March 2016

One Belt, One Road To Join Them All

IN FOCUS: An "An “omni-channel” revolution is coming

ELSEWHERE: Putting on the Ritz for Asia’s gamblers

MACAU: Junkets look to charm amid image scandals

AUSTRALIA: In-play debate rages on as industry awaits review

Australia-listed Donaco International, which runs the recently revamped Aristo International hotel in Northern Vietnam, has been betting on smaller players to help counter any downturn in the number of China VIPs.

In an increasingly crowded Asian casino market, several jurisdictions have new rules on the drawing board that aim to attract foreign investment and boost tourism.

Russia’s renascent casino industry, which was shuttered in major cities in 2009 as a result of a presidential decree, is under threat again, this time from government efforts to extract more gambling revenue.

Seoul’s plans to boost tourism through more integrated resorts were dealt a blow by collapsing Chinese VIP revenue, with interest in the South Korean market shrinking in tandem with the mainland retreat.

Singapore’s two casinos are struggling to find new momentum for growth, with slowing tourism spending, lower VIP revenue and a weakening economy. Though analysts say one is falling behind.

Malaysia’s only licensed casino operator, Genting Malaysia, is doubling down on its bet on the domestic market, despite a sluggish economy. Analysts say an investment plan to revamp facilities at its flagship Resorts World Genting will be the main catalyst for the stock performance. 

2015 was a dismal year for stocks in Philippine casino companies, even though the local market was likely the best performing in Asia in terms of gross gambling revenue. This year, the picture may be brighter.

Thailand’s official ban on gambling masks a huge appetite for betting, with recent studies throwing the spotlight on problem gambling amongst the nation’s youth.

Hong Kong’s world-famous jockey club is feeling the fallout from the economic slowdown in China that has rattled stock markets around the globe.

Analysts say the junket system of old may be irreparably broken with the mainland VIP market permanently impaired. 

Faced with a fight for survival, the junkets are taking action to polish their image.