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Gambling revenue in Macau leapt 48% in February from a year earlier, government statistics issued Tuesday show, as mainland Chinese visitors to the territory helped push revenue to a record high.
Gambling revenue rose to a record MOP19.86 billion (US$2.47 billion) during the month, from MOP13.45 billion a year earlier, according to data from Macau's Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau. The figure broke the previous monthly record of MOP18.88 billion, hit in December 2010.
Revenue growth in February was faster than the 33% rise recorded in January but slower than the 58% surge for all of 2010 because of a higher comparison base.
Macau's gambling revenue has made a dramatic recovery since the end of 2009, as the city came roaring back from the global economic downturn, a swine flu outbreak and mainland China visa restrictions in the first half of 2009.
The fresh record gambling revenue comes despite Beijing and Macau officials urging the city to diversify its economy away from the lucrative casino business and efforts by the local government to tame the industry's growth.
-By Kate O'Keeffe, Dow Jones Newswires; 852-2802-7002; firstname.lastname@example.org