World

Gambling revenue in Macau higher than expected

HONG KONG: Revenues in the world's biggest casino hub of Macau jumped 24 per cent last month, beating expectations and posting a 10-month winning streak as wealthy gamblers returned to the southern Chinese territory despite a corruption crackdown.

Gambling revenue in the only place in China where casino gaming is legal rose to 22.7 billion patacas (S$3.92 billion), government data showed yesterday. Analysts were expecting growth of 15 to 20 per cent.

The growth rate was the fastest since February 2014 and the second-highest monthly result this year. Macau has rebounded amid better-than-expected economic growth in China, and from five-year lows set in 2014 when President Xi Jinping launched an anti-graft campaign targeting ostentatious displays of wealth.

Casino operators in the former Portuguese colony have seen their stocks soar over the past 10 months, with Galaxy Entertainment up 77 per cent, Wynn Macau up 45 per cent and Sands China up 17 per cent.

Macau's resurgence will worry rival casino hubs as they claw for business from wealthy Chinese players who contribute the bulk of operators' profits. Macau's revenues are more than six times Singapore's and nine times those of the Philippines. - REUTERS

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