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Gambling revenues in Macau — the only part of China that allows casinos — fell at the fastest rate in almost three years in April against a backdrop of weak Chinese economic growth.

Gross revenue from games of fortune fell 8.3 per cent year on year in April to 23.5bn patacas ($2.9bn), according to the territory’s Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau, in the biggest fall since June 2016. Analysts polled by Reuters had forecast a fall of between 3 and 12 per cent.

The April total was down from 25.8bn patacas in March.

Bernstein said in a note in mid-April that it expects second-quarter gross gaming revenue to rise at a “modest” 2 to 4 per cent. “One area of potential high-end GGR stabilization and renewed strength may come from a recovering credit cycle in China which may support VIP recovery in the second half [of 2019],”

Macau casino mogul Lawrence Ho told the Financial Times in January that slowing economic growth in China was weighing on the world’s biggest gambling centre.

China’s economy grew at a faster-than-expected pace at the start of 2019, growing 6.4 per cent year-on-year, in line with the growth seen in the final quarter of 2018.

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