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Priest warns of over-dependence on Macau's gambling industry

Church officials and scholars in Macau have warned that the territory's economy should not become overly dependent on gambling as it opens up gambling licences to new bidders.

Fr Peter Chung Chi-kin, director of the Macau Diocesan Youth Pastoral Centre told reporters that opening up and diversifying the gambling industry could help Macau reach a new stage of development and increase job opportunities.

However, the priest added that in general the Catholic Church - as well as other religions - is against gambling, as it encourages the attitude of "reaping without sowing" and brings about many social problems.

At the end of next month, the four-decade monopoly franchise of the Macau gambling business granted to Sociedade de Turismo e Diversoes de Macau will end. More than half of government revenue comes from taxes on gambling: that accounted for over $A1.5 billion in 2001.

Keith Suter Comments (2CBA-FM Sydney)