Macau Revenues Surge

Macau’s gambling revenue is experiencing a meteoritic rise and increased to a whopping 40 percent to 15.8 billion patacas ($2 billion) in August after SJM Holdings Ltd. and its rivals added tables for high wagering gamblers. Revenue at the six operators in the only Chinese city where casinos are legal skyrocketed to 63 percent as opposed to the previous year to 117.9 billion patacas in the eight months through August, according to Macau’s Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau.

The revenue growth in August is the slowest this year and in line with a forecast made by CLSA Ltd. analyst Aaron Fischer. Wynn Macau Ltd., Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd. and other casino operators increased their revenue from so-called VIP gamblers having increased the number of baccarat tables with minimum bets of 10,000 patacas or higher. “A slight moderation in the growth momentum of Macau’s gross casino revenue would probably be a healthy thing at this point,” independent industry consultant Jonathan Galaviz said late yesterday.

“A significant real-estate market downturn is likely in China, and its ultimate effect on Macau would be pronounced.” SJM, which has the largest market share of the former Portuguese colony’s casino operators, said revenue from VIP gamblers more than doubled in the first half. Wynn Macau, the Hong Kong-listed unit of Wynn Resorts Inc., said revenue from high rollers rose 80 percent in the same period…

The pace of revenue growth “may still disappoint the market on the back of some aggressive forecasts that came out recently,” Gabriel Chan, a Hong Kong-based analyst at Credit Suisse Group AG said in a note to clients today. Las Vegas Sands Corp. Chairman Sheldon Adelson in June predicted Macau casino sales will grow more than 30 percent in the second half. Gambling revenue for the city’s casino operators surged 67 percent in the six months through June. Chan said 30 percent growth in the second half may be “difficult to achieve.” Las Vegas Sands gained or 3.7 percent to $29.39 in New York Stock Exchange trading yesterday.

 Tourism Surges Macau surpassed the Las Vegas Strip as the world’s biggest gambling hub in 2006, after the government ended Stanley Ho’s four-decade gambling monopoly and allowed foreign operators including Las Vegas Sands Corp, Wynn Resorts Inc. and MGM Resorts International. The three Las Vegas-based casino companies compete in Macau with Ho’s SJM, Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd. and Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd., all based in Hong Kong. Galaxy gained 0.3 percent to HK$5.90. The amount of tourists in Macau have increased to 18 percent in the first half, with visitor numbers from China surging 27 percent, according to govern



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