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MACAO-The Las Vegas Sands has opened a $100-million expansion of its Sands Macao casino–the world’s largest with more than 700 tables. In addition, Las Vegas Sands is investing another $2.3 billion in the Venetian Macao, a 700-table casino and integrated resort facility that is scheduled to open in the middle of next year.

The 250-table expansion will increase the casino’s capacity by more than 50% to 710 tables. “What was already the largest casino in the world just became larger,” says Mark Brown, Sands Macao president.

The 2002 liberalization of Macao’s gambling industry has seen a dramatic increase in competition with top players including tycoon Stanley Ho and Steve Wynn, the US gaming magnate who will shortly open the territory’s first properly integrated casino and resort.

A research note published by a JP Morgan analyst says Wynn Resorts new casino would boost gambling demand in the region, resulting in overflow clients to Sands Macao. It adds that Wynn would drive stock price in the short term but approval of a proposed new development could drive shares in the long-term.

Las Vegas Sands has applied for consent for a new development on Hengquin Island, near Macao. The plans are likely to be approved, says the research note.

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