Bloomberg - The Biggest Gamble: Can Macau Beat the Odds? 5-15min

Despite a slowdown in China, the world's largest gaming center is doubling down on its future. ... Barely 10 years ago, Francis Lui and his family were building a relatively modest fortune largely from quarrying rock in Hong Kong and processing slag from blast furnaces on mainland China. Today, in the Chinese enclave of Macau, they preside over two palatial casinos that alone generate vastly more gaming revenue than the entire Las Vegas Strip. They're also acquiring a stake in the Monaco royal family-controlled company that operates the Casino de Monte-Carlo. ... the soft-spoken, U.S.-educated billionaire is in the process of placing a far bigger bet than any of the high rollers who wager as much as $250,000 a hand in the Galaxy’s most exclusive VIP rooms. Having just spent $3.1 billion doubling the size of the Galaxy, he’s now pressing ahead with another $7.4 billion worth of investments. And that’s just a part of the $27 billion that global casino companies such as Las Vegas Sands, Wynn Resorts, and MGM Resorts International plan to spend over the next few years in the world’s largest but most-troubled gaming market. ... Macau’s gaming revenue plummeted 37 percent to $15.2 billion in the first half of the year. During the 18 months ended in June, the decline wiped more than $100 billion from the value of six of the world’s biggest casino companies. ... Macau’s fate may be tied to developments on Hengqin, an island triple its size that’s located across a narrow strait. Galaxy is the first of Macau’s six casino licensees to acquire land on Hengqin, which is part of Guangdong province and which Beijing wants to develop into a nongaming leisure destination full of golf courses, Disney-esque theme parks, and other family-focused attractions. ... It all sounds like a pharaonic exercise in overbuilding. And yet tiny Macau, with only 27,000 hotel rooms, compared with Las Vegas’s 150,000, attracted 31.5 million visitors last year, two-thirds of them from the mainland and many of them day-trippers. The new construction aims to add 19,000 more rooms by 2018.