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Macao casinos reap over US$680m in 1st 15 days of 2008
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Macao's gaming revenue amounted to 5.5 billion patacas (about 680 million U.S. dollars) in the first 15 days of 2008, according to a report on Thursday by The Macao Daily News, a major local Chinese language newspaper.


By far, the highest gaming revenue for a month was recorded on November last year, which stood at 9.5 billion patacas (1.2 billion U.S. dollars), and the revenue for January 2007 was expected to break the record based on the present market development, the daily said.


The Las Vegas style casino resort MGM Grand Macao, opened in September 2007, has expanded the gaming market by increasing the number of casinos in Macao to 28, but the island city's gaming industry development may be affected by the credit crunch in the United States, said Dr. Fong Ka Chio, director of Institute for the Study of Commercial Gaming at the University of Macao.


For the time being, big American gaming companies, including the Las Vegas Sands, Wynn and MGM Mirage have all set foot in Macao's gaming market, heating up the competition with local gaming magnate Stanley Ho whose decades-old monopoly ended in 2001.


He pointed out that the current subprime mortgage crisis may prompt banks to squeeze their credits, which will dry up funds for American gaming companies to further pursue their investment in Macao.


Macao logged a record gaming revenue of over 80 billion patacas (around 10 billion U.S. dollars) in 2007, outstripping Las Vegas, but some of the Las Vegas gaming companies with investment in Macao still saw their share prices drop in recent months, according to the daily.


(Xinhua News Agency January 17, 2008)

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