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Casino Dollars Give Macau Top Spot in Asia

MacauMACAU, CHINA -- The tiny island of Macau, China has officially been named the wealthiest region in Asia, with respect to per-capita GDP. The island, world famous as the mecca of gambling resort destinations, is considered by many as the gambling capital of the world.

With soaring casino revenue and multi-billion dollar capital investments, Macau has beaten-out other Asian locations for the wealthiest region title. The Macau government says per-capita GDP rose almost 30% last year, up to over $35,000 per person.

In addition, the results from the statistics and census service show that in US dollar terms, Macau, with a population of 530,000, is the world's 20th richest economy. This puts the Macau, which like Hong Kong is a special administrative region of China, ahead of Italy and just behind Germany and France.

The 27% increase in per-capita GDP was helped by a 45% boost in casino gambling revenue in 2007, up to nearly $11 billion. Top US Investment bank, Morgan Stanley, forecasts casino sales will rise between 20-25% each of the next three years.

One such casino, the Venetian Macau, owned and operated by Las Vegas Sands Corporation, is said to be the largest casino in the world.