The Chinese arm of Wynn Resorts Ltd. said it received approval on Wednesday for a new casino in the Cotai district of Macau, the world's most lucrative gambling market.
Wynn Macau Ltd. said the government of the southern Chinese gambling enclave published formal approval of a land transfer, paving the way for construction to begin on the 21 hectare (51 acre) site.
Wynn Resorts founder, chairman and CEO Steve Wynn said the Cotai development is the "single most important project" in his company's history.
The company gave no other details about the project's approval, which has been long awaited by investors.
Wynn already operates another casino on peninsular Macau. The new resort would be its first in Cotai, an area of reclaimed swampland joining two islands that is the site of all the city's big new casino projects. Rivals such as Las Vegas Sands Corp. and Galaxy Entertainment Group already operate resorts in Cotai.
Galaxy announced last week that it's doubling the size of its flagship resort in Cotai in a $2.1 billion expansion. Sands China Ltd., the Macau arm of Las Vegas Sands Corp., opened its third Cotai resort in April.
Macau, the only place in China where casino gambling is legal, has boomed since the government ended a gambling monopoly in 2002. Gambling revenues rose 27 percent in the first three months of 2012, after rocketing 42 percent last year to $33.5 billion, more than five times the amount earned by Las Vegas Strip casinos.
Wealthy high-rolling gamblers from mainland China account for the bulk of casino revenues but the government wants to broaden the economy and attract more middle class visitors by encouraging development of more non-gaming attractions.
Analysts expect Cotai casinos to benefit from growing numbers of middle-class visitors drawn to shopping and other attractions not found at the aging, seedy gambling parlors on the Macau peninsula.
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