February 2016

The Star Beckoning Asia

MACAU: Hengqin takes shape
VIETNAM: Long awaited bill coming
CAMBODIA: Sihanoukville's gamble
AUSTRALIA: Revamping online space

 Casino operators in the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands will now be permitted to seek accords with junket operators after the Commonwealth Casino Commission approved new guidelines.

A federal review of how Australia regulates online gambling could have major implications for a number of operators - both European and Australian - when it reports back later this month.

Nepal’s casino industry is forecast to bounce back in 2016 after a devastating earthquake last year and an unofficial border blockade imposed by India. According to Union Gaming Analytics the Indian market could have the potential for US$4B in gaming revenue and Nepal casino insiders say operators are perfectly positioned to attract those players. 

 Cambodia’s coastal town of Sihanoukville, a sleepy place popular among backpackers and expats looking to escape the frenetic pace of the capital, has long been a gateway to some of Cambodia’s most prized beaches.

 A long-awaited bill to overhaul Vietnam’s casino legislation is expected to be published in the first half of 2015, with the new draft expected to relax some of the conditions contained in earlier versions that analysts warned had risked deterring foreign investors.

South Korea says its tourism arrivals have now almost recovered following an outbreak of Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome in May that triggered a three-month plunge in visitor numbers.

Hopes that 2016 would be the year that Japan’s long-stalled casino bill would finally grind its way through parliament seem increasingly distant.

Early indications show strong interest in Russia’s Primorye region gaming zone, boding well for Summit Ascent Holdings’ Tigre de Cristal property, which opened late last year. 

Singapore’s gambling market is expected to be fat in 2016 and with no new catalysts to fuel growth the battle for market share between the two established casino operators is likely to continue.

Genting Malaysia, the country’s only casino operator, is expected to start seeing the fruits of its RM 5 billion revamp this year, though weak domestic consumption and falling tourism numbers may hold back growth.