October 2017

IN FOCUS:  New skills for millenials

MACAU: Hato highlights infrastructure woes

KOREA: Jeju advances

PHILIPPINES: Exploring entertainment options

JAPAN: Leadership for locals?

In early September, MGM Resorts International CEO James Murren emphasized in a public presentation that his company was looking for a “Japanese-led” IR consortium in a major urban market. He wasn’t specific about what he meant in practical terms, but clearly MGM envisages its Japanese partners playing a major, perhaps a predominant role in a future IR.

IR development plans on the southern island of Jeju are continuing apace, though the outlook for international tourism to South Korea remains bleak in the short term due to a tour travel ban by China and escalating tensions with its northern neighbor.

Singapore’s two gaming operators reported an improvement in Q2 results, helped by cost controls, lower bad debts and higher premium play, though analysts see few catalysts for significant expansion of the market.

Genting Malaysia’s revamp of its Resorts World Genting facilities has begun to bear fruit, though analysts have expressed disappointment that the opening of a key theme park attraction has been further delayed to the second half of next year.

Filipinos’ well-known love for entertainment means the country’s casinos may see significant upside from their non-gaming attractions if they get the mix right, giving Macau a run for its money when it comes to creating a diversified entertainment hub in Asia.

The push to legalize casinos in Thailand appears to be gathering momentum, though experts say any reforms are unlikely to have much of an impact on the thriving illegal market, which is estimated at more than $5 billion a year.

Macau’s operators rallied to the aid of the community after the worst typhoon in half a century caused loss of life and widespread devastation.