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Last Updated: Monday, 21 January 2008, 12:32 GMT
Macau revenues close in on Vegas
Lion statue at the front of the new MGM Grand Macau
Deregulation has encouraged the opening of new casinos
Gaming revenues in the southern Chinese territory of Macau soared last year, beating expectations and rivalling proceeds from the Las Vegas region.

Revenues rose 46% to 83.8bn Macanese patacas ($10.4bn; 5.3bn) in 2007, according to official figures.

Figures for Clark County in the US, which contains Las Vegas, have yet to be released, but were $10.6bn in 2006.

Many Chinese are keen gamblers and Macau is the only part of China where casinos are allowed.

Baccarat and VIP baccarat are particularly popular - they contributed 86% of the total revenue.

Macau's casino sector has been booming since a 2001 law stripped Stanley Ho's SJM group of its monopoly.

Many Las Vegas operators have been attracted since then, with the new MGM Grand resort opening in Macau last month.

The figures were released by Macau's Gaming Inspection and Co-ordination Bureau.

Last year, Macau's gambling revenues overtook those of the 40 casinos along Las Vegas Strip.

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