The industry continues to be upbeat about the future, from tourist recovery, future casino developments to cross-border currency introductions. In our Face-to-Face interview, we speak with Chinese outbound travel expert Prof. Wolfgang Arlt about domestic tourism trends in China and what that means for the rest of the world. We also note a few points from Las Vegas Sands’ earnings call, in which Rob Goldstein expects Macau to lead the recovery in Asia this year, whilst touting his support for the digital RMB being introduced into Macau. In Japan, Joji Kokuryo, managing director of the Tokyo-based gaming consultancy Bay City Ventures comments on Japan’s casino regulatory framework, the interpretation of which can make or break the country’s casino industry.
First, the news
- Macau to lead Asia recovery, Singapore needs travel boost
- Rob Goldstein positive on digital RMB introduction
- Chinese thirst for travel regardless of blacklist: Wolfgang Arlt
- Japan’s casinos “some of the largest in the world”
- Japan Casino Commission not prepared: Toru Mihara
- Golden Week Macau hotel booking rate could reach 70%
- Macau March visitor arrivals up 76.7% from Feb
- IPI gaming license suspended indefinitely
- Australia’s Reef Casino Trust swings to Q1 profit
- WA Hospitality to open Sihanoukville casino resort in 2022
- Vingroup’s Phu Quoc entertainment centre opens
- Malaysia blocks 2,195 online gambling sites, terminates phone lines
- Caesars Ent completes acquisition of William Hill
What you need to know
Las Vegas Sands CEO Rob Goldstein is not concerned about the introduction of the digital RMB in Macau, believing the currency would be a positive to the gaming industry by adding liquidity into the market. Goldstein noted that the company is looking to focus on the mass customer and premium mass and that the introduction of a cross-border digital currency will allow for more visitation from China. I think the assumption has been by a lot of people, this is a negative thing. We view it as a positive as again, we would love to have more cross-currency and more cross-border currency,” he said.
Macau will lead the recovery in Asia this year, while Singapore needs international flights to resume to gain further impetus, executives from Las Vegas Sands told investors on the company’s earnings call. CEO Rob Goldstein said he has full confidence the company will return to pre-pandemic levels in Macau once visitation resumes and the company will once again be generating EBITDA in the $5 billion bracket. The results for the quarter were in line with analysts’ expectations, though the company gave little away on the key question most were keen to hear answered. Las Vegas Sands is sitting on a $6 billion cash pile from selling its properties in Las Vegas.
With their large development areas and “room for interpretation” of the 3% rule provided in the latest regulation draft, Japan’s casinos “may end up as some of the largest in the world,” according to the latest analysis of Joji Kokuryo, managing director of the Tokyo-based gaming consultancy Bay City Ventures. Among the other issues addressed in the soon-to-be-released report is titled “Japan Casino Operation Regulation Highlights” is the scheme for loans to casino customers which is likely to become an enduring source of controversy in Japan.
FACE TO FACE: Prof. Wolfgang Arlt
Professor Wolfgang Artl, CEO and founder of the China Outbound Tourism Research Institute (COTRI), talks to Asia Gaming Brief Managing Editor Sharon Singleton about trends in domestic tourism in China, which all point to continuing demand for travel once the borders reopen. He also touches on the thorny issue of where they might venture, given Beijing’s “blacklist” of countries that target its nationals for gambling.
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