Macau’s economic output tumbled 24.5 percent in the first quarter, local media Teledifusão de Macau reported, as a widening graft crackdown and slowing economy in mainland China keeps high rollers away from its casinos.
The fall in GDP from a year earlier, if confirmed by the statistics agency, would be the deepest on record for the former Portugal colony since quarterly numbers are available in 2002. The city’s reliance on the lucrative but lopsided casino economy has made it vulnerable to political and economic swings.
VIP gaming in Macau, the bread and butter for local casinos, has been hit by President Xi Jinping’s campaign against graft that has snared thousands of officials and is expanding to include executives at state-owned enterprises. Demand is further damped by China’s economic slowdown even as operators such as Sands China Ltd. are building diversified resorts and hotels to draw more mass-market clients to Macau.
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