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Tiny gambling powerhouse Macau feels strain of Chinese tourists during Lunar New Year

In a scene from the James Bond movie "Skyfall," the British superspy arrives in Macau aboard a small raft that glides under an arched bridge, past hundreds of floating paper lanterns and through an illuminated dragon head to reach a casino.When I made the trip to the tiny Chinese gambling mecca at the height of the Lunar New Year holiday on Monday, it was decidedly less glamorous.I joined crowds of fellow travelers, mostly from mainland China, cramming into an aging ferry terminal in Hong Kong to board a hydrofoil ferry for the hour-long trip. Elsewhere, tens of thousands jammed border checkpoints with mainland China.The holiday, which began Friday, is the busiest time of year for the former Portuguese colony, which Beijing regained control of in 1999 and is the only place in China where casinos are legal.Celebrations include fireworks, lion dances and parades but the main draws are the 35 casinos that have made Macau the world's biggest gambling market. While tens of millions of mainl...

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