Macau gambling revenue up 12.3 pct in September y/y

By Farah Master

HONG KONG, Oct 4 (Reuters) - Gambling revenue in Macau, the world's largest casino market, rose 12.3 percent in September year-on-year, government data showed on Thursday.

September's revenue amounted to a weaker-than-expected 23.87 billion patacas ($2.99 billion). Analysts had forecast September growth in the tiny enclave on China's southern coast, to be up 15-17 percent ahead of a national holiday week starting in October.

A slowdown in China's economy and increased political scrutiny due to an impending leadership change has taken its toll on the country's big-spending billionaire punters, pushing Macau's gambling revenue growth levels down substantially over the past 5 months.

The former Portuguese colony, one hour from Hong Kong by ferry, is the only place where Chinese people can legally gamble at casinos in the country.

(Reporting by Farah Master; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)

(( 28431631)(+852 9631 8262)(Reuters Messaging: