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China crackdown boosts Manila, Las Vegas

Casinos around Asia and in the United States are benefiting from Beijing’s crackdown on corruption and extravagance by attracting Chinese high rollers with a wide range of incentives and benefits including private jets and special delicacies.

Gambling revenue in Macau has declined for three months in a row, while revenue in Las Vegas has increased by 3.7 percent in the year to July, much of this increase due to the increased popularity of baccarat, the game favoured by Chinese gamblers.

Macau remains the world's biggest gambling hub despite the recent declines, generating $45.2 billion of casino revenue for the city in 2013, seven times more than the Las Vegas Strip and dwarfing the $36.5 billion for the U.S. as a whole, a Bloomberg report says.

Junket operators, who organize casino trips for wealthy Chinese VIPs, are bringing those gamblers to other locations such as Australia, Europe or the United States, according to Credit Suisse analysts Kenneth Fong and Isis Wong, quoted by Bloomberg . That allows the players "to avoid frequent appearance in Macau in light of the current sensitive political situation," they said in a research note on Sept. 12, after meeting with junket and casino companies.

"Since the scrutiny has intensified, gamblers are instead spending time away from Macau,” Morgan Stanley analyst, Praveen Choudhary, says in a report out this week. He expects the decline in Macau’s gaming revenues to continue for at least another six months. Nomura Holdings analyst says in a research note that VIP revenue could drop as much as 12 percent next year.

Asia Gaming Brief is a news and intelligence service providing up to date market information for worldwide executives on relevant gaming issues in Asia.

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