October 1, 2019 / 5:32 AM / 23 days ago

Macau casino revenue up 0.6% in September

HONG KONG, Oct 1 (Reuters) - Gambling revenue in the Chinese territory of Macau rose 0.6% year-on-year in September as tempered demand from high roller gamblers amid the ongoing Sino-U.S. trade war and protests in neighbouring Hong Kong kept a lid on higher gains.

Revenue of 22.1 billion patacas ($2.74 billion) was within the range of analysts’ expectations from a fall of 1% to a rise of 2%, although down from August’s monthly haul of 24.3 billion patacas.

High roller demand has been hit by slowing economic growth in mainland China and a weakening yuan, which has made it more expensive to gamble.

Protests in the Asian financial hub of Hong Kong have caused transport disruption and deterred travel to the former British colony and then on to Macau, although some analysts say the impact on gaming revenues has been minimal.

Macau itself has seen little dissent to Beijing’s rule and joins celebrations this week of the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China.

The local government has prepared a series of events to commemorate the anniversary, including a light show where the image of Tiananmen Square is projected upon the historic Ruins of St Paul’s in the former Portuguese colony.

Macau has tried to position itself as a beacon of stability and model for the Chinese government’s “one country, two systems” formula through which Beijing administers both Macau and Hong Kong.

However, analysts said a planned visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping in December to mark 20 years under Chinese rule will likely put pressure on VIP gaming revenues as so-called “big whales” put off visits. ($1 = 8.0750 patacas) (Reporting by Farah Master; Editing by Jane Wardell)

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