Macau casino revenue plunges by half as Chinese gamblers stay away during Lunar New Year

Casino revenue in the world gambling capital of Macau plunged by nearly half last month as fewer mainland Chinese high-rollers visited during the busy Lunar New Year holiday.

Data posted on the gambling regulator's website Tuesday show that February's gross gambling revenue fell by 48.6 percent from a year earlier, the biggest monthly decline on record.

It's the ninth straight month that gambling revenue has declined in Macau.

Wealthy Chinese gamblers have been staying away as the world's No. 2 economy undergoes a painful slowdown and officials pursue a corruption crackdown that's reined in lavish spending.

The former Portuguese colony is the only place in China where casinos are legal.

Macau's annual casino revenue declined for the first time last year, falling 2.6 percent to $44 billion.