Macau casino operator Melco Crown Entertainment plans to raise up to $600 million in a Hong Kong share sale later this year, a report said, as operators continue to bet on the Asian gaming hub. Melco, a joint venture between Lawrence Ho, son of gaming mogul Stanley Ho, and Australian entertainment tycoon James Packer, would launch its offering in the fourth quarter, Dow Jones Newswires reported, citing an unnamed source. The casino operator, already listed on the Nasdaq stock exchange, plans to raise between $400 million and $600 million in the southern Chinese financial hub, Dow Jones said. Melco Crown said Thursday it had applied for a Hong Kong listing, but did not say how much it planned to raise or when the flotation would go ahead. In June, the firm said it would pay $360 million for a controlling stake in a new gaming resort call Macau Studio City, its second in the gaming hub. Melco said it will spend $1.7 billion developing the 2,000-room resort, with construction starting as early as next year to meet a 2015 completion target. Its listing plans come after MGM China Holdings, a casino firm jointly owned by US-based MGM Resorts International and Stanley Ho\'s daughter Pansy, listed in Hong Kong in June after raising about $1.5 billion. US rivals Las Vegas Sands and Wynn Resorts have also listed their Macau units in nearby Hong Kong. Macau, the world\'s biggest gaming hub and the only place in China where casinos are legal, drew $23.5 billion in gaming revenue last year, outpacing the Las Vegas Strip four-fold.