The Xinhua news agency reports that Macau gaming revenues reached record levels - mainly before the recession hit - of US$13.7 billion over the whole of 2008. The statistics indicate a year-on-year increase of 31 percent to a record 108 billion patacas (US$13.7 billion).
According to the statistics from the Special Administrative Region's (SAR) Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau, gaming revenues of the SAR, the only place in China where gambling is legal, stood at 83.8 billion patacas (10.6 billion dollars) in 2007, growing by 45.7 percent over the previous year.
Among the six gaming concessionaires in Macao, SJM, a gaming company run by local tycoon Stanley Ho, was the market leader last year, while the two U.S. gaming operators Venetian Macao, owned by Las Vegas Sands, and Wynn Resorts dominated the second and third positions.
By far, the SAR, with a population of only 550 000, has 31 casinos, 19 of which are run by the SJM, but the largest one, Venetian Macao casino resort, is operated by the Las Vegas Sands. The latest statistics also showed there are a total of 4 312 gaming tables and 12 835 slot machines in these casinos.
Macao generated gaming revenues of 7.6 billion patacas (US$ 962 million) in December 2008, dropping by 7 percent year-on-year. After a long period of strong growth, the SAR's gaming sector saw its first slowdown in September last year, dropping by 3.5 percent year-on-year.
The latest figures from Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority showed the Las Vegas Strip recorded gaming revenues of US$ 5.2 billion in the first 10 months of last year.