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Rolexes Pawned in Macau Signal Further Gains for Casinos

Across the way from casino mogul Stanley Ho’s Grand Lisboa in Macau, flashing neon lights lure cash-strapped gamblers to pawn their Rolexes and other trinkets and take another tilt at the gaming tables.

In almost any other city, these “receptacles of misery and distress,” as Charles Dickens termed pawnshops, thrive in times of economic downturn. Not in Macau, where they help fuel a casino market that’s six times the Las Vegas Strip by enabling the mainland Chinese who crowd the gaming tables to sidestep China’s currency controls.