The Macau unit of casino giant Las Vegas Sands said Monday first-half net profit more than doubled, driven by soaring gambling revenue growth in the former Portuguese colony. Sands China's profit in the first six months rose to $539.5 million, from $250.5 million during the same period a year ago, it said in a statement to the Hong Kong stock exchange, where it is listed. Net revenue rose 19 percent to $2.36 billion from $1.98 billion. "Net revenues increased in all segments, driven by strong visitation resulting in part from continuous efforts in marketing (and) a stable macroeconomic environment in China," the firm said. It also said it is making "solid progress" in developing a mega resort complex in Macau, which is expected to feature 5,800 hotel rooms and 300,000 square feet of gaming space with retail, entertainment and dining facilities. News of the company's rosy results sent Sands China?s shares soaring 6.13 percent to HK$22.5 ($2.89) at midday in Hong Kong. The latest results underscore a sharp increase in gaming revenue since mid-2009, when the global financial crisis dented business at the city's tables. Sands is one of six firms licensed to operate casinos in Macau. The territory, which was handed back to China in 1999, is the only Chinese city where casino gambling is allowed. It has overtaken Las Vegas in terms of gaming revenue after the sector was opened to foreign competition in 2002.