A Macau casino operator is on its way to build a strong presence in Western Africa. Macau Legend Development Ltd, owned by gaming entrepreneur David Chow is developing a $275 million luxurious casino complex in Cape Verde, the archipelago nation off Africa’s western coast.
Macau Legend currently operates two resorts in Macau – Macau Fisherman’s Wharf and The Landmark Macau.
Located in capital city of Praia, the complex by Macau Legend will be spread over 1.6 million square feet and will feature a casino, a resort as well as a museum. Now in its final phase of construction, the project is expected to take two more years to complete.
A seawall has been built so far, and construction of the hotel facility is set to start soon. The complex is partially being built on reclaimed land.
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The operator has been granted a 25-year gaming license applicable to Santiago Island, where the property is being developed. As a part of its agreement with Cape Verde government, Macau Legend has been promised exclusivity for 15 years. The casino hopes to attract tourists from Europe, other African countries and most importantly from mainland China, the primary market for Macau’s casinos.
The complex which was announced in 2015 is seen as a part of China’s One Belt, One Road policy also known as Maritime Silk Road, an ambitious project launched by Chinese president Xi Jinping that hopes to pull together countries as a part of the reimagined ancient Silk Route, boosting trade between them with improved linkages.
In a statement David Chow said,
This project follows the China government’s national policy ‘One belt, one road’, a strategy to help position Macau as one of the important cities on the Maritime Silk Road, which shall be [a] vanguard to lead Macau small and medium enterprises to expand from Macau.
Cape Verde was chosen over alternate locations for the mega project because of its shared history with Macau. Both Cape Verde and Macau are both former Portuguese colonies.
One of the outcomes expected of the Silk Road policy is that more Chinese investors and tourists will visit African countries. In the past few years, China has become the largest outbound market in the world with Chinese tourists spending over $26 billion in 2016 alone.
For several major gaming hubs worldwide, Mainland China forms a principal source of visitors. The Cape Verde project hopes to leverage this market and one can expect other gaming operators to soon follow suit.