HONG KONG (AP) — Casino operator Wynn Macau Ltd. said Monday it has signed a land deal with the Macau government to build its second casino-resort in Macau, the world's most lucrative gambling market.
Wynn Macau said it formally accepted the land concession contract on Friday for 51 acres of reclaimed swampland in the Cotai district so it can build a resort with a hotel, casino, shopping, restaurants, entertainment, spa and convention space.
The company, controlled by U.S. billionaire Steve Wynn, opened its first casino September 2006 in the former Portuguese colony that is, like nearby Hong Kong, now a special administrative region of China.
Wynn Macau is joining rivals who are expanding their casino operations in Macau, which has been the world's most lucrative casino market since 2006, powered by wealthy high-rollers from mainland China.
Wynn Macau will pay more than $193 million in land premiums, split into a down payment and eight semiannual payments, to the Macau government for the 25-year land lease, which it can renew for additional periods. The government is also charging Wynn Macau $771,738 a year in rent during the resort's development, which will go up to about $1.08 million when the project is finished. The government can review the rent every five years.
Wynn Macau has 60 months to finish the project once the government publishes the land contract in its official gazette.
Macau is the only place in China where casinos are legal and its economy has boomed since a four-decade gambling monopoly was broken up in 2002.
In 2010, Macau raked in $23.5 billion in gambling revenue, 58 percent more than the year before. Revenue has continued to rocket this year, surging 57 percent in August over the year before.
Wynn has said previously that he wants the casino to be open by 2015 and that it could cost up to $2.5 billion. He has said the resort will include 1,500 to 1,600 hotel rooms, roughly 500 table games and 1,300 slot machines, with 12 acres left over for further expansion.
The Wynn casino will join rivals on the Cotai Strip including the Galaxy Macau, which opened in May, and the Venetian Macau, owned by U.S. billionaire Sheldon Adelson's Sands China Ltd.
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