Macau’s casino revenues on rise

Is Asia's land gambling drought easing? A report from Bloombergs news service this week suggests that it may be. Macau’s casino revenue rose in the first three months of 2009, signaling recovery from a slowdown triggered by the global recession and visa controls imposed on mainland Chinese visitors.

Quarter 1 2009 casino revenue rose 8.1 percent to 26 billion patacas ($3.2 billion) when compared to Q4 2008's 24.1 billion patacas, according to statistics on the Macau Gaming Inspection and Co-ordination Bureau Web site. Revenue fell 13 percent from Q1 2008, when the casinos hauled in a record 29.8 billion patacas.

Macau operators have been hurt by the global recession and visa controls imposed by the Chinese government seeking to limit gambling by mainland citizens. Casino revenue in the former Portuguese colony declined for three straight quarters through December.

Las Vegas Sands Corp., the casino operator that halted construction on its projects in Macau in November, said this month it may resume building this calendar year on optimism casino revenue is picking up.

Government officials from Guangdong, Macau and Hong Kong met in February to discuss easing visa controls.

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