Asia's casinos hit jackpot
Region rakes in $63b; Macau is big winner
CASINOS around Asia raked in at least US$50 billion (S$63 billion) from gamblers last year, and odds are that they will continue their winning streak for years to come.
The big winner by far is Macau, which cemented its status as the world's gambling capital with a haul of US$38 billion, driven by both serious high-rollers and tourists looking for a casual flutter from China. This is up from just US$10 billion five years ago.
Trailing at a distant second in the region is Singapore, which generated US$6 billion of gaming revenues. Las Vegas in the United States brought in US$6.2 billion.
"Gaming in Asia has never been stronger, period," says analyst Grant Govertsen of Union Gaming Research Macau, which researches the gaming business.
Now: Revenue last year reached US$38 billion (S$48 billion) - six times that of Las Vegas. Six casino operators with 35 casinos.
Prospects: Excellent. Visitors from China growing 12 per cent a year and Chinese disposable income growth expected to continue. Six new casinos coming up by 2017.
Now: Market size of US$6 billion within first year of operation. Has two casinos. Prospects: Growth slowed recently. Concerns over regulations constraining local market growth.
- THE PHILIPPINES
Now: Revenues of US$1.7 billion last year from existing 20 casinos.
Prospects: Revenue could reach US$3.1 billion by 2014, with two more casinos opening this and next year. But reliant on China for success in the VIP market.
- SOUTH KOREA
Now: Has 17 casinos, but Koreans are allowed to enter just one. Revenue last year reached US$2.5 billion.
Prospects: Chinese travelling to South Korea grew 28 per cent last year, and likely to continue to grow in the short term. But long-term prospects are uncertain.
Now: A monopoly, the NagaCorp has a licence to operate casinos in Cambodia until 2065, with exclusive rights within a 200km radius of Phnom Penh until 2035.
Prospects: In a sweet spot given lack of competition.
Reports say Japan is expected to introduce legislation for legalising casinos in September.
Asian Coast Development is scheduled to complete the Ho Tram project this year. Some 130km from Ho Chi Minh City, it will initially include 540 hotel rooms, 90 tables and 1,000 slots.
Goa, Daman and Sikkim are the only states issuing live gaming casino licences.
- SRI LANKA
Slated to issue three licences.
On May 2, the Cabinet approved a draft version of the casino gaming Bill. Transport Minister Yeh Kuan-shih said Taiwan's first licensed casino could open by 2019.
Pundits say there is a chance the Chinese government will allow casinos here eventually.
Sources: Morgan Stanley; Union Gaming Research