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Manufacturers express optimism for expansion as Asian markets grow

Manufacturers are seeing a bright future ahead, as markets such as Macau and the Philippines are roaring back post-COVID. Speaking to AGB at the MGS Entertainment Show, representatives of top companies pointed out what their current focus is, which products are hitting hardest and where they hope to see more growth.

Excitement for 2024

Lloyd Robson – General Manager – Asia – Aristocrat

Lloyd Robson, Aristocrat

You can go around the grounds at the moment and make a strong argument for a lot of the markets in Asia. And excitingly for us it’s seemingly also a bigger opportunity from an electronic point of view than what we might have seen before. So we’re pretty bullish as we look to go into 2024. And it’s great that our company is backing us and really seeing Asia as a huge part of our profile as we look into 2024.

Post-COVID Asian expansion

David Punter – Operations Manager Sales, Marketing and Service, ANZ & APAC, Konami Australia

David Punter, Konami Gaming, Australia

I think post-COVID, it’s given us some time to get products ready and approved and across Asia we’re launching new cabinets – the Dimension 49 and the Dimension 27 – and we’ve been able to get those into the markets: the Philippines, into Singapore and Genting and now we’re looking at producing that product for Macau. So, it’s pretty exciting times for Konami. And we’ve got a backlog of games approved, so we’re ready to go.

Return in demand post-pandemic

Asuka Kurahashi – Chief Operating Officer – Angel Playing Cards Macau

Asuka Kurahashi, Angel Playing Cards, Macau

The demand came back quite rapidly. As you know, we are a card supplier, and we can see how fast the market demand came back and we are very excited for the comeback. Of course Macau is still the gaming capital of the world. But new (growth) – like the Philippines, Singapore or South Asia market are also growing as well. So, overall in Asia.

Growth of ETGs in Macau

Jim Preston – VP of Global Innovation – Interblock Gaming

Jim Preston, Interblock Gaming

You walk through the floor of any major IR here in Macau and you’re seeing how the price of a live table game is going up significantly. So not everybody can afford to play a HK$1,000 baccarat game. So it just makes sense, as far as the visitors and tourists – they’re going to jump on an electronic table game or a slot machine, to get their sense of entertainment. So obviously that’s where the growth is coming from, and for us it’s just only going to mean good things for the future for Interblock here in Macau.

Primary growth markets

Peter Johns – Chief Commercial Officer – IDX Games

Peter Johns, IDX Games

We’ve had a big interest from the Philippine market, right now, which has had a lot of growth, a lot of new integrated resorts. So, the Philippines has been one of our prime targets, but also we’re seeing some growth out of Korea, new resorts opening there where we’ve got some products there in place and more interest coming that way. Macau being quite saturated, it’s probably less of a target, but we’ve had a lot of interest this week from some of the major players. So obviously the money’s coming back to Macau and they’re feeling like spending some cash, so it’s good.

Business uptick and new products

Jerry Hu – Regional Business Development Manager – Jumbo Games

Jerry Hu, Jumbo Technology

Especially for clients, they purchased some of the machines beforehand and then during the pandemic, after the pandemic done, it’s getting well. And also we have new games coming in. So they are very excited to have our machines on the floor. And especially we are developing more games for the ETGs. So, usually we have more standalone games on the ETG for next year.

New introductions to the Asian market

Kylie Rogers – VP of Asian Operations – Casinos – Paltronics

Kylie Rogers,Paltronics

We just have a little shift going on at the moment. As I mentioned before, we’re very well known for our jackpot management system – that’s what brought us to this market. A lot of longevity there. But we are introducing a new RFID and table management system into Asia. A proven product, from the US, by Genesis, so we’re really excited about that.

Important Asian markets

Katsuhiro Fujimoto – Sales Manager – Sega Sammy Creation

Katsuhiro Fujimoto, Sega Sammy Creation

As you know, the Asian market is emerging again, and Macau and also Philippines, these are the key markets for Sega Sammy, and we are putting full force into the Asia market, including Macau. So, at the show, as you can see, we have more machines than ever in MGS, and we hope to come back again for another show. So, this is our coming back to the Macau show and we have been working so efficiently, and our company has been pushing really hard on the Asian market. So, hope to continue this very important Asia market.

Macau Airport passenger volume lags 50 percent behind pre-pandemic levels

Macau airport, AirMacau

From January to October, Macau’s airport served 4.04 million passengers, slightly over 50 percent of the pre-pandemic 2019 total, according to the Civil Aviation Authority (AACM).

