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Robot roulette dealers, animation playing cards, and dice-waving game tables were on display at Macau’s gambling hub on Tuesday as experts predict a two-year slump in casino profits will end.

The atmosphere was lively as about 200 exhibitors showcased their products at the Global Game Expo Asia, from compact racing tables to colorful crab machines boasting huge golden dragon sculptures.

Macau casino imports continued to decline in April, marking the 23rd consecutive month of decline due to China’s economic slowdown and Beijing’s crackdown on corruption.

However, April’s sales fell 9.5% year-over-year to 17.34 billion pattaka ($2.16 billion), below analysts’ expectations. Businesses are showing signs of hope that the flow of losses could change.

The stabilization comes as Chinese President Xi Jinping’s crackdown on corruption, which has curbed public luxury, seeks to turn the city into a family-friendly mass market to make up for mainland high rollers away.

In the semi-autonomous Chinese city, a former Portuguese colony, most of the game’s revenue was in the VIP sector, which was hit hard.

Analyst Aaron Fisher said in an opening speech to the game exhibition that sales could rise again by the end of the year on the back of the opening of a new casino resort.

“Macao is changing from the first version,” added Fischer of CLSA.

“We’re moving from VIPs to lower-value mass market customers.”

Win Palace, a floreal-themed resort featuring a lake with gondolas, and Sheldon Adelson’s “The Parisian,” an American casino mogul featuring a small Eiffel Tower, will open in 2017.

Game analyst Ben Lee said in an interview with AFP before the event, “Recently, sentiment has become quite optimistic. “The market is showing signs of bottoming out,” he said.

But Lee said the city government and casino operators should do much more to focus the industry on popular market consumers.

“Macao still doesn’t have the infrastructure to attract the family sector. We’re talking about logistics, attraction, language, and common old service affinity

The area opened in 2015 with two huge hotels and casino resorts aimed at popular market visitors.

Studio City, which boasts the world’s first 8-inch roller coaster, featured Robert De Niro, Martin Scorsese, Brad Pitt, and Leonardo DiCaprio in October.

It came hot with a vast rooftop water park filled with rivers following the opening of the Galaxy Phase 2 last spring.

Since Las Vegas opened up to foreign competition, the Asian gambling hub has become the world’s casino capital in terms of revenue, still ahead of the United States despite the downturn. 릴게임


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