HONG KONG (AP) -- Casino revenues in Macau, the world's top global gambling market, fell for an eighth straight month in January as Chinese high-rollers were deterred by the country's economic slowdown and corruption crackdown.
Data posted Monday on the Macau gambling regulator's website showed that gross gambling revenue last month declined 17.4 percent from a year earlier to 23.7 billion patacas ($3 billion).
Annual revenue last year fell 2.6 percent to $44 billion. The decline came after a decade of supercharged growth that began when the former Portuguese colony ended a 40-year casino monopoly, opening the door to foreign operators.
Wealthy mainland Chinese patrons have powered Macau's casino growth but they started staying away last year as the economy sputtered and Beijing's massive corruption crackdown forced many to rein in lavish spending.
Macau, the only place in China where casinos are legal, now rakes in about seven times the revenue earned on the Las Vegas Strip.
The revenue decline comes as Macau faces the tough task of pivoting to a new model of growth, as dictated by Beijing. The authorities want to wean the city off growth dominated by so-called VIPs: wealthy patrons wagering staggering amounts on baccarat in private rooms brought over by junket agencies.
Instead, the focus is now on family-friendly resort developments to attract China's burgeoning middle class.
Junket operators are middlemen who facilitate travel and help clients get around China's capital controls by lending them money to gamble.