Wa State suffers as fewer Chinese come to party

In a remote casino in northeastern Burma, China’s pervasive campaign against graft has taken its toll. Hundreds of local traders and farmers place petty bets as low as 10 cents, outnumbering a few Chinese who were once the VIPs of a gambling hall decorated with chandeliers and Renaissance-style paintings. “The business has been really bad since Chinese tourists stopped coming,” said casino waitress Ling Ling who was considering leaving Panghsan, capital of the self-proclaimed Wa State that borders China, to look for better paying jobs. The three-story gambling parlor, with some 1,000 workers, offers games from jackpot slot machines to high-stakes VIP rooms featuring bets of up to $16,000. It is deep in the Wa hills in one of Asia’s poorest regions, where its majority ethnic Wa farmers earn an annual income of $115.

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