Sunday, May 31, 2009

James Packer's biggest casino venture opens in Macau today - The Daily Telegraph - 1st June 2009

It is arguably James Packer's biggest and boldest venture, a key pillar in the man's grand plan of global gaming dominance. And it opens today.

It is the much-hyped City of Dreams, a colossal casino resort on Macau's glitzy Cotai Strip and the second instalment from Melco Crown (MPEL), the company jointly owned by Packer's Crown Limited, and Melco.

There is no disputing the fanfare with which the grandiose complex will open, but what is a hot topic is whether the venture will be a success.

The timing, amid a global meltdown and hampered by a forced slowdown of tourists entering Macau, is not helpful.

But it does have one key advantage. It is the only casino opening in Macau this year, after much-larger projects were postponed.

One gaming analyst told The Daily Telegraph the City of Dreams "was a sink or swim moment" for MPEL.

But UBS analysts believes product offering, and most surprisingly timing, will make City of Dreams a success.

"Against the context of limited supply growth, improving market revenue trends, and City of Dream's scale and product, MPEL is arguably in the right place at the right time," the analysts said in a report.

Melco Crown suffered an inglorious start to life in Macau with Crown Macau failing to attract the punters due to its location and public perceptions that the complex had Feng Shui design issues.

Recently reborn as Altira Macau, the complex has since flourished thanks to the significant revenue generated by VIP gamblers ferried in from Hong Kong.

MPEL does hold a licence to build a third casino complex in Macau, but has not committed to plans as yet. (Credit: The Daily Telegraph)

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