Sands gets OK to sell Macau apartments

Sands China gets long-awaited approval to sell apartments next to Macau flagship casino

Associated Press

HONG KONG (AP) -- Billionaire Sheldon Adelson's Chinese casino company received long-awaited approval from the Macau government on Wednesday to sell apartments next to its flagship casino in the Asian gambling enclave.

Sands China said it received the green light for transfer rights allowing it to sell apartments in the 30-story tower that was largely completed in 2009.

Sands China is controlled by Adelson's Las Vegas Sands Corp. The apartment tower sits next to Sands' Venetian casino-resort on Macau's Cotai Strip.

Union Gaming Research forecast the company would raise $775 million in net proceeds by selling up to 300 apartments in the co-op style building, which would be branded and serviced by Four Seasons.

Buyers would likely include high rollers, Union Gaming analyst Grant Govertsen wrote in a research note.

Gambling revenues in the semiautonomous Chinese region rose last year to $38 billion, about six times more than the Las Vegas Strip, thanks to rising numbers of high-spending visitors from mainland China, where casinos are illegal.

Sands has four casino-resorts in Macau, which is a former Portuguese colony, including three on the Cotai Strip, a patch of reclaimed swampland that is modeled on the Las Vegas Strip.

The company is building a fourth Cotai resort based on a "Parisian" theme.

Adelson said in a statement that the apartments will allow visitors to stay longer in Macau. The city last year received 28 million visitors, many of whom stayed less than a day.

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