Hong Kong main share index ends flat, weighed down by casinos

HONG KONG, Sept 1 Mon Sep 1, 2014 4:07am EDT

HONG KONG, Sept 1 (Reuters) - Hong Kong's benchmark index failed to hold onto midday gains on Monday, hurt by a weaker gambling sector after data showed Macau casino revenue declined for the third straight month in August.

The Hang Seng Index closed barely changed at 24,752.09 points. The China Enterprises Index of the leading offshore Chinese listings in Hong Kong also ended flat.

Macau casinos extended losses in the afternoon, with Galaxy Entertainment Group and Sands China both down about 3 percent.

Gambling revenue in the world's biggest gaming hub fell 6.1 percent in August from a year earlier, as a stepped-up campaign against corruption and falling housing prices in China cut business from high-rolling VIP customers.

Labour issues added to the operators' headaches. On Saturday, casino dealers working for the gambling hub's SJM Holdings started industrial action for the first time in the Chinese territory as discontent over salaries and benefits spreads. Shares of SJM lost 2.2 percent. (Reporting by Grace Li; Editing by Richard Borsuk)