* Macau revenue in line with analyst forecasts of 24.9 bln patacas
* Lower tier/mass market gamblers continue to bolster growth
* Macau industry facing tighter regulation and scrutiny
HONG KONG, Dec 3 (Reuters) - Gambling revenue in Macau, the world’s largest casino market, rose 7.9 percent in November year-on-year, boosted by strong spending from China’s emerging middle class who have continued to flock across the border into the southern Chinese enclave.
November’s revenue was at 24.88 billion patacas ($3.12 billion), data from Macau’s Gaming Inspection and Coordination bureau showed on Monday. The figure was in line with analyst estimates predicting a 7-8 percent growth rate.
Macau is the only place in China where people can legally gamble at casinos. While growth rates have dropped from double-digit highs in the past seven months due to lower spending by big VIP gamblers, overall revenue has remained solid.
Annual revenue is expected to reach $38 billion, more than six times that of Las Vegas.
Around one third the size of Manhattan, Macau’s casino dependant hub remains one of the world’s fastest growing economies. A modest slowdown in key market China, however, has led to a drop in visitor levels.
China’s change of leadership in November has highlighted the country’s focus on battling corruption. Tighter scrutiny and regulation of money flows going into Macau and Hong Kong have been stepped up in recent months, industry players say.
Despite increased regulation and scrutiny, overall gaming revenues are not expected to drop.
Analysts are focusing on improving data from China to bolster revenues going forward. Improving transport links are also expected to bring in visitors once new rail extensions are complete, starting early next year.
A survey of private factory managers on Monday showed the country’s vast manufacturing sector quickened for the first time in 13 months in November, adding to evidence that the economy is reviving after seven quarters of slowing growth.