Monday, January 18, 2021

Economic/social shifts that may affect Asia’s IRs

While the gaming industry is focused on tourism numbers and movement restrictions, there are a number of shifting economic and social patterns emerging that could have longer-term implications for Asia’s integrated resort industry.

Hokkaido governor again turns down Tomakomai IR initiative

Tomakomai city’s hopes of reentering the Japan IR race have been dashed again as Governor Naomichi Suzuki made clear at a press conference that his earlier rejection of participating in the first round of licensing still stands.

Cruise stock rally pauses as sailings delayed

Major cruise lines have been pushing back their planned dates to resume sailing as the Covid-19 pandemic drags, helping to dampen a fourth-quarter rally in stocks.

Interview with Ankush Gera: Skills for operating in India [video]

Ankush Gera, founder and CEO of Junglee Games, talks with Asia Gaming Brief Managing Editor Sharon Singleton about the growth of the skill-based gaming market in industry in India, some of the regulatory and operating challenges and what’s driving growth. 

Japan closes borders to foreign travelers

After reaching record numbers of new Covid-19 cases and fatalities for almost two months, the Japan government has finally decided to take serious measures to partially lock down the nation.

Moody’s sees slow 2021 start for Melco, rising debt

The New Year has brought little reprieve to Macau’s gaming operators, with analysts scaling back their expectations for the first half of 2021 amidst new outbreaks of Covid-19 across the region.
Oshidori International Development has announced the appointment of Hakuhodo’s Keigo Nakatani as Chief Operating Officer, leading the firm’s effort to be selected as the operator partner for the prospective Huis Ten Bosch IR in Sasebo, Nagasaki.
As expected, both the Suncity Group and the Clairvest Group have filed their proposals to be selected as the IR operator partner of the Wakayama Prefectural Government.
The first person to declare their candidacy for the post of Yokohama mayor is the opposition city councilman Masataka Ota. As he declared his candidacy, he announced that ending the city’s IR bid would be his top priority that he would carry out on Day 1 of his tenure.
Bloomberry Resorts chief Enrique Razon is spearheading efforts to bring Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine to the Philippines, consolidating orders from the wealthy class, business organizations, and other interested parties.
The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) has turned over PHP6.1 million (US$128,000) to the Philippine Fiber Industry Development Authority (PhilFIDA), the government agency in-charge of developing and sustaining the fiber industry.
Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment has announced that it has priced its previously announced private offering of US$1.175 billion in aggregate principal amount of 8 percent, second priority senior secured notes due 2026, at an offering price of 100 percent of the principal amount. The offering is expected to occur on or about January 26.
Sega Sammy Holdings has reported that hundreds of its employees have applied for the firm’s voluntary retirement program and they will be leaving the company at the end of February.
The leadership of the Myanmar military-backed Karen State Border Guard Force has resigned en masse to protest the resignation of their leader Colonel Saw Chit Thu, who had been under pressure over the China-backed Shwe Kokko new city project, including casinos.
Hard Rock International said it has acquired the casino premise license from The Ritz Club in London, UK. This transaction will allow Hard Rock to seek out and establish a new casino premise in London, continuing Hard Rock’s expansion into major gateway cities around the world.
Genting Malaysia's U.K. unit has permanently closed its casino in Southport in Northwest England, with 38 staff facing redundancy. The group has already closed casinos in Margate, Torquay and Bristol and has reduced its workforce in London, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Blackpool and Birmingham.
Macau's gross gambling revenue in the fourth quarter of 2020 was MOP22 billion ($2.75 billion), with mass market baccarat and slots making up about 65 percent of the total, according to quarterly figures released by the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau.
South Korean police say they believe they have located the bulk of the KRW14.56 billion ($13.3 million) missing from the Jeju Shinhwa World casino are are seeking three suspects. 
Everi Holdings has announced that David Lucchese, its executive vice-president of sales, marketing, and digital, has been appointed President of AGEM (Association of Gaming Equipment Manufacturers).
Caesars Korea, a major IR development project in Incheon, may have its license canceled in March due to the long suspension of construction activities and the failure to meet various benchmarks and commitments.
For the first time in decades, the Democratic Party has gained control of the CNMI House of Representatives. Appointed to head the House Committee on Gaming is Representative Edwin Propst, a known critic of Imperial Pacific International.
G2E Asia said it is postponing its show in Macau until August 17-19 from its regular May slot due to Covid-19. The exhibition will take place in the Venetian.
Sportradar said it has entered a partnership with the Asian Football Confederation to become the official video and data distribution partner for national team and club competitions.
Melco Resorts & Entertainment's earnings outlook for 2021 remains sluggish due to the ongoing pandemic and movement restrictions, while its corporate debt is rising due to expansion plans, Moody's Investor Services says. 
Macau's Gaming Service Index improved by 17 points to 130 in the fourth quarter of 2020, with the survey finding staff were smiling more, up 41 points. The survey is compiled by the Macau Gaming Research Association.
Macau's Judiciary Police has announced that it has indicted four local residents for fraud over the sale of HK$1.47 million (US$189,790) in fake VIP gaming chips to two businessmen, while a fifth suspect remains at large.

