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Macau gambling revenue falls by 28.4 per cent in October

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 01 November, 2015, 5:49pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 01 November, 2015, 5:49pm

Gambling revenue in the Chinese territory of Macau fell 28.4 per cent in October from the same period a year earlier, marking the 17th consecutive month of decline, as wealthy clients continued to stay away from China’s only legal casino hub.

VIP gamblers, which account for about half of revenue, have been staying away from Macau, deterred by a campaign by China’s central government against conspicuous spending by public officials, which in turn is part of a wider investigation into unauthorised outflows of money from the mainland.

Revenue fell to 20.06 billion patacas (US$2.51 billion) from 28.03 billion patacas a year prior, but was higher than the 17.13 billion patacas of September, Macau government data released on Sunday showed.

Six analysts polled by Thomson Reuters estimated an October decline ranging from 26 per cent to 29 per cent.

The month of October included China’s National Day holiday, and the opening of Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd’s $3.2 billion Studio City resort.

Last week, Macau’s top gaming regulator Manuel Neves announced he was stepping down from his post in the world’s largest casino hub, the Chinese territory’s government said just when the growth outlook looks weak in the coming year.

Neves will step down by November 25 when his term expires, according to a government statement last Thursday. The 56-year-old had overseen the gaming industry from its infancy, prior to the entry of US giants Las Vegas Sands, Wynn Resorts and MGM Resorts, to its rapid growth leading up to 2014 when revenues eclipsed Las Vegas by 7 times.

He is leaving the regulatory bureau as it steps up monitoring of casino and junket regulations, implementing tighter rules on accounting and auditing of gambling debts.

The Macau government has not announced a replacement for Neves yet. The retirement age for civil servants in Macau is 65, according to a government spokesman, but officials can retire early if they have been in public service for over 30 years.

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