Ben Lee

    Website: http://www.igamix.com/

    Ben Lee is the managing partner of IGamiX Management & Consulting based in Macau. He is quietly acknowledged as one of the region’s experts in the area of Asian gaming market. With extensive gaming experience all over Asia and Australia, Ben has spent the last eight years covering and uncovering new gaming projects around the Asia Pacific region. He is currently consulting to numerous multinational companies on their Asian gaming development strategies. Ben’s qualifications: MBA (Melbourne Business School), Post.Grad.Dip. Management, Grad.Dip. Jap and B.Ec. Ben was also a Certified Practicing Marketer with the Australian Institute of Marketing.

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    Crown’s China marketing head quits

    Crown Resorts’ head of international marketing, Michael Chen had reportedly left the company sometime in March, according to The Australian. “It is understood that Crown’s China marketing guru, Mr Chen, ceased working for the James Packer-backed casino empire more than a month ago,” noted the news outlet. It is not clear whether Mr. Chen had […]

    The year ahead – Ben Lee

    Looking forward to 2017, the picture is less than clear. With the recent detention and arrests of Crown’s staff in China, all but one of the operators in Macau have ceased their direct marketing efforts across the border. Most if not all the foreign operators who have been targeting China have adopted the same risk […]

    Vietnam draft decree won’t cut gaming taxes

    Vietnam’s draft gaming decree, which is now in its final stages and awaiting approval from the prime minister, won’t cut the country’s high gaming tax rate. The long-awaited gaming bill is likely to be published by the end of this year, or early next, said Professor Augustine Ha Ton Vinh, president and CEO of Stellar […]

    Skill-based gaming a no go: regulator

    The Macau gaming regulator says it has no plans to promote skill-based games in the territory, according to a report from Macau Business Daily on Tuesday. While skill-based gaming is seen as a way for Macau to diversify its gaming offerings and offer a new avenue for “millennial gamers” to engage in the industry, the […]

    Macau Legend’s Harbourview Hotel opens

    The Harbourview Hotel, with 389-rooms and modeled on 18th century Prague architecture, has opened in Macau, marking the first of several non-gaming related projects planned for this year. The 4-star hotel, owned by Macau Legend Development and costing about $193 million, is connected to the Flamingo Casino slot hall, and Babylon Casino, which features 35 […]

    Hainan resorts make plans to add pseudo gaming floors

    At least five Chinese-owned resorts in Hainan have been laying down plans to convert their ballrooms into pseudo gaming floors, Bloomberg reports. According to people with direct knowledge of the plans, the gaming floors will allow players play with real money, but receive their winnings in the form of points which can be redeemed at […]

    China protests seen unlikely to dent Indochina prospects

    A backlash against a perceived influx of Chinese investment has sparked protests in both Vietnam and Cambodia this year, though experts say the outlook for two of the region’s most promising gaming markets remains positive. Most recently the protests have centered on plans for three economic zones in Vietnam, one in the center, one in […]

    UnionPay crackdown has minimal impact amidst illegal use

    The seizure of UnionPay point of sale terminals (POS) from pawn shops in Macau earlier this month triggered a slide in operator shares on fears of tighter capital controls, though the continued use of illegal devices means there has been little impact on revenue. Two state-owned mainland banks, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) […]
    Mey Vann, Mekong Gaming Summit

    Online industry was “out of control,” Cambodia’s MoF says

    Cambodia shut down its online industry as it was “out of control” and it now plans to focus on improving infrastructure in Sihanoukville to reinvigorate the town into an upscale tourism destination.

    IPI debt levels rise, construction woes persist

    Imperial Pacific International is facing mounting levels of bad debt due to its practice of extending direct credit to VIPs, while it continues to struggle to make headway on completing its hotel facilities. Problems for Saipan’s only operator continue to mount, with the company recently denying persistent reports it has been the subject of a Federal Bureau of Investigation raid. In its most recent results, the company posted stellar topline growth, though its outstanding receivables and debt provisions also gained in tandem, with the figures showing a high degree of credit risk concentration on just a handful of clients.

    AML laws seen lacking teeth

    Casino operators in the Philippines have been attending workshops on how to comply with the country’s new anti-money laundering regulations, though some industry experts say the rules are still are not strong enough. The reporting thresholds are similar to Macau, and some say that's too high for the market. 

    Concession clarity lacking as deadline approaches

    In just three years, the first of the licenses awarded to Macau’s concessionaires expire and, despite the billions of dollars invested by the operators in the market, there is still no clarity over the renewal process. There is no mechanism under the current law for automatic renewal which, as the deadline approaches, is leading to increasing concern in the market as to the tack the government may take. Views on the ground are mixed.

    New rules to trigger consolidation

    Cambodia’s long-awaited gambling legislation is likely to be published mid-year and could herald the start of a dramatic shake out of the country’s 65 casinos. Higher tax rates and investment levels may trigger consolidation. 

    Outlook improves, but China remains in driver’s seat

    Macau got off to a good start in January, with GGR in the initial weeks higher than expected, though few expect any return to the stellar growth rates of the past, with China still likely to be the driving factor for casino operators. Beijing’s crackdown on corruption triggered a two-year slump in gaming revenue and going forward the performance of its economy, efforts to control capital outflows and its ongoing fight against graft will all play a role in determining the strength of the local gaming market.

    Resorts, regulations and risks — a look at the year ahead

    With signs Macau is well on the road to recovery; the Philippine market growing in double digits; and the prospect of casinos in Japan, 2017 is starting on a more promising note for Asia’s casino industry. We asked some of our contributors to give us their predictions for what will be the most notable events and trends of the year ahead. 

    Recovery, arrests and openings – 2016 in review

    To coin a popular phrase, 2016 really has been a year of two halves in the Asian gaming industry. To continue with the cliches, it’s also fair to say there have been a few curved balls along the route. Industry experts gave us their views of the year just passed, with the good, the bad and the ugly.
    Vietnam Ha Long Bay

    Gambling on locals

    Vietnam is taking a step towards lifting a ban on locals gambling, but the experiment is limited to two casinos, leading to question marks over whether it will be the game changer that many foreign investors had hoped. The narrow scope of the experiment and remote location of the proposed resorts may hamper the revenue potential.  

    Vietnam, Cambodia to lock horns over mass play

    In June, Vietnam took the long-awaited step and sent a draft decree that could pave the way for locals to gamble to the National Assembly. There’s been much speculation over the impact a change in the law will have for both Vietnam and neighboring Cambodia’s casino industries and whether Vietnam will finally be able claw back revenues lost over the border.

    No clarity in casino concession countdown

    The first of Macau’s six casino concessions expire in less than 18 months, though the operators who have invested billions in the territory still have no clarity as to how, or even if, those licenses to operate will be renewed.

    Philippines, Cambodia in likely firing line for China online crackdown

    There’s growing concern that China may launch a crackdown on the streaming of casino games into the country next year, potentially dealing a major blow to the booming industry in the Philippines and Cambodia.

    China influence to define outlook in SE Asia

    Regulatory risk, political uncertainty and exposure to a Chinese economic downturn will factor into the performance of casino sectors in Malaysia, Singapore and the Philippines – albeit to varying degrees. From a regulatory perspective, changes in Malaysia and Singapore are unlikely. Malaysia’s gaming sector endured something of an annus horribilis in 2018, headlined by a […]
    Sihanoukville generic

    How banned is Cambodia’s online industry?

    Mey Vann, director general at Cambodia’s Ministry of Finance, pulls no punches when it comes to the nation’s online gambling ban. “It’s gone and it’s not coming back,” he says
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