Gambling behind resurgent Macao economy
By Paul
The award of three casino licenses seems to be paying dividends as tourists flock to Macao, a Special Administrative Region (SAR) of China.

Thanks to encouraging casino performance, the SAR government raked in $431.25 million (3.45 billion patacas) in tax revenues from gambling sites from January to June, up 19.1 %.

The boom was due to more casino visitors and higher taxation after the government announced the liberalization of the gaming industry this year.

Economist Lao Pun Lap, president of the Macao Society of Economics, estimated that gambling tax revenues would be as high as $875 million (7 billion patacas) this year.

55% of Macao's GDP came from the gaming industry, while the ratio will probably rise to 60% this year, Lao said.

Tourist arrivals in the special administrative region (SAR) went up year-on-year 9.3% to 5.48 million in the first half of this year, helped by more streamlined procedures for tourists from the Chinese mainland to visit and more travel agencies allowed to run SAR-bound tours.

There was a significant increase in the number of tourists from the Chinese mainland, rising by 37.5% to 1.87 million. They were also the biggest spenders, spending almost double that of tourists from elsewhere.

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