CORRECTED-Macau gambling revenue jumps 22 pct in April

Wed May 2, 2012 2:35am EDT

HONG KONG May 2 (Reuters) - Macau, the world's biggest gambling destination, posted an 21.9 percent rise in April gambling revenue to 25 billion patacas ($3.13 billion), government data showed on Wednesday, after the opening of a new $4 billion casino drew strong demand from large-pocketed Chinese visitors.

A tiny enclave off China's southern coast, Macau's booming casino town has been a goldmine for for U.S. casino giants such as Las Vegas Sands who have reaped stellar profits from their Macau subsidiaries.

Mainland visitors, who can access the hub via an hour ferry ride from Hong Kong or through nearby Chinese city Zhuhai, contribute the bulk of revenues in Macau as it is the only place where they can legally casino gamble.

Sands China, gambling billionaire Sheldon Adelson's $4 billion company, opened its new casino opposite its trademark Venetian property on April 11.

With economic growth in China cooling from previously red-hot growth and small to mid sized factories struggling, some Macau analysts remain cautious that a slowdown in the mainland coupled with a rise in bad loans could impact gambling revenues.

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