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Last Updated: Tuesday, 28 August 2007, 14:18 GMT 15:18 UK
In Pictures: Macau casino opens

Queues for the opening of the Venetian Macao resort hotel - 28/08/07

Hundreds queued up to be the first to enter what has been billed as the world's largest casino in Asia's largest building.

The main entrance to the Venetian resort

The Venetian Macao Resort Hotel cost $2.4bn (1.2bn) to build and boasts 3,000 suites, some 16,000 staff, shopping arcades and a 15,000-seater sports arena.

Employees pose by the slot machines during the opening ceremony - 28/08/07

The vast casino holds 870 gaming tables and 3,400 slot machines, with room to expand to 6,000.

Part of the rooftop of the casino

Italian-style frescos adorn the walls and ceilings and a full-size replica of Venice's Bridge of Sighs greets visitors to the resort.

The Venetian's indoor canal and replica of St Mark's Square in Venice

There is even an indoor canal - under a fake sky ceiling - on which sail Chinese-style sampans and Venetian gondolas.

Las Vegas Corp Chairman Sheldon Adelson attends the opening ceremony

The man behind the project, US billionaire Sheldon Adelson, inaugurated the resort by smashing a champagne bottle against a hotel gondola.

Gambling tables inside the casino during the opening ceremony

He said it had been his dream to "reproduce the capital of entertainment in Asia for Asians".

An overview of the Venetian Macao resort hotel

Mr Adelson and his Las Vegas Corp group have helped transform Macau into a lucrative gambling hub.

An employee preparing chips during the opening ceremony

Last year, gaming revenues in the small Chinese territory totalled $7.2bn (3.5bn), overtaking the Las Vegas Strip for the first time.

Staff next to the gambling table during the opening ceremony

But correspondents say the pace and scale of change in Macau has led to a labour shortage, environmental damage and a growing gap between rich and poor.




SEE ALSO
Rare Macau protest turns violent
01 May 07 |  Asia-Pacific
Macau's thriving gambling industry
01 Mar 07 |  From Our Own Correspondent
Girl awarded Macau casino jackpot
24 Feb 07 |  Asia-Pacific
Tiny Macau overtakes Vegas Strip
25 Oct 06 |  Business

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