A night view of the Venetian is seen during the opening ceremony in Macao August 28, 2007. [Reuters]
MACAO: American billionaire Sheldon Adelson opened what he claims is the world's largest casino floor housed in Asia's largest building yesterday, adding credence to this coastal Chinese city's claim to be a major gambling center.
Adelson and his wife Miriam inaugurated the $2.4 billion Venetian by smashing a bottle of champagne against the front of one of the casino and hotel complex's gondolas at a ribbon-cutting ceremony.
Casinos like the Wynn and Adelson's Sands have already helped this small city in South China surpass the Las Vegas Strip as the world's most lucrative gambling center.
Las Vegas Corp Chairman Adelson aims to take a step further with the 945,000 sq m Venetian.
He hopes the complex will transform Macao from a gambling pit stop for Chinese tourists to a vacation and business convention destination, where visitors can spend a few days shopping, watching shows - and rolling dice.
Macao's casinos are currently scattered across the territory, which comprises a peninsula connected to the mainland and two outlying islands linked by a reclaimed strip called Cotai.
Adelson hopes his Venetian Macao Resort Hotel on Cotai will help launch a massive, concentrated resort area he calls the Cotai Strip, after its Las Vegas counterpart.
Las Vegas Sands claims Venetian - twice the size of the Las Vegas original - is the largest building in Asia and the second largest in the world. Boeing Co claims it has the world's largest building - a plant in the US state of Washington.
The Venetian boasts what it claims to be the world's largest gaming space of 50,000 sq m, housing 3,400 slot machines - with room to expand to 6,000 - and more than 800 gambling tables.
It has 3,000 rooms, a 15,000-seat sports arena, retail space for 350 stores, 108,000 sq m of convention space, fine dining and a Cirque du Soleil-produced show.
Its decor aims to replicate the beauty of Venice - with a Chinese touch. Chinese-style sampans as well as gondolas will sail down canals. The resort also features a replica of Venice's St Mark's Square.
（英语点津 Linda 编辑）