Game on: Macau boss fends off Vegas tycoons

It's a blinking, 52-story lotus flower and the signal it's sending to Las Vegas casino moguls honing in on 85-year-old billionaire Stanley Ho's Macau monopoly: Don't think we're going softly into the well-lit night.

There's a turf war on in Macau, the tiny Chinese territory that surged past the Las Vegas Strip last year as the world's leader in gambling revenue.

Las Vegas tycoons have been moving aggressively into the Macau market over the last few years, building casinos, luxury hotels and mega resorts, with some of the biggest names - Sheldon Adelson from the Sands, Stephen Wynn from Wynn Resorts - leading the charge.

But Hong Kong billionaire Stanley Ho - the 85-year-old mogul who held a monopoly on gaming in Macau for over four decades - isn't afraid to push back, apparently, with the opening of the HK$3 billion ($384 million) Grand Lisboa Casino on Sunday.

"We are the leaders, not the followers," Ho said in an article from the Associated Press. "We know the city well."

Well enough to think, anyway, there's room for a 52-floor blinking lotus flower - with a 430-room hotel and a five-floor casino with 240 tables and 484 slot machines no less - angling to wrest back some of a monopoly that dipped as low as 63% market share last year.

Ho, the dominant land owner in Macau and proprietor of 17 casinos already, says the flagship Grand Lisboa will compete well with the Vegas-style casinos, providing a roomier and classier alternative.

The Vegas tycoons seem set on attracting conventioneers, shoppers and families, with Adelson set to build the 3,000-suite Venetian Macao - supposedly the largest hotel-casino in the world and to include a massive convention hall and mall.

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