February 2017

A year in Asian gaming - After monkey mayhem, what does the rooster herald?

MACAU: Beijing controls brakes as growth resumes

PHILIPPINES: Warming China ties heat market

JAPAN: Race for the global gaming prize

VIETNAM: Decree unlocks door for locals

Vietnam has confirmed certain designated integrated resorts will allow locals to gamble for a three-year trial basis as part of the government’s new regulations for the industry.

Thai government efforts to reform its multi-billion dollar state lottery appear to be making little headway, with experts saying some of the fundamental problems are unlikely to be resolved until an online system is introduced.

Results for South Korea’s gaming operators improved in 2016, although foreign operators appear to be losing patience, with major projects either stalled or abandoned.

Singapore’s two IRs are seeing improved profit due to cost cuts and operational efficiencies, but topline growth continues to be lacklustre with no new catalysts for gaming growth and increasing competition from other regional destinations.

Russia’s eSports market is tipped for strong growth, though the ability of the country’s bookmakers to tap the potential may be held back by cumbersome laws on online gambling and a failure to understand the audience.

Universal Entertainment Chairman Kazuo Okada predicts the Philippine gaming market will soon overtake Singapore, making it the second-biggest casino market in Asia.

Imperial Pacific Holdings says its resort on the Pacific Island of Saipan will open in the first quarter of this year, despite reports of funding difficulties.

Assertions that Malaysia is now Southeast Asia’s epicenter for match fixing didn’t go down well with the country’s authorities. But just how accurate are these claims and why do so many fixes emanate from this part of the continent?

Macau got off to a good start in January, with GGR in the initial weeks higher than expected, though few expect any return to the stellar growth rates of the past, with China still likely to be the driving factor for casino operators.  

A surprise year-end push by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s administration to enact legislation allowing casinos has set the scene for an exciting 2017, with many global operators jockeying for a license in what is expected to become Asia’s second-largest casino market.