Taipei (CENS) – In view of the thawing atmosphere across the Taiwan Strait, Las Vegas Sands Corporation is probing the opportunity of setting up a casino in Taipei or Kaohsiung, in case the Taiwanese government opens up casino establishment, said William Weidner, president of Sands, in an interview with the Chinese-language Economic Daily News, sister publication of Taiwan Economic News.
Weidner revealed that he recently went to Taiwan discussing with Taiwanese officials for the establishment of casino resort.
Weidner reported that Sands is no longer interested in setting up casino resort at the offshore island of Penghu, after the group abandoned the plan in 2000 due to the opposition of former Democratic Progressive Party running counter to ex-President Chen Shui-bian`s pledged support to the project initially. After aborting the Penghu plan, Sands moved to Macao, spending USD 1.4 billion to build a mega-resort casino the Venetian. Sands plans to sink USD 8 billion further in the project in the next several years.
The ideal sites for casino, said Weidner, are places with large population and convenient transportation, like Taipei and Kaohsiung.
An official of the Cabinet-level Council for Economic Planning and Development (CEPD), however, noted that the government still leans towards opening the establishment of casino at offshore islands. Planning and research for the opening will not be completed until the end of this year.
Merrill Lynch estimates that the Asian casino market will hit USD 14 billion in scale in 10 years, double the existing scale. Several Asian countries are rushing to tap that huge market, including Malaysia, South Korea, and Singapore. Singapore, for instance, is developing at full speed to develop two mega casino resorts, invested in by Sands and Malaysia’s Genting Group, respectively, at costs of 5 billion and 6 billion Singaporean dollars.