While most casino executives would like to think we have moved beyond the “build it and they will come” mentality, it still exists in many jurisdictions. New markets starved for gaming usually use refurbished buildings not originally meant for casinos, or erect temporary facilities that soon get replaced by more permanent-and more attractive-buildings.
The level of detail and destiny are most often controlled by outside forces: tax rates, infrastructure realities, customer acceptance and more. But the fact is, gaming can provide much more than simply taxes, jobs and entertainment. It can truly transform a community.
In Asia, gaming is on a roll-maybe the last and biggest roll it will ever experience.
Macau is the prime example of what gaming can do for a region. While gambling has been legal in Macau for generations, it only recently has been able to truly impact the former Portuguese enclave the way it has in other jurisdictions. By opening up Macau to international development-rather than the former monopoly status afforded to SJM for many years-the Chinese government has given the community a second bite at the apple. And the region has grasped it firmly.
A tremendous building boom has resulted in many spectacular properties in the last several years. The Sands Macau was the first departure from the norm, with a truly different and dramatic design that has created huge loyalty among its customers. Wynn Resorts downsized its Las Vegas facility with special Asian touches and spectacular results. SJM, the former monopoly holder, created a fantasy with the Grand Lisboa that speaks to its customers like no other casino.
Crown Macau is a business-like facility that has proven its worth in the gaming wars. The Venetian is more than simply a bigger version of the Las Vegas property of the same name-it has truly raised the bar. MGM Grand Macau presents an elegance that can’t be appreciated at first glance.
And under-construction and planned developments like the City of Dreams, Studio City and the rest of the Las Vegas Sands’ Cotai Strip developments-the Four Seasons, Shangri-la, St. Regis, Sheraton and more-will truly make Macau “Asia’s Las Vegas” (with apologies to Sheldon Adelson, who trademarked the phrase).
And we still haven’t discussed the massive developments in Singapore. The Sands Marina Bay project by LV Sands (is it just me, or are they everywhere!?) will present a business and meeting climate like no other integrated resort in the world. And the Genting Group’s Resorts World on Sentosa Island is a sprawling mixed-use development for the entire family and includes a Universal Studio theme park.
The Philippines’ Pagcor City in Manila Bay will include four integrated resorts, including the world’s largest shopping mall. South Korea continues to grow its gaming industry incrementally. And if gaming is legalized in Taiwan, Thailand and Japan, as expected, the Asian agenda in casino design will be deep and long lasting.
So pay attention! Starting with our excellent cover story on the role of feng shui in Asian and other developments, this issue provides information on the latest trends, the most interesting techniques and cutting-edge projects that have emerged over the last year.
It was a year of changes and challenges in the gaming industry when it comes to new developments and future projects.
In this issue, learn why financing these projects is more difficult, and how to get around some of the hurdles. Decide whether your next restaurant should feature a celebrity chef. Design your retail space to suit your market. Learn about bringing the “natural” environment indoors, and how to “build green.” Understand why a small casino can often have the same attraction and appeal of one of the gaming giants. And finally, hear from a collection of architects, builders, designers and others on the challenges and opportunities coming up in the next year.
This is our sixth annual edition of Casino Design. We would like to thank our sponsors and our readers for making this magazine the “bible” of the design and construction field in the gaming industry. We could not do this without your great faith and support in our effort. It’s a labor of love for all involved.