HONG KONG — Casino giant MGM China Holdings said Thursday it has received approval to build a new HK$20 billion ($2.5 billion) giant gaming resort in the world's biggest gambling hub of Macau.
The firm, a tie-up between Las Vegas-based MGM Resorts International and Pansy Ho, daughter of Macau gambling tycoon Stanley Ho, said in a statement the approval came after it signed a land concession deal with the government.
The new resort, to be built on a 71,833-square-metre (17.8 acre) site on the Cotai Strip, which houses rival casinos including Sands China, will feature 1,600 hotel rooms, 500 gaming tables and 2,500 slot machines.
MGM China Holdings said construction is expected to take three years.
The announcement of the new casino project highlights intense competition for the former Portuguese colony's gaming sector, despite the fact that gaming revenue growth has fallen from the stunning highs of the past three years as China's economic boom slows.
Official statistics showed Macau's gambling revenue in September increased 12 percent year-on-year to 23.87 billion patacas ($2.99 billion). The city posted a 42 percent rise in gambling revenue in 2011 compared to 2010.
Semi-autonomous Macau, the only part of China where casino gambling is legal, overtook Las Vegas as the world's gaming capital in terms of revenue after the sector was opened up to foreign competition in 2002.
Six firms are licensed to operate casinos in Macau, which was handed back to Beijing in 1999.
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