Feeling Lucky

Gaming companies are betting that bigger is decidedly better

Rendering of new Mohegan Sun casino

 

On the horizon: A new casino
for Connecticut’s Mohegan Sun,
part of the Project Horizon expansion

If there’s such a thing as a sure bet in the gaming industry, investors seem to believe it’s the profitability of combining upscale hotels and resorts with casinos.

“There is an unusual flow of capital into the gaming industry globally today,” says Eugene Christiansen, CEO of New York City-based Christiansen Capital Advisors LLC. Indeed, it’s an “unusual flow” to the tune of $50 billion of development in Las Vegas and Macau alone.

Following is a roundup of development news at different gaming destinations around the world as tracked by M&C’s editors and contributors. Most of these projects have been developed to cater to meeting groups.

Atlantic City

Long perceived as mostly geared toward vacationers, Atlantic City is making great strides at welcoming meeting planners. Six months ago, Trump Entertainment Resorts hired Gregg Caren away from convention facility manager SMG with the goal of bringing in more group business, which traditionally has been “relegated to nonsummer, midweek” dates, Caren says. Now, however, “we’ve pretty much kicked the door open to summer and weekend, much like Vegas,” he adds.

Trump Taj Mahal


Towering presence:
The Trump Taj Mahal is
adding an 800-room tower
to its Atlantic City property,
scheduled to open next fall.

Partly to make it more enticing for planners to bring in business, the three Trump properties (Taj Mahal, Marina, Plaza) are in the midst of a combined three-year, $500 million renovation and expansion. Half of that is funding an 800-room tower at the Trump Taj Mahal, to open in fall 2008.

The Borgata


The Puck stops here:
The Borgata in Atlantic City
has added a number of
new restaurants, including this
from Wolfgang Puck, and plans
to open an 800-room tower with
18,000 square feet of
meeting space next year.

The Borgata, the hotel that more than any other has defined the future of Atlantic City, completed last year an expansion of its amenities, adding more space to the casino, retail and dining areas. Wolfgang Puck, Bobby Flay and Michael Mina all opened restaurants there. Opening early next year will be The Water Club at Borgata, a $400 million, 800-room tower with 18,000 square feet of meeting space along with a 36,000-square-foot spa.

Not wanting to be left behind, Harrah’s Atlantic City is adding a tower of its own, with 964 rooms, bringing the total to 2,600. The tower opens in mid-2008; in the meantime, opening this year at Harrah’s will be a Red Door Spa with 24 treatment rooms.

As if all those towers weren’t enough, three new casinos are on the drawing boards. To begin with, Atlantic City-based freshman gaming company Revel Entertainment is designing one that will be financed by Morgan Stanley, to go up next to the Showboat casino (timeline still to come). Second, the area just south of the Atlantic City Hilton, itself poised for a major expansion, has been purchased by Wallace Barr, former CEO of Caesars Entertainment, and Curtis Bashaw, former executive director of the New Jersey Casino Reinvestment Development Authority.

The third project is a redevelopment of the Sands Casino, which is now closed. Pinnacle Entertainment will demolish the building and rebuild it from scratch, a process that will take at least four or five years. Rumor has it that Steve Wynn is considering building a casino in Atlantic City as well.

The 804-room Atlantic City Hilton is charting a $1 billion expansion. A spokesperson for the hotel declined to offer details of the project because, at press time, the hotel’s owner, Los Angeles-based Colony Capital, had not yet approved the plans. According to local news reports, initial plans outline the addition of a 1,000-room tower and a 3,500-seat meeting room, and the doubling of the casino floor to 120,000 square feet.

The casinos, along with the Development Authority, are funding an express New Jersey Transit train between New York City and Atlantic City, which will make the trip in about two and a half hours. The service is slated to begin later this year.

