HONG KONG (AP) — Casino revenue in the world gambling capital of Macau plunged by nearly half last month as fewer Chinese high-rollers visited during the busy Lunar New Year holiday, according to a report Tuesday.
Data posted on the gambling regulator's website show that February's gross gambling revenue fell by 48.6 percent from a year earlier to 19.5 billion patacas ($2.4 billion), the biggest monthly decline on record.
It's the ninth straight month that gambling revenue has declined in Macau, a former Portuguese colony that's the only place in China where casinos are legal.
Wealthy gamblers from mainland China have been staying away from the coastal enclave near Hong Kong as the world's No. 2 economy undergoes a painful slowdown and officials pursue a corruption crackdown that's reined in lavish spending.
Macau's annual casino revenue declined for the first time on record last year, falling 2.6 percent to $44 billion. That's still about seven times more than the amount earned on the Las Vegas Strip.