HONG KONG, March 1 (Reuters) - Gambling revenue in Macau, the world’s largest gambling destination, jumped 22.3 percent year on year in February to 24.3 billion patacas, ($3.04 billion) government figures showed on Thursday.
Macau, one of the world’s fastest growing economies, has been relatively insulated from global economic woes by scores of affluent Chinese gamblers eager to try their luck in the tiny enclave on China’s southern coast.
While gaming revenue in the former Portuguese colony reached $33.5 billion last year, investors and analysts are cautious about the coming year, pricing in a slowdown in growth from 42 percent in 2011 to 11-20 percent in 2012.
Macro risks in China, including slowing economic growth and curtailed private lending due to rising bad debts, are likely to hamper Macau’s lucrative VIP segment, which depends largely on the availability of private credit.
Multi-billion dollar gaming companies including Las Vegas Sands Corp, Sands China Ltd and Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd , posted solid earnings in 2011, benefitting from a shift of gamblers towards Macau’s developing Cotai strip where they have properties. (Reporting by Farah Master; Editing by Chris Lewis)