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Macau casinos achieve new record with US$45 billion in annual revenue

HONG KONG -- The tiny Chinese city of Macau has again smashed its annual record for casino earnings as revenues last year hit a staggering US$45 billion, further underlining its outsized position as the world's biggest gambling market.

Gambling regulator data released Thursday showed that Macau's three dozen casinos raked in 33.5 billion patacas (US$4.2 billion) in December. That brought revenue for 2013 to 360.8 billion patacas (US$45 billion), up 18.6 percent from the year before.

Analyst Grant Govertsen of Union Gaming Research estimated that Macau's take would be more than seven times the amount earned on the Las Vegas Strip.

The former Portuguese colony's once-lethargic casino market has thrived since the government ended a gambling monopoly a decade ago and let in foreign players such as Las Vegas Sands Corp. and Wynn Resorts Ltd.

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