Casino revenue in Macau, the world’s largest casino hub, rose 48 percent in February as Chinese gamblers placed more bets on baccarat and other card games.
Gambling revenue for SJM Holdings Ltd. (880), Sands China Ltd. (1928) and the four other casino operators in the former Portuguese colony jumped to 19.9 billion patacas ($2.5 billion) from 13.4 billion patacas a year earlier, according to data from the city’s Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau.
Macau, the only place in China where casinos are legal, boosted gambling revenue 58 percent to 188.3 billion patacas last year, more than four times that of the $5.62 billion for the Las Vegas Strip, according to government data.
The increase in February is “much higher than we expected,” said Aaron Fischer, a Hong Kong-based analyst at CLSA Ltd. “Spending on highly discretionary consumer categories such as gaming and luxury goods has been extremely strong in greater China over the last few months.”
Billionaire Stanley Ho’s SJM climbed 8.2 percent to HK$12.40 at the close in Hong Kong trading. Sands China, the Hong Kong-listed unit of billionaire Sheldon Adelson’s Las Vegas-based company, rose 2.9 percent to HK$19.04.
Wynn Macau Ltd. (1128) gained 2.4 percent to HK$21.60 and Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd. (27) advanced 11.2 percent to HK$11.16. Melco International Development Ltd. (200), which has a venture with Australian billionaire James Packer’s Crown Ltd. (CWN), climbed 5.3 percent to HK$5.17.
Stanley Ho’s daughter Pansy Ho has a closely held joint venture with Kirk Kerkorian’s MGM Resorts International. (MGM:US)
Macau’s visitor arrivals rose 1.4 percent to 2.1 million in January, with more than half coming from mainland China, according to the city’s tourism agency. Gambling revenue for the Chinese city’s six casinos reached 38.4 billion patacas in the first two months of 2011, 40 percent higher than a year ago, the bureau said.
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