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Travel & Leisure

Macao's casino economy woes deepen pandemic poverty

Bettors return to gambling hub's glitzy venues but rebound long way off

A man walks in front of Macao's landmark Casino Lisboa. The gambling hub's casino-dependent economy was battered by the pandemic.   © Reuters

MACAO -- When tourists started vanishing from Macao as COVID-19 swept the globe, newspaper vendor Tseng Lai-wah knew the worst was coming.

As the gambling hub sealed itself off from the rest of the world with tough virus curbs, Tseng's stall -- which had been operating for 40 years near the Ruins of St. Paul, a popular tourist draw -- was forced to temporarily close, leaving her with little to no income for months.

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