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Macau casino revenue growth accelerated last year as the world’s largest gambling hub, which already takes in about seven times as much as the Las Vegas Strip, widened its lead.
Gaming revenue from the six operators of China’s only legal casinos rose 18.6 percent to 360.75 billion patacas ($45.2 billion) last year, Macau’s Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau said today. That compares with the average estimate of a 18 percent growth from five analysts compiled by Bloomberg News.
Casino operators including Sands China Ltd. (1928) and Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd. have been adding hotel rooms, shopping malls and entertainment shows to draw Chinese tourists, who accounted for more than 60 percent of Macau’s arrivals and have helped fuel a boom in the country’s only city where casinos are legal. Growth will probably slow this year in the absence of new resort openings, according to Bloomberg Industries.
“It’s going to be another strong year in 2014, while the growth rate is likely to be in mid-teens,” Grant Govertsen, a Macau, China-based analyst at Union Gaming Group, said by phone today. “In absolute terms, it’s going to be magnificent growth because of the improved rail connection and infrastructure, as well as the addition of the Chimelong theme park on the neighboring Hengqin island.”
The Las Vegas Strip generated $5.8 billion from January to November. Macau’s casino revenue in the same period was about $41 billion.
Revenue for December in Macau jumped 18.5 percent to 33.5 billion patacas from a year earlier, the city’s casino regulator said.
Galaxy Entertainment’s Deputy Chairman Francis Lui expects casino revenue to rise as much as 20 percent in 2014, he said in an interview in November.
MGM China Holdings Ltd. (2282) Chief Executive Officer Grant Bowie said last month he expects revenue growth to be “in the low teens” this year as the industry has a higher comparison base.
Macau, a former Portuguese enclave, drew more than 17 million Chinese tourists in the first 11 months with 1.56 million coming in November, the highest for the month in at least six years, according to data compiled by Bloomberg Industries.
Galaxy Entertainment more than doubled last year in Hong Kong trading, helping make billionaire founder Lui Che-woo Asia’s second-richest person. He had a net worth of $26.1 billion, according to Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
Galaxy Entertainment, which owns 2 million square meters of land in Macau, is the second-largestcasino operator in Macau by revenue. The real estate is enough to quadruple its footprint, according to DS Kim, a Hong Kong-based analyst at BNP Paribas.
The Hong Kong-based company had a 19 percent market share in November, compared with 23 percent for SJM, founded by 92-year-old casino mogul Stanley Ho, according to Citigroup Inc. Sands China, which has the biggest gambling resorts on Cotai, ranked third with a 22 percent share.