(Updates with comment from analyst in fourth paragraph.)
Jan. 3 (Bloomberg) -- Casino revenue in Macau, the world’s largest gambling hub, rose 25 percent in December to 23.6 billion patacas ($3 billion), as Chinese tourists spent more.
Full-year revenue at casinos, in the only place in China where they are legal, jumped 42 percent to 268 billion patacas, according to data from Macau’s Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau.
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., the world’s biggest casino company by market value, generates most of its revenue in Macau after opening its first location in the city in 2004.
Casino revenue growth may slow to about 20 percent this year, said Philip Tulk, an analyst at Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc in Hong Kong. “The main concern would be whether the high-roller customers will get credit lines,” he said, referring to high-stakes gamblers.
Macau’s casino revenue may grow 25 percent in 2012 even as China’s economy slows, Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd. Deputy Chairman Francis Lui said Dec. 15. Lawrence Ho, chief executive officer of City of Dreams operator Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd., on Nov. 30 forecast growth of 15 percent to 20 percent.
Sands China Ltd., the Hong Kong-listed unit of billionaire Sheldon Adelson’s Las Vegas-based company, climbed 3.2 percent to HK$22.65 at the close of Hong Kong trading. SJM Holdings Ltd., Asia’s biggest casino operator by revenue, gained 1.1 percent to HK$12.82.
MGM China Holdings Ltd. advanced 3.2 percent, Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd rose 1.1 percent, Wynn Macau Ltd. gained 1.4 percent and Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd. was unchanged. The benchmark Hang Seng Index climbed 2.4 percent.
Visitor arrivals in Macau rose 12 percent to 25.5 million in the first 11 months of 2011, with 58 percent coming from mainland China, the city’s Statistics and Census Service said.
--With assistance from Stanley James in Hong Kong. Editors: Anjali Cordeiro, Frank Longid.
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