February 2018

IN FOCUS: Operator viewpoint: expansion, revenue and trends

CNMI: Labor woes cloud development

AUSTRALIA: Queensland outshines dull market

CAMBODIA: Asia's latest hotspot?

MACAU: Mass gains momentum

Goa’s offshore casinos, which currently float in the Mandovi River, are waiting for the government to finalize legislation that will force them to shift onshore, which may prove a game changer for the industry in India.

Tiger Palace Resort Bhairahawa, Nepal’s first large-scale IR, won its casino license at the end of December, marking a major step forward in the country’s gaming sector, which now appears poised for expansion.

Melco Resorts & Entertainment launched its first property outside of Macau in December 2014 with the opening of the $1 billion City of Dreams Manila.

Okada Manila, owned by Japan’s Universal Entertainment, is the new comer to Entertainment City, holding a soft opening for the resort in late 2016. At 44 hectares, the property is by far the biggest in the complex and the rollout of hotels and other facilities is continuing. At its completion of Phase One, Okada will have 994 hotel rooms and operate 500 tables and about 3,000 slots. Its centrepiece is the world’s largest coloured fountain, as well as a giant inner city beach complex, known as “Cove Manila”.

Resorts World Manila (RWM) is owned by Travellers International Hotel Group Inc. (TIHGI) – a publicly listed company wherein Alliance Global Group Inc. (AGI) and Genting Hong Kong (GHK) are majority shareholders. It was the first integrated resort (IR) to open in the Philippines and is the only one not located in Entertainment City, but opposite the country’s primary international airport. The property is currently in the third phase of its expansion, which will consist of a further three hotels, more gaming and other amenities, and is scheduled to be completed by 2018. Further down the road, it will open the fourth and final IR planned for Entertainment City.

Solaire Resort & Casino, owned by Bloomberry Resorts, was the first IR to open its doors in Entertainment City. The $1.2 billion property, on an 8.2 hectare site, made its debut in March 2013 and expanded with the opening of the Sky Tower in late 2014. The company is now looking at further expansion with a resort in Quezon City, adjacent to Manila.

Casino operators in the Philippines now have to comply with the country’s new anti-money laundering regulations, though some industry experts say the rules are still are not strong enough.

Tourist arrivals to the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands surged 30 percent in 2017, helped by improved transport links and infrastructure, though labor shortages continue to plague the development of resorts on the islands.

Queensland continues to attract international investor interest in its casino market and is expected to see progress in new licenses being issued this year, though sentiment towards the market as a whole is lacklustre amidst flat revenue and rising regulatory pressure.

Russia has passed a bill that doubles tax rates for both land-based casinos and bookmakers, with even more hikes in the pipeline, raising concern the ever shifting sands of regulation are changing the outlook for the industry and threatening foreign investment.