It's official. Macao is now the gambling capital of the world, after overtaking the glitzy Las Vegas Strip in takings last year.
The tiny southern Chinese city's 22 casinos generated 16.7 billion patacas in the final quarter, taking the year's total gross gaming revenues to 56.2 billion patacas (US$7.2 billion), the local government said yesterday.
By comparison, the 40-odd casinos on Las Vegas' famous main strip - including the plush Venetian and MGM resorts - generated US$6.6 billion.
Analysts tipped in October that the special administrative region had overtaken Las Vegas, based on earnings projections.
But yesterday's GDP figures are the first time that city officials have confirmed the historic development.
Gambling earnings have boomed in Macao since 2001 when the government ended tycoon Stanley Ho's 40-year monopoly on casinos in the city and allowed foreign operators to move in.
"This once again showcases that Macao continues to have an upward trajectory of tourism activity being led by the casino gaming industry," said analyst Jonathon Galaviz, a partner of Las Vegas-based Globalysis, which tracks world gaming and travel trends.
(China Daily April 4, 2007)