Lastly, this gaming mecca is coming into its own as a major shopping destination. Atlantic City Outlets, The Walk, has proved so popular that The Cordish Company is expanding the outdoor outlet mall by five blocks; the first of about 40 stores opened earlier this year. Also, The Pier Shops at Caesars, an impressive collection of luxury boutiques built on the old Ocean One/Million Dollar Pier, debuted last year. Included are a number of noteworthy restaurants by Philadelphia celebrity restaurateur Stephen Starr. -- JONATHAN VATNER

AN INSIDER'S TAKE
Michael GoldsmithMichael Goldsmith, right, director of convention sales for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, says there are two main trends to note in Las Vegas hospitality. The first is the slew of national and international name brands -- Four Seasons, Hyatt, JW Marriott, Loews, Mandarin Oriental, Ritz-Carlton, et al -- that are popping up on and around the Strip.

The second trend is the amount and quality of new nongaming facilities. Hotels without casinos are being added to existing resorts -- at the MGM Grand, for instance -- or constructed as stand-alone properties, such as the 1,104-room Pinnacle Las Vegas and the 1,282-room Trump International Hotel and Tower Las Vegas condo-hotel. One team of theme park veterans is even working on plan for a $1 billion destination resort with an indoor water park that will be marketed to families.

“The more properties there are, the more options there are, the better,” Goldsmith says.

Amid this construction boom, Goldsmith says the LVCVA wants to alter its market mix, with meetings representing 20 percent of hospitality business, up from around 15 percent. With 40,000 new hotel rooms due to open in the next few years, there’ll be plenty of places for groups to stay. -- T.I.

California

As the overall hospitality industry in the greater Palm Springs region receives a boost from new construction, including a slate of new hotels and renovations and the recent expansion of the Palm Springs Convention Center, two Native American tribes in the Coachella Valley are giving desert gaming a shot in the arm.

The Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians is building a $205 million, 340-room hotel next to the 45,000-square-foot Agua Caliente Casino, which opened in 2001 on tribal land just outside Rancho Mirage and currently is undergoing a renovation. The Tribe plans to open the hotel next March.

The Agua Caliente Band also is making plans to demolish the 228-room hotel at the Spa Resort Casino in downtown Palm Springs and replace it with a 400-room hotel with an expanded casino. Although the tribe has yet to nail down the details, it is looking to develop an entertainment and commercial center north of the existing property that will include a 120-room boutique hotel and 170,000 square feet of restaurants, clubs, theaters and retail.

Spotlight 29 Casino


Desert dreaming:
The Twenty-Nine
Palms Band of
Mission Indians
plans to break ground
next year on a
200-room hotel and spa
at the existing Spotlight 29
Casino in Coachella, Calif.

Down the road, in Coachella, the Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians broke ground in March on a project to expand the Spotlight 29 Casino. The plan includes a $100 million, 200-room hotel and spa with meeting facilities, restaurants and other amenities, although specific details have yet to be determined. A 1,245-space parking garage currently is being erected at the site, and when it is complete next spring, the tribe will break ground on the hotel. -- TOM ISLER

Connecticut

Owners of southeastern Connecticut’s two casino resorts are spending a combined $1.4 billion to expand their properties, and the new facilities will alter how each does business with groups.

Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, which is on track to open a
$700 million expansion next spring, is poised to become a major player for convention business in the Northeast for the first time. Currently, the resort has only 55,000 square feet of meeting space, but when construction is complete next year, it will offer 170,000 square feet, including a new 50,000-square-foot, column-free ballroom. Two other signature pieces of the expansion are a new 50,000-square-foot casino and the 824-room MGM Grand at Foxwoods, a new hotel tower with a 21,000-square-foot spa, which will bring the resort’s guest room total to more than 2,200.

