Wynn Resorts Limited (Nasdaq: WYNN) received approval to begin breaking ground at its 51 acre casino sight on Macau's Cotai Strip, an approval that has been in limbo since March, the company said Wednesday.
The official transfer of real estate in Cotai makes possible the commencement of the construction phase, of the new resort casino, Stephen A. Wynn, chairman and CEO of Wynn Resorts said Wednesday, adding that it was the single most important project in the history of Wynn Resorts.
The Macau Special Administrative Region issued the approval in its Official Gazette on Wednesday.
The approval process has been fraught with uncertainty for Wynn Resorts, especially after a statement saying that approval had been won in March was misfiled with the Securities and Exchange Commission by a clerk at the law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP.
The new resort is anticipated to have 2,000 rooms, convention spaces, shops, entertainment and restaurants, according to the company's 2011 annual report. Wynn Resorts has already paid an initial sum of approximately $62.6 million to the Macau government for the land concession, and an additional eight, semi-annual payments totaling more than $130 million are anticipated.
The development by Wynn Resorts is the first of several coming to Cotai Strip of Macau, a special administrative region of the People's Republic of China situated between the Pearl River Delta and the South China Sea. The Cotai Strip is a casino district in the Cotai district of Macau, and contains several resorts and hotels associated with Las Vegas Sands Corporation, although the term is used generically for the entire casino and resort area. In addition to Wynn Resorts and Las Vegas Sands, Galaxy Entertainment Group has resorts in the Cotai area.
Galaxy plans to make a $2.1 billion expansion to its primary Cotai casino, and Las Vegas Sands' Macau branch opened its third resort there in April, according to Businessweek. Macau and the Cotai strip have become an international gambling center since the Chinese government ended its gambling monopoly in 2002. Gambling revenue rose 42 percent in 2011 to $33.5 billion, and an additional 27 percent in the first quarter of 2012.
Wynn Resorts Limited (Nasdaq: WYNN) rose 66 cents to $135.34 in midday trading, Wednesday.