Gambling revenue in China’s gambling enclave Macau rose 13.5 per cent in May from a year earlier, boosted by an improving domestic economy and a string of holidays that spurred visits from wealthy Chinese.
Revenue for May, which benefited from holidays to mark Labour Day, was 29.6 billion patacas (HK$28 million), the second-strongest figure this year, according to government data released on Monday. Analysts had forecast a rise of between 12 and 15 per cent for May.
Macau is the only place where Chinese people can legally gamble at casinos in the country. Home to half a million people, the casino hub depends on high spending VIP gamblers or ‘whales’ who spend 1 million yuan (HK$1.2 million) at a time as well as a fast-growing base of middle class Chinese visitors.
The monthly figures came after torrential rains and flooding hit Macau and nearby Guangdong province. Macau saw the heaviest rainfall since 1982 during the middle of May while transport access was restricted for close to two days.
Infrastructure developments in the coming years are expected to help lift the number of visitors to Macau. Currently most tourists come from Guangdong and other nearby provinces.
A bridge joining Hong Kong, Zhuhai and Macau is set to open by 2016 while expanded intercity rail links will help shorten the time of travel from China’s northern cities to the gambling enclave.
Plans are also in place to upgrade Macau’s capacity-constrained ferry terminals and international airport.