Galaxy Leads Casino Operators Higher After Macau Revenue Surge

Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd., part-owned by Permira Advisers LLP, led Hong Kong-listed casino stocks higher after Macau’s government said casino revenue in the city rose 42 percent last month.

Galaxy gained as much as 4.8 percent to HK$8.50, the highest intraday level in two years, before trading at HK$8.45 as of 11:17 a.m. in Hong Kong. Melco International Development Ltd., which has a venture with Australian billionaire James Packer’s Crown Ltd., climbed as much as 4.2 percent.

Gambling revenue for the six operators of casinos in Macau, the only place in China where they’re legal, surged 57 percent to 169.5 billion patacas ($22 billion) in the year through November, according to Macau’s Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau. The economy of mainland China, where most of Macau’s visitors come from, will probably grow 10 percent in 2010, according to the median forecast of 18 economists surveyed by Bloomberg.

The former Portuguese colony’s total casino gambling revenue was 17.4 billion patacas in November, 9 percent higher than estimated by CLSA Ltd. analysts Aaron Fischer and Huei Suen Ng. “While the growth rate is slowing given higher base comparisons going forward, momentum in terms of absolute gaming revenue remains solid,” they said in a note to clients.

Billionaire Stanley Ho’s SJM Holdings Ltd., Asia’s biggest listed casino operator, rose 1.1 percent to HK$12.32, extending its gain this year to 188 percent. Wynn Macau Ltd. advanced 0.5 percent to HK$16.56.

CLSA Forecast

Sands China Ltd., the Hong Kong-listed unit of billionaire Sheldon Adelson’s Las Vegas-based company, was halted in Hong Kong trading pending the release of a statement which the company said would contain “price-sensitive information.”

CLSA had forecast Macau casino revenue of 15.5 billion patacas for November, based on its estimates for the first 21 months of the month. “Gaming activity appears to have picked up later in the month,” the brokerage’s analysts said and they forecast Macau casino gambling revenue growth of 56 percent this year.

Visitor arrivals in Macau, the world’s biggest casino hub, have surged 16 percent this year, with about 53 percent coming from mainland China, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Mainland China doesn’t include Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan.

MGM Resorts International has a casino venture in Macau with Pansy Ho, who is Stanley Ho’s daughter.

Macau surpassed the Las Vegas Strip as the world’s biggest gambling hub by revenue in 2006, after the city government ended Stanley Ho’s four-decade gambling monopoly and allowed the entry of foreign operators.

Macau’s gambling regulator:

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