Philippines eyeing $10 billion in GGR, competition driving revival

The Philippine gaming industry could generate up to $10 billion in GGR in the future, according to some estimates. In a special panel at ASEAN 2023, operators and advisors indicate the strong competition is leading the industry to constantly improve and what they expect to see throughout this year and moving forward, as 2019 levels are already on the horizon. 

Here are some of the highlights:

02:40 – Growth to $10 billion in GGR is feasible, based upon current growth rates. 4Q22 and 1Q23 are strong, should hit 2019 figures around 3Q23.

03:44 – Revenue climbed dramatically after 1Q22. Thunderbird’s Rizal property saw strong competition regionally.

04:46 – Domestic mass business appears to be 80 percent of revenue. Previously junket category was high but was inflated by proxy betting which has disappeared. Recovery is driven by mass, as PH economy grows. But how much can the economy continue to grow?

06:45 – If current growth rates continue, $10 billion is feasible, economy could triple. International VIP market is growing. Flights are increasing. International players coming from Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Malaysia, but mostly Korea.

07:35 – For regional casinos the scenario is a bit different. Thunderbird doesn’t have junkets. For regional growth, should develop junkets and PIGOs. Survived because of the extreme local market during COVID, but seeing growth in VIP as people start to move around more.

09:35 – Players move around from property to property based on their luck factor. Newport looking to build small boutique hotel/casino in Boracay. Foreigner travel increasing strongly.

10:50 – Surprising to see that Hann Reserve is feasible, new properties in the pipeline, including possibly two new IRs on reclaimed land in Manila Bay.

12:30 – New entrants should do proper feasibility study. Need to figure out who is the target market. Slot machines can account for up to 60 percent of revenue. Philippine market is about the local gaming. Exception was something like Suncity, would could drive up to 80 percent via junkets, but they’re no longer around.

15:30 – All IRs are having a tough time getting manpower, being lured away by cruise ships also losing staff to Singapore and to Macau. Plenty of people needing jobs, but you train them and then they tend to leave.

18:00 – Customer safety is foremost, operators aim to continually upgrade systems. Facial recognition is in every resort. Regionally it’s not as common, but as price points come down it’s getting more common.

20:45 – New developments include AI to help tracking with clients. It’s already in place in parts of Asia but not in casinos – could be strongly used in marketing with targeted promotions.

23:20 – Non-gaming continues to increase – F&B, luxury retail. On the gaming floor – players continue to look for discretion.

24:40 – Online baccarat wasn’t successful, because consumers wanted the ‘feel factor’. Regionally did double online, but punters prefer to be in the casino environment, so players have returned quickly after COVID.

26:10 – Don’t think regional new properties will affect the Philippines market. Up to 80 percent of the Korean players actually live in the Philippines. Korean market is huge in the Philippines due to weather, golf, wouldn’t choose to go elsewhere as they’re already used to the country.

27:40 – Vietnam will be an interesting market to keep an eye on. Hoiana is finally hitting its stride. Three other new projects which will be very interesting, have a great potential to attract Koreans because of flights.

Audience questions

29:24 – Is the Manila market overbuilt? Or is Entertainment City overbuilt?

Seems to be enough growth in the economy and local players to service the operations. Haven’t reached the peak yet, possibly for next five to 10 years expect to see continued growth.