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New Macau leader sees casino revival

27 July 2009

MACAU -- As reported by Bloomberg: "Macau's new leader Fernando Chui says China will help the casino hub develop, which may boost operators including Las Vegas Sands Corp. and Wynn Resorts Ltd. that were hurt last year by mainland travel restrictions.

"'The Motherland not only provides us with powerful backing, but also continuously injects dynamism into our development,' Chui, who takes charge of the Chinese territory Dec. 20, said in a statement yesterday. Chui got 282 of the 296 votes cast by Macau's 300-member election committee, his victory a foregone conclusion because he was the only candidate.

"Chui, 52, takes over as Macau's casino industry seeks more Chinese visitors to reverse a slump that cut jobs and revenue as tourism numbers fell. Gross domestic product shrank 13 percent in the first quarter, after expanding 32 percent in the corresponding period a year earlier.

"...Chui succeeds Chief Executive Edmund Ho, who has led Macau since its return to China in December 1999 after 442 years of Portuguese rule. Macau was granted autonomy in the handover, similar to that given to Hong Kong two years earlier.

"China in May 2008 limited travel by its citizens to Macau to once a month, and later cut the limit to once every two months, harming the main source of business for the casinos...'"

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