Thursday, June 13, 2024
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Thailand and Japan are threats to regional gaming markets: experts

The growth within Asian gaming markets is going to be a mixed bag, note analysts, as they judge the potential of the Thailand and Japan markets, while evaluating the growth of the Philippines, looking at what markets stand to lose out as the new gaming jurisdictions come on board.

Looking at Thailand – the next possible gaming market which appears to be moving at a faster rate than Japan towards having multiple IRs – senior gaming executive Andy Choy notes that he is “a bit more pessimistic that it will open quickly”, citing recent discussions with insiders in the country who are concerned that political shifts could slow-down but not halt the legislation process.

But looking at the market’s potential, gaming analyst Michael Zhu notes that “the total market scale can be enormous once it’s stabilized”, pointing to possibilities of up to $6 billion for operators who can establish a large-scale IR within the nation.

This incoming threat could pose a problem to multiple jurisdictions in Asia, with Michael Zhu opining that Cambodia and Vietnam “will be the first round of victims”, and that Singapore will also take a hit “depending on the timetable”.

However, hopes are high that the rising tide will raise all boats, and that the demand will increase sufficiently over the time in which the IRs in Thailand and Japan take shape, so that operators will still be able to garner strong revenues without stealing too much of the pie.

One key driver for Thailand’s growth is Chinese visitation, with Credit Suisse analyst Kenneth Fong noting that “around 30 percent of visitation to Thailand comes from China”.

 This does mean that Macau could take a hit from the opening of IRs in the country, but Andy Choy again calls into question whether the industry is overly blinded by the lights.

“We look at a scenario with what we want the situation to be, as opposed to being objective,” notes Choy, pointing out that while the gaming scene is pining for a new market, the reality may not yet be in place in Thailand, in particular regarding political factions.

In a quick peak at Japan, during a panel with the three experts at G2E Asia in Macau, Kenneth Fong opines that it could be a market which achieves GGR of between $6 billion and $10 billion, which bodes well for MGM – the only current contender for an IR in the country – after its approval for an Osaka IR.

Meanwhile, the Philippines continues its growth path, with Andy Choy noting that Okada and Solaire are best positioned to ride the wave. Michael Zhu opines that the nation could possibly double its GGR within the next decade, to reach “close to $10 billion, with extra supply and the growing demand”, noting that Entertainment City will hold its position as second to Macau in the Asian gaming market “for the next decade”.

Kelsey Wilhelm
Kelsey Wilhelm
Kelsey Wilhelm is a broadcast, print journalist and editor based in Asia for over 15 years. Focused on content creation, management, cross-cultural exchange and interviews for multi-lingual productions. Writing focus on gaming, business, politics, culture and heritage, events and celebrities, subcultures, music, film, art and fashion. Some of Kelsey's specialties are: editing, writing, copy creation, multi-lingual content production, cross-cultural exchange, content creation and management for Asian markets.



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