Macau gambling revenue hits record $46b in 2012

HONG KONG (AFP) - Macau's gambling revenue jumped 13.5 per cent to a record 304.14 billion patacas (S$46 billion) in 2012, official figures showed on Wednesday, despite the pace of growth in the world's largest gaming hub slowing from a year earlier.

Gaming revenue rose to 304.14 billion patacas from 267.87 billion patacas in 2011, according to statistics posted on the official Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau website.

But the pace of growth slowed from 2011, when revenues surged 42 per cent year-on-year.

The former Portuguese colony of Macau, the only part of China where casino gambling is legal, overtook Las Vegas as the world's gaming capital in terms of revenue after the sector was opened up to foreign competition in 2002.

Six firms are licenced to operate casinos in Macau, which was handed back to Beijing in 1999.

Casino operators have plans to build new multi-billion-dollar resorts on Macau's Cotai Strip, a former swamp which has been reclaimed and transformed into a glittering centre for gamblers.