The number of mainland Chinese visitors to the Special Administrative Region of Macau fell by 16.5 per cent last month after neighbouring Guangdong province brought in visa restrictions in May, according to the Financial Times.

Amid reports that Macau has overtaken Las Vegas as the casino capital of the world, the UK newspaper reported that although the flow of mainland Chinese gamblers into Macau traditionally drops off after May, the decline normally averages at about only nine per cent.

Despite the slump, however, more than 12.6 million people visited Macau in the first six months of 2007, an increase of 21.3 per cent in a year-on-year comparison, according to official statistics.

Meanwhile, Macau’s Directorate of Statistics and Census Services said that 6.9 million of the visitors from January to June were from mainland China, up 18.5 per cent in an annual comparison.