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August 2, 2016

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Fall in casino income lingers for 26 months

MACAU’S gambling revenue fell in July, stretching declines for a 26th straight month, as wealthy gamblers continued to steer clear of the world's biggest casino hub amid a protracted anti-corruption campaign by the Chinese mainland.

Gambling revenue fell 4.5 percent from a year ago to 17.8 billion patacas (US$2.2 billion) last month, government data showed yesterday, versus analysts’ expectations of a 4-8 percent drop. In June, revenue had declined by a sharper 8.5 percent.

Macau, a former Portuguese colony, is highly dependent on gambling with revenues from six licensed operators accounting for over 80 percent of government tax revenues.

But revenues have plunged with the mainland clamping down on corruption, targeting conspicuous spending by public officials.

Slowing economic growth on the mainland — home to the majority of customers — has also hurt business.

Revenue has since hit five-year lows.

However, Macau's leader Fernando Chui has said he expects the gambling hub to post positive growth next year.

Macau, the only place in China where casino gambling is legal, is set to open two multibillion-dollar resorts over the next two months, with industry watchers hoping this can boost lackluster market sentiment.

Executives from casino firms Sands China and Wynn Macau said in last week’s earnings calls that growth had picked up considerably over the past month due to stronger visitation and spending in the mass market segment.


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