Economic downturn? Not here. Revenue in Macau's gambling casinos increased by fifty seven percent during the previous month over last year's figures reaching an all-time high according to industry data. The upbeat operating results were attributed to a continuing stream of wealthy gamers flowing in from mainland China to what is now the world's largest gaming Mecca. Macau is a vibrant and humming island nation that has made casino gambling and tourism as its chief industry, a tradition that goes back at least one hundred and fifty years.
Macau is one of two principal administrative regions of the People's Republic of China is formerly a Portuguese colony and outpost. With its six licensed casino operators it is considered the Las Vegas of China and is on pace to surpass Las Vegas, Nevada as the gambling capital of world.
Macau, which was given back to China in 1999, is the only place in the country where you can legally place a bet. Macau is founding member of the World Trade Association, Macau maintains strong economic and trade relations 120 other countries many of which are either European or Portuguese-speaking countries. Macau is considered by the World Bank as high-income economy, and is a member of both the International Monetary Fund, and the World Bank.
The bulk of the visitors that come to Macau are from mainland China. In 2010 ten million people traveled across the border to place a bet, mostly by air, boat, and automobile, but some have even come on foot. Gamers have dropped the equivalent of 16 billion U.S. dollars during the first half of 2011. In the private VIP rooms individual gamblers wager hundreds of thousands of dollars on single hand of cards. Gambling revenue provides about half the income for the region, while 1 in every five workers is directly employed by one of the casinos.
With all the money flowing into the local economy there is a widening of the income gap in the region, and rising inflation is starting to put pressure on locals who are being crowded out of the real estate market, and are finding it hard to afford escalating rents. One of the negative consequences brought about by the rise of the gaming industry in Macau is the noticeable increase in numbers of the local population that suffer from some form of gambling addiction. Officials who administer the SKH Gambling Counseling and Family Wellness Center opened an office in Macau in 2010 to offer help to citizens who confess to having a gambling problem. Counselors that staff the Center state that young people are particularly vulnerable to gambling addiction, with young adults employed by the casinos being the most at risk.