From India to Australia, casinos across the Asia Pacific region have closed their doors in response to efforts to combat the spread of the coronavirus, with little to no visibility at present as to the evolution of the situation.
The fast-changing nature of the crisis has left analysts scrambling to find a basis to rewrite their forecasts for the coming quarters, as operators struggle to cut high overheads in the face of collapsing revenue.
In Macau, the casinos remain open, but the borders to the outside world are closed with the territory seeking to prevent reinfection from a series of imported cases. The government has forecast a drop in gross gambling revenue of about 55 percent this year, compared with 2019, although equity analysts are slightly less pessimistic, with Jefferies putting the likely decline at around 45 percent for 2020, before a strong rebound of almost 33 percent next year.
This Dossier results from the “Life After POGOs” editorial project by Asia Gaming Brief which culminated with a pop-up digital forum on 9th December to discuss potentials ramifications in the industry.
On 3 April 2020, the Ministry of Home Affairs of Singapore (MHA) announced that it will be reconstituting the Casino Regulatory Authority (CRA) to establish the Gambling Regulatory Authority (GRA) by 2021. The GRA will have an expanded mandate to regulate the entire gambling landscape in Singapore and aims to consolidate and optimize gambling regulatory resources within a single agency.
The Macau Civil Servants Association has urged Chief Executive Ho Iat Sent to encourage the other five gaming operators to follow SJM Holdings in providing a "reward" to employees early in the New Year.
Over the years, many of the answers have been remarkably prescient in their forecasts for the near-term direction of Asia’s gaming industry. However, we can safely say that no one came anywhere close to guessing
what 2020 may have had in store.
While nowhere in the world has escaped the economic fallout from the Covid-19 crisis, Macau has been hit harder than most, with forecasts for gross domestic product to shrink more than 50 percent this year.