Macau casino operator Galaxy Entertainment booked record revenue at its flagship StarWorld casino hotel during the fourth quarter last year, in line with bumper casino winnings across the island. Soaring volumes from high-rolling gamblers pushed revenues at StarWorld to HK$3.46 billion in the three months to the end of December, up 78 per cent from the previous year and 57 per cent from the earlier quarter. Sales of VIP gambling chips rose 83 per cent from a year ago and 21 per cent from the previous quarter to HK$98 billion, Galaxy said in an unaudited preliminary results announcement yesterday. The casino won back an improved 3.1 per cent of those chip sales, for net VIP winnings of HK$3 billion. Mass market table revenue was HK$271 million. Casinos in Macau saw record winnings of 36.16 billion patacas in the quarter as surging liquidity on the mainland appears to be trickling down to VIP junkets, who have loosened lending to high-stakes players which boosted gambling volumes. 'I think everybody was a bit surprised at how big the fourth quarter was,' chief financial officer Bob Drake said yesterday. 'It's great to finish what began as a very challenging year so strongly.' In response to the surging revenues, a mega-resort building boom that was stalled by the financial crisis has again taken off. Galaxy announced in November last year plans to resume construction of its HK$14.1 billion, 2,200-room Cotai casino resort complex and set an opening date for the first quarter of next year. Executives said at the time that the firm was in talks over financing options for Cotai and hoped to finalise a deal before the end of the year. But the company said yesterday that the talks were 'continuing' and it hoped to make an announcement 'in the near future'. Galaxy had already spent about HK$5.1 billion towards the total Cotai budget at the end of September. It had HK$3.8 billion cash on hand and HK$4.5 billion in long-term debt at the time. Earlier this month, the firm spent about US$106 million to repay the outstanding balance on a bond due to mature in December this year.