By Kate O'Keeffe
HONG KONG--Macau gambling revenue last month eked out a 1.5% rise as the growth rate in the Chinese casino capital continued to moderate from the aggressive pace of previous years.
Total revenue in July was 24.58 billion patacas ($3.08 billion), up from MOP24.21 billion in the same month last year, Macau's Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau said Wednesday.
The growth rate--the slowest in recent years--was also impacted negatively by a fierce tropical storm in the region last month that dissuaded some gamblers from visiting Macau. Still, the performance managed to exceed some analysts' expectations for a fall in revenue, which would have been the first such decrease recorded since 2009.
In the first seven months of the year, revenue rose 17% from the same period in 2011 to MOP173.3 billion.
Gambling revenue growth has been strong since the end of 2009, but the pace has slowed considerably this year due to a high base of comparison last year and concern about the sustainability of strong growth in VIP play amid liquidity concerns in China. The most bearish 2012 gambling revenue growth estimates for the territory hover around 11%, compared with growth of 42% in 2011.
Macau, the only place in China where casino gambling is legal, is the world's largest gambling center. Last year it earned more than five times the gambling revenue of the Las Vegas Strip.
Write to Kate O'Keeffe at firstname.lastname@example.org
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