Galaxy Entertainment to build $1.6 billion resort on Hengqin Island

galaxy-entertainment-macau-casinoThe casino arms race in Macau has no plans of slowing down and Galaxy Entertainment is right in the middle of it. But the Lui Che-woo-owned company is looking at the horizon and part of that plan got rolling recently when the company signed a framework agreement to build a 10 billion yuan ($1.6 billion) resort on Hengqin Island that China is grooming to be a thriving city at the heart of the Pearl River Delta.

Here’s the caveat: the resort isn’t going to have a casino. Instead, it’s going to be a full-fledged resort that will complement its thriving casino industry in Macau. More importantly, the project is the first of its kind in the area and the first to be built by the six casino operators in Macau. So there’s major bragging rights that come with this, especially since the island is located just across a narrow waterway from Macau.

China wants to turn it into a diversified tourist hub that will pretty much have everything you want in it as a tourist destination except for the gambling because that stays in Macau. So Galaxy is getting first dibs  at a resort in Hengqin, allowing it to offer tourists a different sampling of the Galaxy brand that doesn’t involve any sort of gambling.

It’ll also give Galaxy a leg up on the competition, possibly winning a few friends in the Motherland in the process. China has made no bones about its plan to turn Hengqin into a bustling tourist hub so this move by Galaxy could preempt any possibly plans from its competitors, including Las Vegas Sands, which actually ditched its own $1 billion project in Hengqin years ago.

When the time comes that Galaxy completes its resort project, it’ll join a number of attractions that are already in place on the island, including a  marine-themed resort built by Guangdong Chimelong Group Co. that opened earlier this year. A new $1.3 billion University of Macau campus is also in the works, as is a separate hotel, office, and residential project being undertaken by the Pansy Ho-run Shun Tak Holdings Ltd. All in all, over 50 projects with a total investment of $36.5 billion are already in the pipeline for Hengqin with Galaxy Entertainment being one of them.