Your Daily Asia Gaming eBrief: MGM tips its hand

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Good morning, 

The revelation that MGM Resorts made a big play to buy UK-listed Entain is thought by some analysts to indicate that the firm may be looking more to the online sphere than to Asian land-based casinos as the ultimate guarantor of its future. We’ve got you covered there. Also in the breaking news column is the news that many South Korean casinos have extended their closures another two weeks as the nation struggles to bring the pandemic under control. This morning we also take a deeper dive into changes in Russian sports betting regulations. Finally, our first infographic of 2021 details the flight corridors in Asia that allow for international visitors in without the need for quarantine.

First, the news


What you need to know


MGM’s Entain bid chance to reshape group focus

MGM Resorts has thrown its cards into the online gaming ring, with an attempt to buy U.K.-listed Entertain for GBP8.1 billion ($11 billion), which may reshape the group and reduce its focus on Asia in the longer term. Entain, which is one of the world’s largest sports betting groups and owner of wagering giant Ladbrokes, is already a partner with MGM in the U.S. and has indicated the offer is too low. Still, analysts say it may be the beginning of a refocus in strategy for MGM.

ladbrokes

GKL extends casino closures to January 18

Grand Korea Leisure confirmed in a filing that it is extending the closures of all three of its casinos until the morning of January 18. This encompasses the Gangnam and Hilton casinos in Seoul as well as the Busan Lotte Hotel. In the latest wave of the pandemic, the two Seoul casinos have been closed since November 24 and the Busan casino followed from December 1. As a result of the extra two weeks of closure, GKL now estimates that the cost to the company in lost sales will reach to about KRW21.5 billion (about US$19.8 million), up from the previous estimate of KRW16 billion.

Insights


BY THE NUMB3RS

Where can we go? A travel corridor map

As we enter into the new year, our hopes are placed on vaccines to provide the global economy with some respite. The travel industry, in particular, has been devastated by the pandemic, with an estimated 200 million jobs lost due to the impact of the virus. Fortunately, in the second half of 2020, we began to see travel corridors open up within Asia, which allow for at least some movement of visitors. These corridors pictured refer to entry to a country without the need for quarantine. however, health screenings, negative covid tests are more often than not a requirement for entry into most jurisdictions.

Travel Bubble
DEEP DIVE

Russia’s sports betting overhaul pushes up costs for industry

Russia’s parliament has passed a new bill redistributing control over the online betting market, creating a unified gambling regulator to track bets and allocations to sporting leagues and significantly increasing costs to the industry.  The initiative to radically reform the betting market was first voiced by the head of the Russian Boxing Federation, Umar Kremlev, in summer. The new regulator is expected to track and channel targeted bookmaker allocations to sports federations and professional leagues. It will also monitor and record all bets that bookmakers accept using a special software package.

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