Forget Greece, Macau Is World’s Worst Performing Economy

Reliance of city on its lucrative but volatile casinos has left the economy vulnerable

Macau Bets New Casinos Can Spur Recovery

If you think Greece or Ukraine’s economies are in bad shape, the Chinese gambling city of Macau is doing worse than those European countries ever did.

The tiny gambling enclave in China's south saw its GDP last quarter shrink by about 25 percent -- a feat it took Greece six years to achieve.

VIP gaming -- the big money spinner for Macau's casinos -- has been hammered by President Xi Jinping's anti-corruption campaign, which has snared thousands of officials. Demand is further damped by China’s economic slowdown. Gross gaming revenue in the world's biggest gambling hub slumped 39 percent in April -- an 11th straight decline.

The reliance of the former colony of Portugal on its lucrative but volatile casinos has left the economy vulnerable to swings on the tables. Gambling accounted for almost 80 percent of the city’s GDP last year. 

While the comparison with Greece's GDP slide is stark, perhaps the jobs situation better describes the true picture:

Operators such as Sands China Ltd. are building diversified resorts and hotels to more mass-market clients. Time will tell if they're doubling down or making a safer, better bet.

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