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How The World's Gambling Mecca Shares The Wealth With Locals



MACAU – Not far from Hong Kong, a small island off the coast of southern China attracts 28 million visitors a year. The tourists, hailing mostly from Mainland China, come here to gamble. It is the only place in China where gambling is legal, and with its three dozen casinos, it is also the world’s betting capital.

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Macau. Photo ASDFGHJ

Every year, Macau’s government offers the island’s residents a share in the gambling revenue – by way of a cash handout, says to the Macau Daily Times.

This year, the Chief Executive of Macau, Fernando Chui Sai On, has once again announced that each resident would be receiving a cash handout of 8,000 Macau Pataca ($1,000). Non-permanent residents will receive 4800 Macau Pataca ($600). Macau has a resident population of about 500,000 people.

For residents, an additional 6000 Macau Pataca ($750) will be deposited in each person’s retirement fund. They will also receive medical vouchers of 600 Macau Pataca ($75) and income tax will be reduced by as much as 30%,

A former Portugal colony, Macau’s economy has always relied on gambling tourism. But with the support of the Chinese government, the long-established gaming industry monopolies were broken thanks to liberalization after Macau was transferred back to China in 1999. The introduction of foreign casino operators has contributed to the large increase in the government’s gambling revenue.

Prior to the transfer of sovereignty, Macau’s annual gambling revenue was only 17.7 billion Macau Pataca ($200 million), whereas the revenue generated by the gambling industry now ranks number one in the world with 269.1 billion Macau Pataca ($33.7 billion) in 2011, more than five times the amount on the Las Vegas strip.

According to Central News Agency, between January and April this year, the gambling industry’s revenue as well as the government’s gambling tax revenue increased by 25.5% and 26.3% respectively in comparison with the same period last year.

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First It Was Poland's Farmers — Now Truckers Are Protesting Ukraine's Special Status

For the past month, Poland has been blocking off its border checkpoints to Ukrainian trucks, leaving many in days-long lines. It's a commercial and economic showdown, but it's about much more.

Photogrqph of a line of trucks queued in the  Korczowa - border crossing​

November 27, 2023, Medyka: Trucks stand in a queue to cross the border in Korczowa as Polish farmers strike and block truck transport in Korczowa - border crossing

Dominika Zarzycka/ZUMA
Katarzyna Skiba

Since November 6, Polish truckers have blocked border crossing points with Ukraine, citing unfair advantages given to the Ukrainian market, and demanding greater support from the European Union.

With lines that now stretch for up to 40 kilometers (25 miles), thousands of Ukrainian truckers must now wait an average of about four days in ever colder weather to cross the border, sometimes with the help of the Polish police. At least two Ukrainian truck drivers have died while waiting for passage into Poland.

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The round-the-clock blockade is being manned by Polish trucking unions who claim that Ukrainian trucking companies, which offer a cheaper rate, have been transporting goods across Europe, rather than between Poland and Ukraine. Since the beginning of Russia’s invasion, Ukrainian truckers have been exempt from the permits once required to cross the border.

Now, Polish truckers are demanding that their government reintroduce entry permits for Ukrainian lorries, with exceptions for military and humanitarian aid from Europe. For the moment, those trucks are being let through the blockade, which currently affects four out of Ukraine’s eight border crossings with Poland.

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