February 2, 2010 / 2:32 AM / 10 years ago

UPDATE 1-Macau casino shares rise, gambling revenue hits record

* Sands China share price at two-week high

* Macau revenue seen strong in Feb on Lunar New Year (Adds details, more stocks)

HONG KONG, Feb 2 (Reuters) - Shares of Macau casino operators rose on Tuesday on reports that gambling revenue in the enclave rose to a new high in January, signalling sustained growth in the world’s largest gambling market.

Sands China (1928.HK), the Macau unit of Las Vegas Sands (LVS.N), rose as much as 5.24 percent to a two-week high at HK$11.64. Wynn Macau (1128.HK), the Macau unit of Wynn Resorts (WYNN.O) advanced 3.08 percent to HK$9.70.

SJM Holdings (0880.HK), Macau gambling tycoon Stanley Ho’s flagship company, gained as much as 5.22 percent to HK$4.03, while shares of Galaxy Entertainment Group (0027.HK) rose as much as 5.06 percent to HK$3.11.

Macau casino revenue rose 63 percent from a year earlier to 14 billion patacas ($1.80 billion) in January, according to analyst reports, citing Portuguese news agency Lusa.

The growth rate surpassed the previous record set in October 2009, when casino revenue reached 12.46 billion patacas.

Gaming revenues are expected to record even stronger year-on-year growth starting in February because of the Lunar New Year holiday, analysts said.

SJM, Macau’s biggest casino operator by market share, controlled 30 percent of the gambling market in January, while Sands was No.2 with 22 percent, analysts said, citing Lusa.

On Monday, Melco Crown Entertainment MPEL.O, a joint venture between Hong Kong-listed Melco International Development Ltd. (0200.HK) and Australia’s Crown Ltd (CWN.AX), soared 5.32 percent to $3.76. Melco International rose as much as 7.32 percent to a two-week high at HK$3.37.

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