May 2016

The China Factor

IN FOCUS: Proxy betting snagging Macau’s missing billions? 

MACAU: Party over for junkets as new rules loom

CAMBODIA: Small company thinks big in Sihanoukville

PHILIPPINES: Bank heist puts spotlight on AML

As China’s outbound tourism market continues to balloon, a growing number of destinations are easing visa requirements to woo the mainland traveller, with casinos in those countries likely to be among the key beneficiaries. 

Macau’s junket sector, which has been under pressure due to falling VIP revenue and a series of scandals, now faces government reform.

New Zealand’s only listed casino operator, SkyCity Entertainment, is going through a period of transition, with a change in CEO prompting speculation over potential asset sales or takeovers.

Aided by its natural beauty, remote location and China-friendly visa policies, a temporary casino on the tiny island of Saipan in the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands is reporting a roaring trade, especially in VIP clients.

Australia is still seen as having room for growth, despite the planned boom in new multi-billion dollar integrated resorts, as Chinese tourism numbers increase. 

While investors continue to wait for Vietnam’s new casino legislation, projects are moving ahead amidst reports of strong growth in VIP gambling at the country’s casinos.

Malaysia-based SV International revealed plans to transform the sleepy coastal town of Sihanoukville, Cambodia, into the “Macau of Southeast Asia.”

Last year’s irrational exuberance for South Korea’s casino industry has undoubtedly muted as investors weigh the risks of a foreigner-only market, however, interest amongst the world’s casino majors remains.

Russian bookmakers continue to struggle with a tangled web of regulations aimed at controlling the online market, with a new centralized online payments hub coming under fire for being overly complicated.

Thailand, whose conservative Buddhist society has long been opposed to gambling, has again renewed the debate over legalizing casinos as the government eyes a potential boost to tax revenue and tourism numbers.