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Macao's high rollers break record

21 April 2008

HONG KONG -- As reported by MarketWatch: "If there is a global credit crunch going on, no one told the gamblers in Macau who sent casino takings soaring 62% in the first quarter of the year to 29.8 billion patacas ($3.8 billion). This means Macau generated double the gaming revenues of casinos on the Las Vegas Strip in the first two months of the year, official statistics from both jurisdictions reveal.

"Arriving in Macau today, the skyline of glitzy casinos that have sprouted along the waterfront certainly makes an instant impression, never mind the mega Venetian project in the adjoining Coati strip.

"...In Macau, the trump card is not the flashiest casino but he who has the junket operator in tow, bringing the high rollers in the door and lending them gambling chips.

"What is surprising is the size of this so called 'VIP high roller' segment of the market. Latest figures show VIP baccarat again led expansion as casino winnings from high rollers soared almost 70% to 20.8 billion patacas, according to data released last week by Macau's Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau. VIP baccarat makes up 73% of all casino revenues, up from 67% a year ago But beneath these jaw-dropping numbers, competition for gamblers is heating up, and with that, casino margins are taking the strain.

"...Eventually the casino operators plan to diversify so their gaming revenue and junket businesses will be balanced by other revenues..."

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