Macau saw nearly 8 million passengers in 2019, the year right before the COVID-19 outbreak.

The president of AACM, Pun Wa Kin, revealed at a plenary of the legislature on Wednesday that Macau Airport has a capacity of 10 million passengers per year. He believes that the current facility could handle the demand even with the expected rise in overseas tourists in the coming year.

Raimundo Do Rosario, MACAU SAR

On the same occasion, the Secretary of Transport and Public Works, Raimundo do Rosário, indicated that the expansion works at Macau International Airport are expected to start in the second half of 2024. The project phase is underway, allowing Macau Airport to have more space for aircraft parking and greater passenger capacity.

Regarding the new regime for the operation of the civil aviation market, the official also gave an update, mentioning that practically everything is closed, with only technical issues remaining.

Marina Bay Sands preparing to tap $7.4 bln in bank loans to fund expansion

Marina Bay Sands, Singapore

Marina Bay Sands is planning to gather S$10 billion ($7.4 billion) in bank loans to expand its hotel and entertainment business, Bloomberg reported.

Las Vegas Sands insiders stated to Bloomberg that the group may start marketing the deal as early as next quarter, in a plan set to include the rollover of a delayed drawdown facility, refinancing of existing loans and new debt.

If completed, the deal could mark the biggest-ever syndicated loan in Singapore funded in the local dollar.

In an October filing, LVS revealed that the cost for the Singapore casino operator’s expansion plan, will “materially exceed” the initially estimated amount of S$4.5 billion ($3.3 billion) due to inflation, and higher material and labor costs.

The $3.3 billion expansion would include the construction of a new hotel tower with 1,000 rooms and suites, MICE facilities, a 15,000-seat arena, and a rooftop swimming pool.

Marina Bay Sands Expansion - Arena render
Marina Bay Sands Expansion – Arena render

At the time, the President and Chief Operating Officer of Las Vegas Sands, Patrick Dumont, stated in the group’s latest conference call that the works for the Marina Bay Sands new tower expansion should be initiated in around “six months to one year” depending on approvals

Play’n GO launches latest grid slot title in its popular Reactoonz IP series, Gargantoonz

Play'n GO, Gargantoonz

Play’n GO is driven by pushing iGaming into a sustainable, progressive future and giving the fans what they want. Across the expansive 300+ slot portfolio – many titles, series and IPs have become fan favorites over the years – and the Reactoonz series is just that. 

Returning to the colorful sci-fi world for the first time this year, the fandom’s wishes have finally been answered with Gargantoonz, the next out-of-this-world chapter in the Reactoonz story.

Games Ambassador at Play’n GO, Magnus Wallentin said: “We’re so happy that the Reactoonz series is back with more out-of-this-world features.”

M80 teams up with Shikenso Analytics to measure partner performance

M80, Shikenso Analytics

North American gaming and eSports entertainment organization M80 has announced a partnership with German IT company Shikenso to strengthen M80’s audience insights and partnership valuation through Shikenso’s data analysis solution.

Since its debut in December 2022, brands including Zowie, Forge, and Secret Lab have taken notice of M80’s standout competitive success and growth and partnered with the brand to tap its loyal audience. To strengthen these partnerships and more, M80 will lean on Shikenso’s innovative cross-platform approach, which provides comprehensive insights into every aspect of the brand’s performance.

“By partnering with Shikenso, M80 is able to more fully understand its fanbase and demonstrate why esports is the best way to reach young, highly engaged consumers,” notes Marco Mereu, CEO and Co-Founder of M80.

“Since its debut a year ago, M80 has made a very steep and remarkable journey,” said Arwin Fallah Shirazi, CEO & Co-Founder of Shikenso.

Philippines GGR could reach at least $10 billion in full year 2027 says Scott Feeney

Entertainment City, Manila

The Philippines’ Gross Gaming Revenue (GGR) will increase to at least $10 billion in the full year 2027, according to estimates from GCG Gaming Advisory Services.

Scott Feeney
Scott Feeney, director at GCG Gaming Advisory Services

In the latest update on the Philippines gaming industry, the director at GCG Gaming Advisory Services, Scott Feeney, notes that positive signs for this growth are the increasing South Korean visitation and the slowly increasing number of Chinese. ‘We expect the Chinese visitation to increase significantly in 2024,’ it mentions.

