Galaxy to Spend $7 Billion More on Macau Casino ExpansionJill Mao and Billy Chan
Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd., the casino operator controlled by billionaire Lui Che Woo, plans to spend about HK$57 billion ($7.4 billion) more to expand in Macau and will recreate New York’s Broadway theater district to woo more visitors.
The company will add a 3,000-seat entertainment theater, accompanied by live entertainers, shows and performances as well as 120 bars and restaurants, according to the company. Galaxy has committed HK$100 billion to Macau’s Cotai strip, with a part of it already invested.
Galaxy joined casino operators including Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd. and Sands China Ltd. in shifting resources away from high-rollers to draw vacationing Chinese and other mass-market gamblers as Macau diversifies its economy that relies on casinos for more than 80 percent of government revenue. Melco announced last week it plans to open a family entertainment center with Time Warner Inc. that will have a Batman virtual reality ride.
“What we’ll do is make it more diverse, from entertainment, leisure, culture and art, we will continue to expand,” Lui Che Woo said at a press conference in Hong Kong today. “This is to meet the requests from the country and Macau.”
The second phase of Galaxy Macau and Broadway at Galaxy Macau, previously called the Grand Waldo complex, will be opened on May 27, the company said. Galaxy bought Grand Waldo in 2013. Francis Lui, deputy chairman and Lui Che Woo’s son, said he’s in talks with the government on the number of gambling tables it will get.
Galaxy has said it has the capacity to add as many as 500 gambling tables to the second phase of Galaxy Macau.
Shares of Galaxy rose 1.5 percent to close at HK$39.5 in Hong Kong. The benchmark Hang Seng Index gained 1.3 percent.
The expanded Galaxy Macau will have high-end restaurants and more than 200 retail high-street and luxury stores. Galaxy is hiring 8,000 workers this year.
Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Macau last month and urged the city to diversify the economy that relies the casino industry. It called on the government to nurture new growth areas and build a global tourism and leisure center.
Macau, the only Chinese city where gambling is legal, suffered the first annual decline in 2014 as Xi’s anti-graft drive turned away high-end players who contributed to 60 percent of the city’s gambling takings last year.
Earlier this month Melco Crown, headed by billionaire Lawrence Ho and his Australian billionaire partner James Packer, said it will open a family entertainment center with Time Warner Inc. at its new $3.2 billion Macau casino.
Lui Che Woo has a net worth of $11.7 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
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