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Philippines GGR to grow 15% this year, driven by domestic mass: Maybank

The Philippines’ gross gaming revenue is expected to grow ‘at least 15 percent’ this year, following the record-breaking year of 2023.

In the latest investment memo issued by Maybank, analyst Raffy Mendoza notes that the country’s GGR growth will be driven by the ‘domestic mass and slots market.’

Additionally, Maybank notes that the growth will benefit from the gradual pick-up in the VIP segment, led by South Korean punters, as well as growth outside Entertainment City (EC) driven by the opening of Solaire Resort North and the recent surge in e-gaming.

Bloomberry Resorts is the Philippines’ gaming market leader, and its second integrated resort, Solaire Resort North, is slated to open on May 25th.

Solaire Resort North, Philippines
Solaire Resort North

In the same analysis, Maybank notes that the Philippines’ mass and slots, driven by domestic demand, combined with mass tables and slot machines, accounted for 64 percent of EC’s GGR in 2023, compared to 58 percent in 2019. This scenario demonstrates the continued rise in domestic demand.

‘We believe this trend in mass and slots GGR will continue, driven by increasing private consumption. This should bode well for industry players as hold rates for mass and slots are historically less volatile and provide higher margins.’

Earlier this year, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) anticipated a surge in GGR, reaching PHP 336.38 billion ($6 billion) this year, driven by the growth of E-Games and the establishment of new integrated resorts.

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Fewer Chinese players still drag the VIP segment

Maybank believes that gradual VIP recovery, led by South Korean visitors, will continue, but the research team notes that the VIP contribution to industry GGR will continue to be dragged down by fewer Chinese visitors this year. As of 1Q24, Chinese arrivals are at just 24 percent of 1Q19 levels.

Currently, Korean visitors are leading the VIP segment’s gradual recovery, with Korean tourist arrivals already reaching 459,000 in 1Q24, about 88 percent of 3M19 levels. In FY23, Korean, Taiwan, and ASEAN punters accounted for 47 percent of Bloomberg’s VIP GGR, compared to only 15 percent prior to COVID-19.

Regarding the downside risks for the Philippine gaming industry, Maybank indicates that persistent inflation may slow discretionary spending, as well as the low number of Chinese visitor arrivals.

Additionally, Thailand’s steps towards legalizing casinos undoubtedly increase the competition for VIPs in the region.

However, Maybank reiterates its positive outlook for the Philippines gaming market, citing the resilient GGR growth in the past, even amid elevated inflation, the increasing contribution of domestic mass and slots punters to GGR, and the growing number of South Korean arrivals.

On the ground sentiment

According to PAGCOR’s figures, during the first quarter the eGames sector contributed PHP9.69 billion ($168.1 million) to government coffers, boosting the ongoing investment sentiment in the sector. Speaking of the results, the CEO of Jade Entertainment & Gaming Technologies, Joe Pisano, noted that “The growth of the iGaming sector will continue, last year it accounted for 20 percent of the total revenue and this 1st quarter its already at 43 percent of total revenue. If illegal gambling can be addressed and strictly enforced, iGaming can be on par with the land-based sector by the end of 2024”.

Joe Pisano

This was a sentiment also expressed by PAGCOR’s Chairman during the ASEAN Gaming Summit, noting that the sector’s growth is surpassing its land-based colleagues.

Also commenting on the results, gaming consultant David Lawrence noted that PAGCOR’s business-friendly approach “creates confidence and encourages operators old and new to innovate and invest.”

Looking ahead, the expert notes that “The areas to watch are online products and PAGCOR privatization which will inevitably push revenues even higher. The Philippines will without doubt continue to be the market to watch in the coming years.”

PAGCOR is pushing to complete its privatization plan by 2025, shifting to a purely regulatory function by selling off its Casino Filipino gaming operations.

Overall, sentiment appears positive for the Philippines gaming market, across both land-based and online, with authorities pushing more to authorize and regulate rather than shut down potentially lucrative gaming revenue streams.

AGBrief Editorial
AGBrief Editorialhttps://agbrief.com/about-asia-gaming-brief/
The AGBrief Editorial Team is a group of contributors living around the world that are connected to Asia Gaming Brief. They are active members in pursuing the sources of our news, making them reliable and accurate for our readers.

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