Not to be outdone, rival Mohegan Sun, in nearby Uncasville, countered last November by announcing its own $740 million expansion, known as Project Horizon. Plans don’t call for additional meeting space; the complex already has more than 100,000 square feet. But the addition of a 1,000-room hotel in 2010 not only will allow Mohegan Sun to match Foxwoods’ 2,200 rooms, it finally will be able to dedicate sizable room blocks to groups, even on weekends, which the hotel currently can’t swing, due to high occupancy from leisure travelers.

Mohegan Sun also has partnered with House of Blues to brand a new 1,500-seat music hall and 300 of the 1,000 new hotel rooms, creating, in effect, a hotel within a hotel. Plans also call for a new 64,000-square-foot casino and a plethora of new restaurants and shopping opportunities. Construction starts this summer, and the expansion will open in phases over the next three years. A $13 million renovation of the current hotel tower wraps up this month. -- T.I.

Detroit

The wait is almost over for hotel accommodations and meeting space at Detroit’s three downtown casinos, which heretofore have operated only as gaming venues. Each casino is adding a 400-room hotel, with various amenities such as restaurants and spas, and each is expanding its gaming floor to 100,000 square feet.

rendering of Motor City CasinoRolling: The MotorCity
Casino in Detroit
plans to open its
400-room hotel tower
before the end of the year

The MotorCity Casino expects to open its 400-room hotel tower this fall, part of a $275 million expansion and renovation project. The hotel will be connected to the casino via an elevated walkway, as will the property’s 67,000 square feet of meeting space, including a 1,200-seat theater, being constructed in a separate building.

The MGM Grand Detroit is on track to open its hotel late this year as well. Tony Chi is designing the hotel’s spa and restaurants, one of which will be a Wolfgang Puck establishment. The hotel will have 30,000 square feet of meeting space.

DetroitAdding rooms:
Detroit’s Greektown
Casino aims to open
a 400-room hotel
with 25,000 square feet
of meeting space
late next year.

Last but not least, the Greektown Casino is targeting a fall 2008 opening for its hotel, which will have 25,000 square feet of meeting space. -- T.I.

SPOTLIGHT: SINGAPORE
If Macau is the established chip leader in high-end Asian gaming, Singapore is quietly adding to its short stack.

Singapore relaxed a ban on gaming in 2005, and Las Vegas Sands Corp. now is constructing a US$3.6 billion casino resort on the bay. The Marina Bay Sands, to open in 2009, will include three 50-story hotel towers, totaling more than 2,500 rooms and suites, all topped by a continuous, two-acre Sky Park Garden with jogging paths, pools, spas and gardens. The resort will have a 1 million-square-foot convention center, a 3,000-seat amphitheater, two 2,000-seat theaters and a waterfront promenade, with retail and restaurant options and an ArtScience Museum.

Marina Bay itself will be dammed and converted into a fresh-water reservoir that will support various water sports.

A separate US$3.1 billion development, Resorts World at Sentosa, expected to open in 2010, will include 1,830 hotel rooms spread across six hotels, including a Hard Rock Hotel; a luxury spa; meeting facilities for up to 12,000 attendees; a casino; an Equarius Water Park; a Quest Marine Life Park that will support 700,000 aquatic animals in the world’s largest oceanarium, and Universal Studios Singapore.

By 2010, Singapore officials expect to have 10,000 hotel rooms within walking distance of Suntec Singapore, the city’s convention center. -- T.I.

Rendering of Resorts World

On the rise:Resorts World
at Sentosa will include
six hotels and multiple attractions.


Marina Bay Sands

New player: The Marina Bay Sands
will open in 2009 with 2,500 guest rooms and a convention center.


Indiana

The French Lick Springs Resort in French Lick, Ind., reopened last November following a $382 million restoration. The historic resort features two hotels: the 443-room French Lick Springs Hotel, connected to the 84,000-square-foot casino, and the 246-room West Baden Springs Hotel, which officially emerges from its restoration this month. The resort has 30,000 square feet of meeting space, plus a 31,600-square-foot tennis and exhibition center. Guests also can enjoy the resort’s two full-service spas as well as facilities for bowling, tennis and horseback riding. When an 18-hole golf course designed by Pete Dye opens next spring, the resort will offer a total of 45 holes on three courses. -- T.I.

