Venetian Macao to open in late August

/ Source: The Associated Press

Las Vegas Sands Corp. plans to open its highly anticipated Venetian Macao Resort Hotel on August 28 in booming Macau, the only place in China where casino gambling is legal.

The 10.5 million square foot property will be key to Macau's bold bet to transform itself from a casino town for day-tripping gamblers, to a multi-day tourist destination for conventioneers, shoppers and families.

The Venetian Macao will feature 3,000 rooms, 1.2 million square feet of convention space, a 15,000-seat arena, casinos and 350 stores, the company said Wednesday in a statement from Las Vegas.

The company said its resort will be the first property to open on reclaimed land called the Cotai Strip, which will eventually have 20,000 hotel rooms operated by some of the biggest names in the business: Four Seasons, Sheraton, St. Regis, Hilton and Shangri-La.

Macau — a peninsula and two islands off China's southern coast — was a Portuguese enclave before it returned to Chinese rule in 1999. After the handover, the government broke up a casino monopoly and allowed foreign companies to enter the market.

Last year, Macau raked in more gambling revenue than the Las Vegas Strip.