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China easing Macau visa rules

21 September 2009

HONG KONG, China -- As reported by Reuters: "China has quietly begun relaxing restrictions for its citizens from Guangdong province traveling to Macau, leading to a strong showing for casinos so far this month and big hopes for October, two industry sources said on Monday. Alarmed that some residents of Guangdong were gambling too much in neighboring Macau, China last year imposed a new rule limiting them to two trips per year to the former Portuguese enclave.

"But the authorities began easing up on the rule as early as two months ago, and noticeably loosened the restriction at the start of this month, said top executives at two of the market's six casino licensees, speaking on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the situation.

"'The latest version is (they can travel to Macau) once a month out of Guangdong,' said one of the executives. 'Gaming revenues for the first two weeks of the month have been good.'

"The other executive forecast that October -- a high travel season for Chinese because of the Oct 1 Golden Week holiday at the beginning of the month -- could see monthly casino revenues soar to a record high, in part due to the relaxing visa rules..."

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