Casinos beat the banker: Macau leapfrogs Switzerland in wealth chart

Story highlights

  • Macau has overtaken Switzerland as the world's fourth richest territory by the World Bank
  • Only Luxembourg, Norway and Qatar are wealthier, according to the World Bank
  • But its casino industry's revenues have declined for the first time in nearly five years

Macau, the world's biggest casino hub, has overtaken Switzerland in the wealth stakes, being named the world's fourth richest territory by the World Bank.

A new batch of data released by the World Bank showed the former Portuguese colony's GDP per person grew to $91,376 in 2013, compared to $77,196 in 2012.

Only Luxembourg, Norway and Qatar are wealthier, according to the World Bank.

Meanwhile, Swiss per capita GDP stayed nearly flat at $80,528 in 2013 compared to $78,929 the year before.

That's the good business news from Macau.

The bad news is that its casino industry's revenues have declined for the first time in nearly five years, as gamblers turn their attention to the World Cup.

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The former Portuguese colony made $3.4 billion from gambling in June, 3.7% less than in June last year and down 18% month-on-month.

Macau is the world's top spot for the gambling industry, reporting a staggering $45 billion in gambling revenues last year -- nearly seven times the $6.5 billion that casinos in Las Vegas made during the same period.

According to analysts, the sudden dip can be attributed to the month-long football World Cup prompting punters to swap casinos for online sports betting.

The casino hub has been further hit by a large anti-corruption police investigation last month, which led to a crackdown on an international gambling ring that was operating an illegal $600 million World Cup betting operation out of a hotel in Macau.