Macua Tops Las Vegas; Gaming Revenue Set to Double to $11.5B by 2010

Macau, a city of 450,000 , the former Portuguese colony returned to China in 1999, has overtaken Las Vegas as the world's No. 1 gambling market with $6.485 billion gaming revenue from January through November 2006, compared to Las Vegas' $6.079 billion. 

USA Today compiled these statistics from Macau's Statistics and Census Service and the Nevada Gaming Control Board. Analysts believe Macau probably widened its lead in December. 

PricewaterhouseCoopers expects 30 casinos to open and casino gaming revenue to more than double to $11.6 billion by 2010 from $5.5 billion in 2005.

Here is a compendium of other key stats:

Sands opened in Macau in 2004 and earned back its $260 million investment in less than a year. Sands' $1.8 billion Venetian hotel, casino and shopping complex, due to open this summer, will have 3,000 hotel rooms, 350 shops, 1.2 million square feet of convention and meeting halls, a 15,000-seat auditorium, 6,000 slot machines, and 700 table games.

The overall number of hotel rooms in Macau will triple to more than 36,000 by 2010, the investment firm CLSA Asia-Pacific Markets predicts.

Macau's government gets 70% of its revenue from a tax on gaming receipts. The economy has been sizzling, rising 14% in 2003, 28% in 2004, 7% in 2005 and at double-digit rates last year. 

Mainland Chinese accounted for 54% of the 22 million visitors to Macau last year, according to the Macau government Tourist Office. 

In 2004, the first full year the easier visa program was in place, Macau casinos enjoyed a 44% increase in gaming revenue.

Daily revenue per gaming table has dropped from $21,000 in 2002 to $7,000 in the third quarter of 2006, according to calculations PricewaterhouseCoopers. But even $7,000 is three times higher than the figure for Vegas, Green calculates.

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