Las Vegas

Approximately $30 billion worth of development has been approved or is actively under way for Las Vegas (another $15 billion worth is being proposed), and the number of hotel rooms in the city will expand to more than 170,000 by 2010, according to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. The amount of available convention space will increase by nearly 3.5 million square feet over the next three to four years.

Andrew Zarnett, managing director, gaming and lodging, for Deutsche Bank Securities in New York City, likens this wave of construction to that of a decade ago, when the Bellagio, Mandalay Bay and Venetian properties were built. But this time, he says, more dollars are being invested, and the number of guest rooms coming on board is more than double the number created in the late 1990s.

Perhaps the most significant new project is MGM Mirage’s $7.4 billion CityCenter, under construction between the Bellagio and Monte Carlo resorts. Essentially, the 76-acre development is its own small city, with two 400-room hotels -- the first Mandarin Oriental in Las Vegas and The Harmon, a condo-hotel -- 300,000 square feet of meeting space, 2,700 residences and 470,000 square feet of retail and entertainment space. MGM Mirage has announced it’s pursuing LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification from the U.S. Green Building Council for the project, which should be open for business in late 2009.

Rendering of MGM Mirage
City on a strip:
MGM Mirage’s
massive $7.4 billion
CityCenter project
is well under way
and should be open
with two hotels in 2009.

Boyd Gaming Corp. imploded the Stardust Resort and Casino in March to make way for Echelon Place, a $4 billion mixed-use development that will feature a new convention center and four hotels: the 3,300-room Echelon Resort, 1,000-room Mondrian, 400-room Shangri-La and 600-room Delano. Plans call for a total of 350,000 square feet of meeting space at the hotels and the Las Vegas ExpoCenter, plus four spas, 140,000 square feet of gaming space, two theaters with 1,500 and 4,000 seats, and 350,000 square feet of retail space. Groundbreaking is set for June 19, and the resort is targeting a late 2010 opening.

The owners of New York City’s Plaza Hotel, the Elad Group, announced in May plans to build a $5 billion development on the site now occupied by the New Frontier Hotel & Casino, which will be demolished. Construction on The Plaza in Las Vegas, which will include a 3,500-room hotel, a conference center, a casino and more, is expected to begin next year.

The $2 billion Cosmopolitan Resort & Casino, set to open in 2010, will add another 2,998 guest rooms to the city, as contained in the new Grand Hyatt Las Vegas, and 150,000 square feet of meeting space, including a 40,000-square-foot ballroom. A connected five-acre Cosmo Beach Club features a 50,000-square-foot spa and 80,000 square feet of casino space.

The 3,025-suite Palazzo Casino Resort, a hotel tower opening later this year at the Venetian, will give the entire property a mind-boggling total of 7,052 guest rooms. The Palazzo will have 375 concierge-level suites, plus six villas with three or four bedrooms each, private pools and spas, personal gym facilities and other amenities. The Venetian currently is conducting a $100 million renovation of more than 3,000 of its existing suites, to be finished this fall.

To avoid becoming a relatively small hotel, the 2,726-room Wynn Las Vegas will open a 2,000-room expansion next year with 30,000 square feet of new meeting space.

Planet Hollywood Resort & CasinoNo more magic carpet:
The former Aladdin Hotel
& Casino officially opened
as the Planet Hollywood
Resort & Casino in April,
as major renovations continue.

The 2,567-room Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino, formerly the Aladdin Hotel & Casino, opened in April even as a $1 billion transformation continues. The property has 75,000 square feet of meeting space and a 114,000-square-foot casino, as well as a Planet Hollywood Towers by Westgate condominium complex, which brings the rental pool to 3,767 rooms. The hotel will open officially this fall.

