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The Biggest Gamble: Can Macau Beat the Odds?

Despite a slowdown in China, the world's largest gaming center is doubling down on its future.

Barely 10 years ago, Francis Lui and his family were building a relatively modest fortune largely from quarrying rock in Hong Kong and processing slag from blast furnaces on mainland China. Today, in the Chinese enclave of Macau, they preside over two palatial casinos that alone generate vastly more gaming revenue than the entire Las Vegas Strip. They're also acquiring a stake in the Monaco royal family-controlled company that operates the Casino de Monte-Carlo.

And yet standing beneath the 24-karat gilded cupolas atop the white-and-gold towers of his flagship, 3,800-room Galaxy Macau resort, Lui insists his journey from grit to glitz hasn’t changed his low-key lifestyle. “Personally, I’m not a gambling man,” he says.