Macau January Casino Revenue Rises 35% on New Year Gains

Casino revenue in Macau, the world’s largest gambling hub, rose 35 percent in January, beating analyst estimates as Chinese tourists spent more during the Lunar New Year holiday.

Revenue at casinos in Macau, the only place in China where they are legal, jumped 35 percent to 25 billion patacas ($3.13 billion) in January, according to data from Macau’s Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau. That was higher than the median estimate of 24 billion patacas from seven analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News.

“Better infrastructure is drawing more Chinese tourists to Macau, benefiting the whole industry,” said Gary Pinge, an analyst at Macquarie Securities Ltd. He predicts slower growth from February as high-stake gamblers find it harder to raise credit.

Chinese gamblers have fueled growth in the former Portuguese colony, where gambling sales have more than tripled in the past four years. Las Vegas Sands Corp. (LVS), the world’s biggest casino company by market value, made 60 percent of its revenue in Macau in 2010 after opening its first location in the city in 2004.

Visitors to locations belonging to Sands China Ltd. (1928), Asia’s biggest casino operator by market value, rose by 5 percent to 6 percent to more than 1 million during the Lunar New Year holiday from Jan. 23 to Jan. 29, the company said on Jan. 30.

Sands China, the Hong Kong-listed unit of billionaire Sheldon Adelson’s Las Vegas-based company, climbed 0.8 percent to HK$26.45 at the close in Hong Kong trading. SJM Holdings Ltd. (880), Asia’s biggest casino company founded by billionaire Stanley Ho, gained 2 percent to HK$14.16.

MGM China Holdings Ltd. advanced 0.9 percent, Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd. (27) jumped 1.8 percent, Wynn Macau Ltd. moved 0.2 percent higher and Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd. gained 1.4 percent. The benchmark Hang Seng Index dipped 0.3 percent.

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