The $1 billion, 2,300-room Maxim Hotel-Casino, due to open in 2009, will have a 60,000-square-foot casino, a spa, multiple concert spaces and a yet unspecified amount of meeting space.

The Fontainebleau Las Vegas, a $2.8 billion, 3,889-room hotel-
casino, is under construction and slated to open in 2009. The property will have a 100,000-square-foot casino, plus a spa and 275,000 square feet of meeting space.

Las VegasJumping in:Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, which currently has just 8,000 square feet of meeting space, will add 60,000 square feet of space by 2009.

Proving it still is possible to build or enhance a Las Vegas hotel property for less than $1 billion, the owners of the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Las Vegas are planning a $750 million renovation and expansion that will dramatically increase the hotel’s meeting space from 8,000 to 68,000 square feet while adding 950 guest rooms, a new spa and health club, a live entertainment venue and a 35,000-square-foot casino. Renovations are due to wrap up early next year, and the additions should be finished in mid-2009.

The Signature at MGM GrandTall order:
The third and final
hotel tower opens
next month at
The Signature at
MGM Grand
in Las Vegas.

The third and final 576-room hotel tower opens next month at The Signature at MGM Grand, a smoke-free, non-gaming hotel within the MGM Grand complex. Each tower has its own lobby, check-in, business center and pools. Including the three new Signature towers, the MGM Grand complex will offer 5,620 guest rooms.

Flamingo Las Vegas


Pretty in pink:
The Flamingo Las Vegas
is adding panache to
500 of its guest rooms
with a new design
and high-tech amenities.

The transformation of 500 guest rooms at the 3,565-room Flamingo Las Vegas into specially branded “GO Rooms” should be completed this fall. GO Rooms are characterized by flashy decor, designed by Las Vegas-based interior design firm Cagley & Tanner, and high-tech amenities that include Denon sound systems and remote-control blinds. The Flamingo has 73,000 square feet of meeting space and a 77,000-square-foot casino.

Early next year, the 800-room Palms Casino Resort will open a new 599-room condo-hotel and spa, Palms Place, connected to the main resort. In April of this year, the resort officially opened the Pearl Concert Theater, an entertainment venue that can hold up to 2,500 people and which doubles as a meetings venue that can be scaled down to hold 1,100. The theater is connected to 10,000 square feet of new meeting space as well as to the resort’s recording studio, giving groups the opportunity to make recordings of keynote sessions or other events with the resort’s built-in technology.

Construction is under way on The M Resort, an 80-acre mixed-use development on Las Vegas Boulevard. The first phase of the development, expected to cost
$700 million, will include 400 hotel rooms and suites, a 100,000-square-foot casino, a 70,000-square-foot events center and a spa, plus dining and retail options. MGM Mirage is investing approximately $160 million in the project.

The 2,444-room Stratosphere Las Vegas, along with 17 acres of surrounding land and three other casinos in Nevada and Arizona, have been sold by a subsidiary of Carl Icahn’s New York City-based American Real Estate Partners to an affiliate of New York City-based Goldman Sachs for $1.3 billion.

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide and local developer Edge Group have canceled plans to build a 2,000-room W Las Vegas. In a statement released last month, Edge Group said the company “could not overcome numerous significant challenges.”

One developing story to watch is the buyout of Las Vegas-based Harrah’s Entertainment by two private equity firms -- New York City-based Apollo Management Group, and Fort Worth, Texas-based Texas Pacific Group -- for $17 billion. State regulatory bodies still need to sign off on the acquisition before it becomes official, which could happen this fall. The effects that Harrah’s privatization would have on meeting planners aren’t yet clear, but any renovation projects or new-build resorts that have already been announced will be subject to review by the new owners. Dispelling notions that further renovations or development might be in jeopardy, Amy Dosa, senior marketing manager for Las Vegas Meetings by Harrah’s Entertainment, says there are indications that the new owners are planning major capital development projects, but could not provide details. -- T.I.

