HONG KONG -- Italian fashion house Versace says it has signed a deal to build a luxury hotel at a casino-resort in Macau, the world's top gambling market.

Versace and Macau casino operator SJM Holdings Ltd. said in a joint statement Tuesday that the five-star Palazzo Versace hotel will be part of the resort SJM is building in the former Portuguese colony.

SJM, founded by billionaire Stanley Ho, received official approval in May to build a 2,000-room resort with 700 gambling tables.

It will be SJM's first resort on the Cotai Strip, modeled as Asia's version of the Las Vegas Strip.

The companies revealed few details such as cost or completion date.

Macau is the only place in China where are casinos are legal. It earned $38 billion in casino revenue last year thanks to rising numbers of affluent mainland Chinese visitors.

For Versace, the deal gives it access to those Chinese visitors, who have a penchant for luxury European brands. Having a famous label will help also SJM as it battles to keep up with rivals who have a head start on expanding in Cotai.

The district, an area of reclaimed swampland, is the site of all future casinos in the tiny enclave of Macau. Casino operators such as Las Vegas Sands Corp. have already opened glitzy multibillion-dollar resorts there.

The Macau hotel would be the third Versace hotel globally, after one in Australia and another in Dubai that's under construction.

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