Regions seen as outperformers

Regional casinos in the Philippines are likely to resume their outperformance once the global pandemic eases as infrastructure improves and major projects come online.

Kazakhstan scores own goal with sports betting changes

Recent changes to Kazakhstan’s sports betting law are likely to fuel black market gambling and slash tax revenue for the government, experts say.

Will Beijing’s sabre-rattling affect Chinese travel decisions?

China’s threat to draw up a blacklist of countries targeting gambling is most likely directed at the online industry, though may be enough to deter some travellers even if the government doesn’t follow through with its action.

Rightsizing Cambodia’s casino industry post-Covid 19

Through government action and a cultural norm of wearing face masks when ill, Cambodia has seen few get sick during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the World Health Organization, Cambodia has 275 COVID cases and zero COVID-related deaths as of the last week of September. 
Life After Pogos

Life After POGOs – AGB Dossier

This Dossier results from the “Life After POGOs” editorial project by Asia Gaming Brief which culminated with a pop-up digital forum on 9th December to discuss potentials ramifications in the industry.

Australian market report: How to adapt to the new normal

Covid-19 forced the rapid and unexpected closure of venues across Australia, changing the operating environment with unprecedented speed and leaving managers scrambling to adapt...
life after pogos

Life After POGOs – AGB Pop-Up Forum

The Philippines and Asia’s online gaming industry is going through uncertain times, with the gaming regulator seeing more and more operators leaving the country for greener pastures.
AGB Webinar - Acquiring and Retaining iGaming Customers

Acquiring & Retaining iGaming Customers

In this AGB Webinar Series, we covered the newest strategies for iGaming player acquisition and retention.
AGB Webinar Attracting Players, Not Fraudsters

Attracting players, not fraudsters

With sports betting restarting we are now seeing traffic levels return to pre-COVID levels. The same is unfortunately true for fraudulent activities as operators tempt players, both new and existing, with lucrative bonuses and attractive game offerings.
asia gaming briefings Dec 20

Asia Gaming Briefings – Dec 2020 Edition

Over the years, many of the answers have been remarkably prescient in their forecasts for the near-term direction of Asia’s gaming industry. However, we can safely say that no one came anywhere close to guessing what 2020 may have had in store.
news, macau, gambling

Asia Gaming Briefings – Nov 2020 Edition

While nowhere in the world has escaped the economic fallout from the Covid-19 crisis, Macau has been hit harder than most, with forecasts for gross domestic product to shrink more than 50 percent this year.
asia gaming briefings OCT 20

Asia Gaming Briefings – Oct 2020 Edition

Before the Covid-19 crisis, tourism in the Greater Mekong Sub-Region was at a record high, on track to welcome 80 million visitors in 2019, generating some $90 billion in revenue.