Gaming revenue in December recorded a double-digit increase — the biggest gain in four months — as the former Portuguese colony and now semi-autonomous Chinese territory near Hong Kong seeks to attract more mass market visitors in a bid to lessen reliance on bigger spending VIP customers.
Macau has about 650,000 people and in terms of per capita GDP is one of the richest places on earth. But the Chinese government has pushed it to diversify its economy and lessen reliance on gambling. Casinos are offering more entertainment options beyond simply roulette and slot machines at their resorts to appeal to mass market customers and families, with some success.
But gambling still dominates its economy and gross gaming revenue increased 16.6 percent year-on-year in the final month of last year to 26.5 billion Macanese patacas, the local currency, equivalent to about $3.28 billion, according to figures released Tuesday by Macau's Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau, which goes by the Portuguese acronym DICJ. That marked the biggest increase in four months.
For all of 2018, gaming revenue rose 14 percent to 302.85 billion patacas, the DICJ said on its website, marking the second straight annual increase.