According to statistical data, the Philippines received nearly 1.6 million South Koreans in 2019 and now 1.2 million from January to October this year. The number of Chinese visitors’ arrivals was 1.3 million in 2019, and this year only received 232,158 in a ten-month period.

In general, Feeney points out that ‘the Philippines enjoys a strong local market and a strong expat community (South Korea, China, Taiwan, Japan, USA). Strong regulations, the introduction of PIGO, and new airports in Cebu and Clark, all indicate that the Philippines will be competing with Singapore for the region’s second position behind Macau.’

Regarding 2023, Feeney estimates that the Philippines should reach an estimated GGR range of $5 to $5.2 billion, exceeding 2019 by at least 5 percent.

The Philippines’ GGR in 4Q23 is expected to exceed the previous record of $1.26 billion, as its 3Q GGR comes in at $1.24 billion. The GGR, since the $1.19 billion in 3Q22, has had very little growth in that 12-month period.

‘The record GGR of $1.26 billion in 4Q19 is most likely to be exceeded in 4Q23 this year when we expect to see increased growth in the South Koreans’ visitation and the gradual return of the Chinese. While the Philippines, in general, has been flat, Clark is growing steadily, and the GGR is now 19 percent of Entertainment City compared to 7 percent in 2019.’

Metro Manila, Philipines


Year on year, Entertainment City‘s GGR saw a 10 percent increase. Of concern is that 3Q23 GGR was 5.7 percent lower than 1Q23. ‘We attribute this to the market being predominantly local and the lack of Chinese junket play. In the last 12 months, GGR was $3.18 billion, almost equal to the $3.23 billion in the full year 2019.

For 2023, the consultancy firm estimates Entertainment City’s GGR to be in the $3.2 to $3.4 billion range, equal to 2019. The proposed 1Q25 opening of Westside City should see more players overall, as the property is conveniently located quite centrally to COD, Solaire, and Okada. Overall, Manila has been well below 2023 expectations.

New Clark Grenn City, Philippines


‘Clark is really the growth story in the Philippines,’ Feeney notes. In 2019, Clark generated $235.1 million GGR. In 3Q23, Clark achieved $160.4 million alone. The GGR this year is $450.6 million, well on the way to approx. $640 million.

Hann, D’Heights, and Royce lead the pack, whilst Midori, Casino Plus, and Fontana continue to struggle against the influx of high-quality properties. Capital Casino, operated by PAGCOR, brings up the rear. Other projects are in the early planning stages, while Royce continues to bring its new facilities online.’

NUSTAR Resort & Casino, Cebu, philippines


PAGCOR’s update did not include the GGR for Cebu’s NuStar Resort and Casino. However, the analysis notes the GGR for 3Q23 to be in the range of $20 to $30 million, and 2023 full-year GGR to be in the range of $40 to $50 million. A poker room and additional Junkets are adding to the growth. 2024 should see exponential growth.

NZ High Court rules in favor of SkyCity over compensation value calculation for Auckland car park

SkyCity Auckland

The long-term concession was granted to MPF Parking NZ (MPF) by SkyCity under a 2019 agreement, with MPR issuing a termination notice in October of 2022.

Under the concession agreement, SkyCity ‘was required to take back the operation of the car park following the termination, with the consideration payable to MPF by SkyCity being determined by a market price methodology’.

MPF later filed a dispute over the interpretation of how the compensation sum would be calculated, with reciprocated legal action from SkyCity.

According to a Thursday filing by SkyCity, the high court ‘ruled in favor of SkyCity’s interpretation and has rejected MPF’s alternative interpretation’, meaning the compensation amount will be calculated ‘in accordance with the methodology applied by SkyCity’s valuer’.

The group notes that it ‘has financing arranged for the payment of the compensation sum’ but that ‘there remains uncertainty regarding the timing for the reacquisition of the Auckland car park assets’ and potential affects on its fiscal 2024 earnings.

Dispute results from 2019 fire and missed deadlines

SkyCity Auckland car park fire

The dispute comes about after a 2019 fire damaged the car park. SkyCity engaged Deloitte – which evaluated the carpark concession at NZ$187.9 million ($116 million).

The firm behind MPF, Macquarie, hired KPMG to do its own evaluation, which placed the burned carpark value at NZ$240 million ($148.13 million).

SkyCity had initially agreed on a long-term concession over the carparks with Macquarie for NZ$220 million ($135.8 million) in 2019 (with the deal to run until 2048), with SkyCity to hand over the 3,100-park space by October of 2022.

