East Beats West in Global Casino Showdown
The casinos of Asia comprehensively outperformed their rival casinos in Western markets during the global recession of the last few years.
In research for the 5th edition of its Global Gambling Report, Global Betting and Gaming Consultants (GBGC) has calculated that Gross Gaming Yield (GGY) for Asia’ casinos rose by 4.9% in 2009 to almost US$18.9bn. Macau’ revenues grew by almost 10% in 2009.
The casino markets of Europe and North America (including Indian gaming) fell by 12% and 7% respectively in 2009. Nevada’ casinos (including Las Vegas) saw revenues fall by 13.7% in 2009.
Both Las Vegas Sands (LVS) and Genting are beginning phased openings of their respective Marina Bay and Sentosa resorts in 2010. Genting’ Sentosa opened its casino on 14 February 2010 – the first day of the Year of the Tiger in the Chinese calendar.
Singapore hopes to use the resorts to boost its tourist numbers. In 2009 there were 9.7 million tourism-related arrivals to Singapore (2008: 10.1 million) and it is hoped that the new resorts will increase this figure to 17 million. The resorts could help contribute an additional 1.5% to Singapore’ GDP in the first full year of operation.
Macau, too, is entering the next phase of its casino development under new Chief Executive Fernando Chui Sai. Macau continued to record growth in gaming revenues throughout 2008 and 2009, although at one stage 2009 looked set for a year-on-year loss.
In the Philippines, under a new charter of 2007, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) can now issue sub-franchises for casinos, in partnership with private companies. It wants to increase its share of the region’ casino revenues.
PAGCOR’ key development under the new partnership arrangement is the Manila Bay Entertainment City. It is being built on 100 hectares of reclaimed land in Manila Bay and is designed to rival the resorts in Macau and Singapore.
“The number of new developments obviously gives gamblers in the region unprecedented choice as to where they choose to spend their gambling funds.”
“One market that will have to play close attention to the growth of new markets in Asia is Australia, which currently sees a large number of tourists from the likes of Taiwan, Korea, China, and India visit its casinos.”
“The real test is whether these new properties will satisfy demand that is currently not being met, or if they are simply shifting the same gamblers and their money around the different venues.”