Beau Rivage Resort & Casino


Back on track:
The Beau Rivage
Resort & Casino is one
of the Biloxi properties
that have reopened
after being damaged
by Hurricane Katrina.

Mississippi Gulf Coast

The wave of post-Katrina casino reopening and construction along Mississippi’s Gulf Coast continues to roll along. In the Biloxi-Gulfport shore area, already-reopened gaming facilities include the 1,740-room Beau Rivage Resort & Casino, 1,088-room IP Hotel & Casino, 700-room Isle of Capri Casino Resort, 562-room Island View Casino Resort and 500-room Grand Casino Biloxi.

The 318-room Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Biloxi plans to open its doors this summer, providing employment to more than 1,000 area residents. The property will include about 1,500 slot machines and 52 table games. A spa, a fitness center, a pool, five restaurants, and Hard Rock Live, an entertainment venue with capacity for 1,200, also are included in the project.

More area development is in the pipeline. The Bacaran Bay Casino Resort in Biloxi, a $500 million property with 638 guest rooms, 432 condos, an 18-hole championship golf course and entertainment facilities, is slated to open in fall of 2008 with 85,000 square feet of meeting space and a 75,000-square-foot casino.

The Broadwater is a proposed $1 billion project with 1,900 hotel rooms, two casinos, 125,000 square feet of gaming space and 104,000 square feet of convention space.

Jimmy Buffett is working with Harrah’s to develop a hotel and casino on the site formerly occupied by Grand Casino and Casino Magic. The 798-room Margaritaville Casino & Resort, to open in 2010, will have a 100,000-square-foot casino floor and 66,000 square feet of meeting space, plus a full-service spa and 250,000 square feet of retail space.

Bayview Ventures LLC has hopes to build a casino property on the Biloxi Back Bay with 65,000 square feet of gaming space and hotel facilities. West D’Iberville Development LLC has plans for a $250 million project including a hotel, meeting space, and a casino with as many as 2,000 slot machines and 60 table games. -- BRENDAN M. LYNCH

Pennsylvania

Last fall, the first wave of casinos and racetracks, referred to as “racinos,” opened, nearly two years after the state of Pennsylvania created 14 slot-gaming licenses. Several other casino properties are coming online in 2007, and even more are expected to open in 2008, although most do not include plans for hotel accommodations.

Next year, two gaming properties -- the Foxwoods Casino Philadelphia and SugarHouse Casino -- are expected to open in Philadelphia. The first phase of the Foxwoods project, estimated to cost $560 million, calls for a casino with 3,000 slot machines, while SugarHouse’s $550 mil-lion casino and entertainment project will include 5,000 slots. Both projects have long-term master plans that include restaurants, retail and, eventually, 500-room luxury hotels and an abundance of meeting space.

Las Vegas Sands Corp., via its subsidiary Sands Bethworks Gaming LLC, is building a 300-room hotel with 200,000 square feet of retail space and 3,000 slot machines on the site of the former Bethlehem Steel plant in its namesake city. The property, currently being called Sands Bethworks, will house the National Museum of Industrial History and an arts and cultural center, as well as a television studio. The company hopes to open the complex sometime next year.

The Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs opened a new 1,100-slot parlor last November. On top of its racetrack and clubhouse that can hold up to 300 for events, the facility will feature a total of 2,000 slot machines, three restaurants, 20,000 square feet of retail space and a nightclub by mid-2008.

The Philadelphia Park Casino and Racetrack opened its new casino last December. The venue features 2,100 slot machines and several dining and entertainment options. Two private rooms hold up to 50 and 100 people respectively, and two pavilions that can accommodate 100 each are available for rent.

Harrah’s Chester Casino & Racetrack, in Chester, opened this past January with 2,700 slot machines and a 14,000-square-foot event center.

