November 1, 2019 / 5:47 AM / 7 months ago

UPDATE 1-Macau casino revenue drops in October as territory marks Chinese anniversary

* Revenue at lower end of analyst expectations

* High rollers stay away during Oct national holiday

* U.S.-Sino trade war, weakening currency, protests weigh (Adds detail on revenues, context on Macau and China)

By Farah Master

HONG KONG, Nov 1 (Reuters) - Gambling revenue in the Chinese territory of Macau dropped 3.2%in October, as the U.S.-China trade war and political turmoil in neighbouring Hong Kong tempered demand from high rollers.

The lower revenue was also partly because high rollers stayed away during national holidays earlier in the month, when Macau joined celebrations for the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China.

The former Portuguese colony raked in 26.4 billion patacas ($3.27 billion) in revenue last month, up from September's haul of 22.1 billion patacas, but at the lower end of analyst expectations for a year-on-year drop of 3% to flat growth.

Anti-government protests in the Chinese-controlled Hong Kong have disrupted transport and deterred travel to Macau in recent months, and while analysts say the impact on gaming has been minimal, the turmoil has added to a gloom stemming from a softening Chinese economy and weaker yuan currency.

Macau itself has seen little dissent to Beijing's rule and has tried to position itself as a beacon of stability and model for the Chinese government's "one country, two systems" formula through which Beijing administers Macau and Hong Kong.

Chinese President Xi Jinping is due to visit in December to mark Macau's 20 years under Chinese rule, an event that analysts say will likely put further pressure on VIP gaming revenues as big whales put off visits.

The VIP sector has already come under a lot of pressure since an attack by Chinese state media on Macau's biggest junket operator Suncity, analysts said.

Suncity, which operates VIP gambling rooms around Asia, was singled out by state media in July for raking in billions of dollars in online gaming and proxy betting, and "causing great harm to China's social economic order".

Macau's casino operators, however, have mostly posted third-quarter earnings in line with estimates over the past two weeks.

The six licensed casino operators in Macau are Sands China , Wynn Macau, MGM China, SJM Holdings, Melco Resorts and Galaxy Entertainment. ($1 = 8.0690 patacas) (Reporting by Farah Master; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman and Himani Sarkar)

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