Wynn Macau <1128.HK> on Wednesday posted a 77.6 percent jump in second-half earnings, as more Chinese gamblers placed their bets in the Macau operations of Las Vegas casino operator Wynn Resorts , thanks to soaring economic growth.

The casino operator, whose rivals include Sands China <1928.HK> and Melco Crown Entertainment , reported a net profit of HK$1.16 billion ($149.5 million) for the six months ended December, falling short of the HK$1.21 billion consensus forecast compiled by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Analysts expect Wynn Macau's market share to grow in 2010, as it is the only casino operator set to expand its presence in Macau, the only place in China where casino gambling is legal.

Wynn Macau, run by casino magnate Steve Wynn, operates one casino-resort in Macau and is slated to open an extension of the resort on April 24 in the enclave.

Gambling revenues in Macau soared at a double-digit pace in the last six months of 2009, signaling sustained growth in the world's largest and fastest-growing gambling market.

(Reporting by Sui-Lee Wee, Editing by Valerie Lee)