Good Morning. The Philippines is less than a month away from its presidential elections, which will also herald a sweeping change of the guard at industry regulator, the Philippines and Amusement Corp. (PAGCOR). So far the candidates have not made their policies clear when it comes to the country’s vibrant gambling sector, apart from when it comes to eSabong – online cockfighting. Ben Lee, managing partner of IGamiX Management & Consulting, said this handover has historically been a time of great uncertainty for the industry as new management seek to make their mark, and operators need to be ready to respond.
Asia Gaming Brief’s editorial team will be taking a short break over the Easter long weekend, returning to you with your daily ebrief on Tuesday, April 19. Happy holidays!
What you need to know
- Macau’s current labor pool is mismatched with the talents required to meet the government’s diversification targets, the International Monetary Fund has warned.
- Star Entertainment’s chief legal and risk manager defended the company after being told the international rebate business was “out of control” and the door had been left “wide open” for organized crime.
- Melco Resorts and Studio City were added to a provisional U.S. list of 12 Chinese companies at risk of delisting due to non-compliance with the Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act.
- Future junkets in Macau will be subject to stricter licensing and probity requirements and operational flexibility, including only being able to do business with one gaming operator.
- Legalized gambling in the UAE appears to be becoming closer to reality, with two sources close to the matter recently telling Reuters that it will “happen soon”, without providing a timeframe.
On the radar
- Sands China, Las Vegas Sands top picks for 2Q22: Bernstein.
- SkyCity able to shed restrictions across its NZ properties.
- Okada Manila posts VIP, mass gaming uptick in 1Q21
What the papers say
- Blackstone outlines long-term plans to ramp up investments in Asia.
- Marina Bay Sands worker jailed for fraudulently acquiring customer rewards points.
ON THE GROUND
The Philippines is tipped to be one of the best-performing markets in Asia this year, although the views of the incoming administration towards the gambling industry are unclear and operators should remain nimble to react to new challenges, says Ben Lee, managing partner of IGamiX Management & Consulting. Lee warns this has historically been a time of uncertainty in the Philippines, with the incoming officials seeking to stamp their imprimatur on the industry.
- Galaxy wins Charitable Community Award for second year at IGA.
- iSoftBet introduces Rising Samurai: Hold & Win online slot title.