Macau Casinos Double Vegas' Take

Chinese high rollers power Asia hot spot to record profits
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 21, 2008 1:19 PM CDT
Visitors queue up for entry of the new MGM Grand Macau casino resort after the opening ceremony in Macau in this file photo of Dec. 18, 2007.   (AP Photo/Vincent Yu, File)
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(Newser) – If you thought Las Vegas was gambling’s capital city, think again. Casinos in Macau didn’t just beat Nevada’s finest this quarter, they lapped them. Macau’s gambling revenues jumped 62% from a year ago, doubling Vegas’ take over that stretch—though the casinos, which can't lend money directly to gamblers, have to split some of the take with middlemen, MarketWatch reports.

With high rollers willing to drop HK$10 million (US$1.3 million) or more each night, junket operators have become power players in the system, commanding as much as 50% of casino earnings. And the most profitable game for both was high-stakes baccarat, where casinos boosted their winnings 70%—accounting, in turn, for 73% of all revenues.