August 2017

IN FOCUS: Taking China out of the marketing loop

AUSTRALIA: Space for sports betting growth?

JAPAN: The problem of gambling addiction

MACAU: Concession concerns

TAIWAN: Kinmen gets its say

A strong economy, stable political environment and rising visitation are all helping to fuel growth in Cambodia’s casino industry, with a total of 79 licenses now having been issued in the country.

Hong Kong-listed Imperial Pacific finally opened the casino portion of its $3.1-billion IR project on the Pacific island of Saipan in July, though the group still faces hurdles in completing the resort.

Australia’s booming sports betting industry is still seen as being attractive to foreign investors despite the merger of local incumbents Tatts and Tabcorp, which are now expected to dominate the market.

With problem gambling firmly in the spotlight in Asia as Japan prepares its casino legislation, new research from New Zealand claims the harm from gambling is almost double that of drug use, bipolar affective disorder, eating disorders and schizophrenia combined.

Russia’s bookmakers see their future as being online, with some major players closing down traditional betting shops to focus on the interactive sector.

North Korea is seeking foreign investment to fund a $20 million casino cruise ship aimed at boosting tourism in the region. But international sanctions and cultural differences mean the initiative may never set sail.

As both cities and operators jostle for position in their efforts to host Japan’s first casinos, some may be underestimating one key factor. The single-biggest political obstacle faced by local governments and international operators as they select possible locations for Japanese IRs is the intense public fear about potential negative effects from gambling addiction.

Genting Malaysia continues to roll out new facilities under a RM10 billion ($2.3 billion) revamp plan, though a theme park development with 20th Century Fox, seen as a key driver for growth, has now been delayed until the second quarter of next year.

The Philippines is tipped to be one of Asia’s best-performing gambling markets again in 2017 despite concerns over how a smoking ban may affect casinos and an attack on Resorts World Manila that left 37 people dead.

A heat map of the casinos clustered around Thailand’s borders are a strong indicator of how much interest there would be if the Kingdom were to legalize gambling.