Sheldon Adelson says he wants to build more in Macau

US casino magnet Sheldon Adelson said on Tuesday he was interested in building even more integrated resorts in Macau now that he has completed the development of all six plots of land he was granted by the government.

Adelson, chairman, CEO and executive director of Sands China, made the remarks during a press conference ahead of the grand opening of The Parisian in Cotai.

Huge crowds gathered outside the half-scale replica Eiffel Tower during the opening ceremony that featured fireworks and shows. Adelson also hosted a gala dinner attended by about 1,500 people from different sectors including top government officials and legislators in Macau.

The Parisian officially opened at 8:18 p.m. – a highly auspicious moment since the time, according to Chinese numerology, means getting rich.

The resort debuted with about 1,600 slot machines and 410 gambling tables

“My dream was to have, actually, I wanted 20 properties, but we only got six lots. We’re very happy with this, we’re not unhappy, and with the opening of The Parisian tonight [last night] we have completed the available land and parcels on what I call the Cotai Strip,” Adelson said.

The 83-year-old mogul also said that he had chosen to open the Parisian now because he was optimistic that “we have hit the bottom” after seeing a slight increase in revenue in August after a 26-month continuous drop.

“Now, is it sustainable for a long time to come? I can’t answer that question, but based upon the pre-bookings we have, the convention bookings we have, I think we have essentially hit the bottom,” Adelson said, pointing out that while analysts predict a “V-turn” in gaming revenue with an immediate high spike, he predicts the growth will be gradual.

“So, Macau still has very good days to come,” Adelson added, saying that although he could not predict the growth in ages, he was “optimistic about the future”.

The Parisian, which says it offers “affordable luxury” to the mass market, is the latest and the last project of Sands China in Macau, at least for the moment, after debuting with Sands in Nape in 2004, followed by the Venetian and Sands Cotai Central, comprising seven hotel brands bringing a total of 13,000 hotel rooms to Macau.

“We’ve got six lots; we’ve filled up the six lots. If I had six more, I’ll build a lot sooner and a lot faster than the first 10 years,” Adelson said, “I could build six more lots in five or six years, each lot with a 3,000-room property. So if the government is listening, we’re interested in building more here.”

Adelson said that since he was able to break even in one year with his Sands property in Nape, he hopes The Parisian would do the same – or at least within four years.

“I’d be disappointed if it [breakeven] is in more than four years,” Adelson said.

Regarding his company’s sub-concession agreement with the government that is due to expire in 2022, Adelson said he was “very hopeful” that the government will renew it based on his company’s effort in bringing non-gaming elements to the city.

“We’re certainly very hopeful and optimistic that if what the government says that they want non-gaming, then we have more non-gaming than any [of the] other five concessionaires and sub-concessionaires,” Adelson said.

“We are the first concessionaire to emphasise non-gaming in all of its components, I’d like to say that our competitors have not yet caught up with us,” Adelson said, pointing out that as the government was encouraging more non-gaming attractions, he suspects that his rivals will follow suit and put more non-gaming elements in their properties as well.

“But we’re so far ahead of the game it’ll be very difficult for them to catch up,” he added.

With all Macau projects done for the time being, Adelson said he was interested in investing in Taiwan, Japan and South Korea, but did not reveal any specifics about the projects.(Macau News / The Macau Post Daily)