In Erie, Presque Isle Downs opened in February with 2,000 slot machines, three dining areas, four lounges and a racetrack that will begin live thoroughbred racing in September.

About 30 miles outside of Pittsburgh, The Meadows opened a temporary slots facility with 1,800 slot machines this past spring, as work commences on the permanent Meadows Racetrack & Casino, which will feature roughly 3,000 slot machines, a two-story theater and a convention area. -- BRYAN DARROW

St. Louis

Lumiere Place, the $475 million Pinnacle hotel and casino project under construction in downtown St. Louis, is on track to open before year’s end. The complex will include a 200-room hotel, 12,000 square feet of meeting space, several restaurants, a spa, and a casino with 2,000 slots and 40 table games. The adjoining 297-room Embassy Suites hotel is temporarily closed for renovations. A pedestrian tunnel will link Lumiere Place to the America’s Center convention center complex. -- T.I.

Macau

In 2006, gross gaming revenue in Macau, the booming Special Administrative Region of China, surpassed that of the Las Vegas Strip. According to Portsmouth, N.H.-based Lodging Econometrics, 33 casino hotel projects are in the pipeline for Macau, representing more than 25,000 rooms (or an average of an impressive 760 rooms each). But analysts predict that demand for gaming here might disperse if other Asian countries, Japan and the Philippines among them, legalize gambling in the near future.

For now, focus is centered on the 1,500-room Galaxy Mega Resort, currently under construction and set for an early 2008 opening, which will feature 270,000 square feet of gaming space with more than 450 gaming tables and 1,000 slot machines. Other facilities at the Galaxy Mega Resort will include a shopping mall, a health club/spa, music lounges, a children’s arcade, a theater and multiple restaurants. Conference, convention and exhibition facilities also are planned for the expansive resort.

Late 2007 will see the opening of the $1.1 billion MGM Grand Macau, set to house 345 table games and 1,035 slot machines. The 600-room waterfront property also will feature an iconic atrium, restaurants and entertainment facilities. Moreover, 70,000 square feet of space has been set aside for future expansion of the casino. This past February, MGM Grand Paradise, the resort’s developer, announced it has begun formulating plans for a second Macau resort.

The Grand Lisboa, an extension of the Lisboa Casino Hotel operated by Macau gaming magnate Dr. Stanley Ho, opened in February. The 44-story tower resembles the feathered crown of a revue dancer and features an eight-story sphere-shaped podium containing a casino and a restaurant.

The 3,000-suite Venetian Macao is expected to open this summer as one of the largest hotels in Asia. The property, on the Cotai Strip, will feature a full 1.2 million square feet of meeting, convention and exhibition space, plus a 15,000-seat arena and 1 million square feet of retail space.

The Cotai Strip also is due to get two Shangri-La hotels -- the 600-room Shangri-La Hotel, Macau, and the 1,200-room Traders Hotel, Macau -- in 2008. Both hotels will be built within one 39-story tower that will feature a 64,500-square-foot ballroom. The property’s casino will be managed by the Las Vegas Sands Corp. -- B.M.L.

United Kingdom

In January, the British government selected the city of Manchester as the site of the country’s first “super-casino,” as it’s being called. Although the project has run into some political resistance, most tourism officials expect the property to be realized, eventually. Manchester beat out a field of 16 cities that included London, which planned to house the casino in its former Millennium Dome, and the seaside resort of Blackpool.

Through the license awarded by the government, Manchester is allowed to build a venue for up to 1,250 unlimited-jackpot gaming machines, as well as an entertainment complex with a range of facilities such as a multipurpose arena, a swimming pool, an urban sports venue, restaurants, bars, a nightclub and a hotel. Manchester’s bid organizers said the complex would regenerate a poor area in the east of the city and would give it 2,700 new jobs. The government plans to use the Manchester complex as a test model before granting more super-casino licenses. -- LISA GRIMALDI