Macau casino operator Galaxy posts 67 pct surge in 2017 profit

HONG KONG, Feb 28 (Reuters) - Macau casino operator Galaxy Entertainment Group posted a 67 percent rise in full-year net profit as Chinese high rollers returned to the world’s biggest casino hub.

Galaxy, one of six listed casino operators in the Chinese territory of Macau, the only place in the country where citizens are legally allowed to gamble, reported HK$10.5 billion ($1.34 billion) in net profit attributable to shareholders for 2017.

The company said VIP rolling chip volume, or betting volume by wealthy gamblers, rose 27 percent to HK$621.5 billion in 2017. This translated to an 18 percent increase in revenue to HK$23.1 billion.

Galaxy said it was exploring opportunities in the Philippines to develop a beach resort on the Boracay Island. Galaxy currently does not operate any casinos outside Macau.

The Macau casino industry is recovering from a more than two-year decline that coincided with a government campaign against ostentatiousness among public officials.

Macau’s overall market has grown over the past year, with new resorts intensifying competition for casino operators such as Wynn Macau Ltd, MGM China Holdings Ltd, SJM Holdings Ltd, Sands China Ltd and Melco Resorts & Entertainment Ltd. ($1 = 7.8289 Hong Kong dollars) (Reporting by Farah Master; Editing by Amrutha Gayathri)