In March this year, gambing revenue in Macau has recorded the tenth consecutive month of decline, with March 2015 seeing a 39.4% decline compared to March 2014, which is a worrying trend for those invested in the area. The reasons for player migration away from Macau have been well documented, with Beijing tightening control over the movement of money and general jinket operations in Macau during recent times. In China, the anti corruption initiative which is targeting “corrupt” officials has also changed the gambling environment in Macau: Chinese VIP customers no longer feel safe gambling with what might be considered “dirty” money while in this location. Macau is too close for them to the watching eyes of China.
In this context, it's not a surprise to see exciting new gambling locations springing up across Asia and gaining increased popularity. While it is important to note that gaming turnover in Macau is still very high compared other places in Asia, it does seem that some of the big money Chinese players have been happier in new locations.
Philippines on the rise
The Philippines has begun to attract high rollers, and with casino revenue rising by a healthy 16% ($2.5 billion) in 2014. VIP revenue in particular has increased, by 50%, and local autorities plan to push revenue figures past $7 billion by 2020. The SunCity Group who are a junket operation who formerly operated mostly out of Macau, will open 4 VIP rooms in Manila this year.
NagaWorld in Cambodia sees boost in VIP Revenues
Prospects in Cambodia have also been improving lately. According to NagaCorp, owners of NagaWorld in Phnom Penh, gaming revenue rose by 47% when comparing the first quarter of 2015 with the same period in 2014, to a figure of $113.5 million. When looking at the VIP sector of revenue, a 79% increase was recorded, amounting to $1.7 billion.
Singapore struggling to attract VIP Customers
Singapore tried to benefit from the current problem in Macau, but met only a relative success with VIP Cutomers. According to experts, junket operations are currently too strictly regulated in Singapore. Only 4 operators got licensed and without the support of junkets, attracting VIP customers, extending credit to them, then recouping those debts, becomes problematic. One illustration: the number of lawsuits against Singapore gamblers who didn't pay their debts grew to 49 in 2014, from 2 in 2013.
The Southeast Asian Gaming Market (Source www.newzoo.com)
New casinos in Russia
New casino developments are not only confined to Southeast Asia of course, as there have been a lot of plans and negotiations going on in Russia lately, with a view to opening a casino in the Primorye region in eastern Russia. After several delays, John Wang, CEO of First Gambling Company of the East, a consortium involving Ho’s Melco International Development, Taiwan-based gaming device maker Firich Enterprises, Hong Kong’s Perfect Giant Investments and local partner Elegant City Group seems to have got the project moving forward, with doors due to open this summer.