he regulator didn't elaborate on the figures it issued on its Web site. But analysts said visa restrictions introduced by the Chinese government have reduced the number of visitors from mainland China and hit gambling revenue in the special administrative region.
Since the middle of 2008, Beijing has tightened restrictions on visits to Macau in an apparent attempt to stop civil servants from gambling and curb money laundering. In the first half ended June 30, Macau's casino gambling revenue fell 12.5% to us$ 6.63 billion, from us$ 7.57 billion a year earlier.
The number of casino gambling tables rose to 4,390 at the end of June, from 3, 998 at the end of March, the regulator said. In the first half of last year, local gaming sector raked in a total of us$ 7.43 billion, according to the figures previously released by the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau of the Macao Special Administrative Region (SAR).
Macau ended casino mogul Stanley Ho's 40-year monopoly on casino gambling in the territory in early 2002, after the former Portuguese enclave returned to Chinese rule in December 1999. Since then, the territory has granted six casino licenses to various casino operators, including SJM Holdings Ltd. controlled by Ho.
SJM, a gaming company that is owned by local gaming magnate Stanley Ho, led Macau's gaming market with a share of 30 % in the first half of this year, while Las Vegas Sands, which runs the largest local casino Venetian Macao, maintained its second position with a share of 26 %, the daily said. Sands had a total of three casinos in Macao so far.
The other operators are Las Vegas Sands Corp., Wynn Resorts Ltd., Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd., MGM Grand Paradise SA and Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd.