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Travel & Leisure

Casino hub Macao set for worst year on record as COVID bites

Gambling-dependent economy hammered as lockdowns keep crowds away

Macao's landmark Casino Lisboa. Gambling revenues have plummeted in the former Portuguese colony after years of COVID-19 travel restrictions.   © Reuters

HONG KONG -- Macao, once the world's top casino hub, is headed for its worst year on record as China's zero-COVID policy keeps punters away and drives down gambling revenues to their lowest levels since the city opened to foreign operators.

Gross gambling revenue from January through November came in at about $4.8 billion, less than half Macao's casino income in the same period last year and a far cry from the $36 billion it racked up in pre-pandemic 2019.

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