The Philippines has been one of the best-performing casino markets in 2016, with revenue from the properties in Entertainment City up 20 percent in 3Q, though operators from Vietnam and Cambodia are also posting strong results, highlighting the potential of these markets.
AGB will be hosting the inaugural ASEAN Gaming Summit in March 2017 to throw the spotlight on some of these emerging jurisdictions and the opportunities they present. The three-day event will bring together some of the leading voices from industry in both the land-based and online sphere. It will be held at Bloomberry Resorts’ Solaire Resort and Casino from March 21 to 23.
Entertainment City got its fourth and biggest integrated resort when Universal Entertainment debuted its Okada Manila in December last year. The opening panel and first morning will be dedicated to exploring the potential and the challenges of the Philippine market, both in the capital city and further afield.
Political uncertainty has increased since the election of hardline President Rodrigo Duterte in May, with the jury still out on the longer-term implications for the gaming industry.
Key speakers will address topics such as the role of Pagcor, efforts the country is making to improve its brand and tourism offering and how infrastructure is being improved to cater for increased visitation. The sessions will also address the developments outside of Manila and assess whether or not they pose competition for resorts in the capital, or will provide an added dimension to the market for visitors.
From the Philippines, the discussion will branch out to events in Vietnam and Cambodia.
A draft bill setting the framework for casinos in Vietnam is expected to be finally passed by early next year, taking the significant step forward to allowing locals to gamble in casinos for the first time. They will be restricted to two yet-to-be built resorts on a three-year trial basis.
Speakers will address some of the hot topics and assess whether the bill will attract much needed foreign investment.
Cambodia’s casino industry is also performing well, with the biggest operator there saying it may expand further as the tourism base increases. NagaWorld will consider a Naga 3 to introduce more non-gaming attractions as Asia’s IRs put greater focus on the mass market sector.
Other sessions will look at opportunities in Thailand, Myanmar and Laos, while another panel will study whether there are any real drivers for significant growth in the more mature markets of Singapore and Malaysia.
Asia’s online sphere has also seen its fair share of drama in 2016, from a huge surge in betting volume on the Euro 2016 Soccer Championships, where on a game-to-game basis the Asian market was up about 50 percent compared to 2012, through to the decision not to renew Philweb’s license, which threw the online market in the Philippines into turmoil.
In Singapore, the government finally eased restrictions to allow incumbent operators Singapore Pools and the Singapore Turf Club to begin offering online services, while the $4.4bn acquisition of Playtika by a Chinese consortium woke the world up to the potential value of social casino.
All of these topics will be given a thorough airing in days two and three of the conference, which will also examine the convergence in Asian between online and land-based gaming. One of the phenomena of the past 18 months has been the boom in live dealer and proxy betting. As China’s crackdown on corruption caused VIPs to flee from Macau, many are of the opinion that the missing millions are turning up via proxy in other jurisdictions. The panel will seek to provide answers on the size of the market and whether the trend will continue.
The final day will be dedicated to trends in mobile and online gaming, with panel sessions exploring topics from the growth in eSports in Asia through to the growing use of Bitcoin, which is quietly being adopted by regional operators.
The summit aims to identify key drivers for the gaming market in 2017 and beyond, as well as address potential handicaps and regulatory concerns with input from the region’s leading experts. Executives from companies such as Donaco International, NagaCorp, Mohegan Sun, AGTech, HaTien Vegas, Silver Heritage Group, Widus Hotel & Casino, Paddy Power Betfair, Playstudios, Alea, and Webe Gaming will share their vision for the region.