The fire at the New Zealand International Convention Center, part of SkyCity’s Auckland casino complex two months after the deal was signed caused SkyCity to miss the October deadline, allowing Macquerie the right to reverse its option to buy the car parks.

Far East Consortium: 14 percent increase in gaming revenue, no mention of Queen’s Wharf Brisbane in fiscal 1H24 results

FEC, Palasino City, Palasino Holdings, Far East Consortium

Hong Kong Stock Exchange-listed Far East Consortium (FEC) has announced a 14 percent increase in its gaming business revenue during the first half of its financial year, to HK$151 million ($19.33 million), based upon its operations from the group’s Palasino-branded casino operations – located in the Czech Republic.

The group is aiming to spin-off the gaming business under a separate listing on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, which it filed for in September of this year, which would lower its stake in the business (also comprising hotels in the Czech Republic, Germany and Austria) from 90 percent to approximately 73.21 percent.

Far East Consortium, Palasino, Czech Republic, spin-off
Palasino Casino

Australian operations

Regarding the group’s 25 percent share in a joint venture with Australia’s The Star and Chow Tai Fook, the notes that it is expected to make a pre-tax gain of HK$58 million ($7.43 million) from the sale of the Sheraton Grand Mirage Resort on the Gold Coast.

The property is confirmed to have been sold in November, after it was put on the market in March. FEC notes that the final sale price was AU$192 million ($127.18 million).

The group is further planning the sale of two of its Ritz-Carlton hotels in Australia, having initiated the process in June of this year.

Far East Consortium, Ritz-Carlton-Melbourne
Ritz-Carlton Melbourne

Interestingly, the group makes no mention of the development of the Queen’s Wharf Brisbane project, which it also has a large holding in, in conjunction with its JV partners The Star and Chow Tai Fook. The property is expected to open in April of 2024.

Queens Wharf, Far East Consortium, Star Entertainment, Brisbane, Queensland
Queen’s Wharf Brisbane

Far East Consortium is a massive multi-national property developer, which saw revenue totaling HK$6.3 billion ($806.61 million) during the fiscal half-year, up 108 percent yearly.

Konami Gaming poaches Eric Schultz from Everi for VP of Studio Operations role

Eric Schults - VP of Studio Operations, Konami Gaming

Konami Gaming has announced the appointment of Eric Schultz as Vice President of Studio Operations to ‘lead overall game development spanning software development, art design, sound design, math design, and project management’.

Schultz initially joined the company in 2004 and has over 20 years of experience in casino games engineering.

The executive’s most recent role with the company was as Senior Director of VLT & Software Platform, which he held until 2017.

Schultz then transitioned to Everi Holdings, where he spent one year as Senior Director of Game Technology before being promoted to Vice President of Game Technology, which he held until his most recent re-hiring by Konami.

Speaking of the appointment, Konami Gaming’s CEO Steve Sutherland noted that “Our team is committed to growth in expanding sectors and global markets, and we look forward to continued momentum with Eric’s leadership and cooperative efforts across Konami’s world-class game studios.”

Daily Asia Gaming eBrief: Questions over foreign investment in PAGCOR privatization

PAGCOR, Casino Filipino

Good Morning. Privatize it, yeah, yeah. PAGCOR is aiming to do just that with its self-run casinos, with a lawyer questioning whether the process will place any limitations on the nationalities of investors. Going forward the group will also have to seek a balance between transparency and openness to investment, as it navigates headwinds. Meanwhile, the race to the Emirates continues, as MGM has announced its development partner for a $1.2 billion leisure island in Dubai, albeit with no guaranteed casino.

What you need to know

On the radar

AGB Intelligence



PAGCOR privatization during this administration: lawyer

PAGCOR’s privatization plans for the casinos it runs under its Casino Filipino brand should progress within the current administration, notes lawyer Tonet Quiogue. One question is whether any nationality requirements will be put in place for bidders, and if the companies themselves will have to be at least 60 percent locally owned. The lawyer also notes that PAGCOR, being a ‘younger’ gaming jurisdiction, will need to focus on balancing investment openness and proper management going forward.

Corporate Spotlight

1xBet – The Leading Bookmaker With Worldwide Reputation

1xBet, Barcelona_Partnership

Since 2007, 1xBet has grown from a small startup to a giant in the sports betting industry. Today, the company successfully operates worldwide, and the bookmaker’s website and app are visited by millions of players monthly. 

Industry Updates