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Macau gambling revenues rise 66 percent

3 January 2011

MACAU -- Macau gaming revenues grew 66 percent in December and almost 58 percent for all of 2010.

The Macau Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau announced this morning the market generated gross gaming revenues of 18.9 billion Patacas, which translated into roughly $2.4 billion in U.S. Dollars based currency conversion rates.

For all of 2010, Macau casinos collected gaming revenues of 188 billion Patacas, which translated into roughly $23.4 billion in U.S. Dollars.

"These results are above expectations and confirm our belief that Macau gaming revenues will continue to be strong in 2011, even despite a modest cooling of the Chinese economy," Jefferies & Co. gaming analyst David Katz told investors.

Wells Fargo Securities gaming analyst Carlo Santarelli said the December results were "considerably stronger than most expectations coming into the period."

Wall Street said the Macau figures could boost the prospects for Wynn Resorts Ltd., Las Vegas Sands Corp. and MGM Resorts International, which operate casinos in the Special Administrative Region, which is the only location in China where gambling is legal.

"The strength in market share here should put to rest any investor concern on the potential negative impact of increased VIP commission competition," JP Morgan gaming analyst Joe Greff said.