Macau Casino Billionaire’s Son Announces Plan to Develop a Theme Park

Macau Casino Billionaire’s Son Announces Plan to Develop a Theme Park

The casinos of Macau have been very friendly to Stanley Ho’s family. He has made billions from his casinos. His family owns 17 casinos in the island territory, including the Grand Lisboa. Although Ho has retired from the daily running of SJM Holdings, his children are continuing to expand this empire. One of his sons recently announced the revival of an entertainment project that went cold more than eight years ago. He has his sights set on building an amusement park. Macau is looking to attract more families to the area through amusement parks and activities for families. However, the land the amusement park would sit on is the subject of a land grab. Other developers want to build on it.

Macau’s Gambling Market

macau casinoMacau has been the most lucrative gambling market in the world since 2007. This was the first year that its revenue topped that of Las Vegas. Now, the market does business at a rate six times that of Las Vegas. Recently, there have been questions about whether Macau can continue this success because of interference from the Chinese government. China has been cracking down on what it has called money laundering and corruption in the Macau casinos. This has resulted in revenue shortfalls for the casinos. The casinos are only now beginning to show signs of recovery.

Gambling has been legal in the former Portuguese colony since the 1850s. The Portuguese government returned Macau to China in 1999. The Chinese government decided to leave the laws that governed gambling in Macau alone. Macau’s economy relies heavily on gambling and tourism for government revenue. Gambling generates 40 percent of the GDP of Macau.

The New Development

The Ho family wants to open Macau Theme Park and Resorts, with an 820-room hotel and family-style resort facilities. The family still hopes to open a theme park on the land by 2025. The hotel resort, with its new facilities, will cost SJM Holdings $638 million. However, current legislation and regulation have made it difficult to move forward.

The Long Wait

SJM Holdings has been the owner of the land as it has worked to gather the legal documentation it needs. However, there have been delays that have lasted nearly a decade. The family is hoping to clear all the legal hurdles to open a theme park by 2025. However, the family is facing pressure from others who want to snap up the land to build another casino.

This is particularly true of the Cotai Strip, which is where the bulk of the Las Vegas Strip-style gambling is. The land for the amusement park is on the Cotai Strip. That means the value of the land has skyrocketed in the last decade.

In addition, the Chinese government has threatened to seize the land. According to a 2013 law, the government can seize the land to deter developers from holding on to it. The purpose is to keep them from profiting from soaring land prices. So far, the government has seized more than 100 plots of land.

Arnaldo Ho, Stanley Ho’s son, and his Arnaldo’s mother, Angela Leong, announced the amusement park in 2010. At the time, the project was going to feature five hotels, gaming, and amusement park rides. In addition, the family wanted to add an equestrian center and facilities for meetings and conventions. The hope was that the amusement park would attract families to Macau. The family wanted to follow Vegas’ theme park-like hotels and attractions in order to compete with Las Vegas. Each hotel was going to sponsor a character theme, such as Hello Kitty, with rooms and attractions using that theme.

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