High-stakes baccarat still rules town - Tuesday 12th of April 2005

The spectacular opening of the Sands Macau casino last year shook up the territory's gaming market by revealing the latent demand for quality mass-market facilities, but government statistics published this week show VIP gambling is still where the top action is.

Increased revenue from high-stakes baccarat accounted for 7.4 billion patacas (HK$7.2 billion) of the overall 12.3 billion pataca gain in gaming revenue posted by Macau's casinos last year, according to figures from the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau. Revenue from VIP baccarat provided 72 percent of total revenue.

 

Public baccarat tables provided 2.4 billion patacas of the gain. This contribution came as public baccarat revenue soared 80 percent for the year, double the overall casino revenue growth rate.

Blackjack and the big-small dice game each provided more than 500 million patacas of the gain, as returns from the two games each increased by more than 80 percent.

Slot-machine revenue increased by nearly 400 million patacas, soaring by 170 percent to 622 million patacas in total. The number of slot machines in the territory grew at the same rate, rising to 2,254 at year-end.

Mini baccarat, which returned last year after not being played since 1997, accounted for 353 million patacas.

Stud poker, which made its first appearance in Macau in 2003 with a 15 million pataca return, increased its contribution by 312 million patacas.

Revenue from the Chinese dice game fish-prawn-crab increased 217 million patacas. Other fast-growing games included roulette and its variation wheel of fortune and three-card baccarat. The figures show Macau casinos finished last year with 1,092 tables, 2times as many as the 424 they started the year with.

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