at the resort's Hard Rock Hotel. The two didn't explain the symbolism, leaving it to reporters to wonder whether they mean to pulverize their competition, which includes Las Vegas Sands (LVS), MGM Mirage (MGM), Wynn Resorts (WYNN) and SJM (controlled by Ho's father, Stanley). Then again, Packer, too, is the son of a tycoon, the late billionaire Kerry Packer. So the guitar smashing could perhaps represent a break with the past in an industry controlled by the previous generation.

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