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Chinese gamblers surge Macau

18 April 2007

MACAU – As reported by Reuters: "On a Monday morning the gaming halls of Macau's newest casino, the Grand Lisboa, are packed as punters from mainland China crowd the baccarat tables.

"Most are dressed in jeans and trainers, but an abundance of luxury brand shopping bags reveal their rising spending power.

"Chinese consumers and gaming liberalization have made Macau one of the fastest-growing economies globally, overtaking Las Vegas last year as the world's biggest earner of gambling revenue, according to Macau government data.

"Tourism has nearly doubled since 2003 as Beijing has allowed freer travel to the former Portuguese colony, a 28-square-kilometre enclave on China's southern tip, an hour's boat ride from Hong Kong.

"More than 10 million mainlanders flocked here last year, half of total visitors.

"…Such fast-paced growth, however, is creating challenges, notably a labor shortage and lagging infrastructure, analysts say…"

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