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JURISDICTION UPDATES February 2017 Edition

A year in Asian gaming After monkey mayhem, what does the rooster herald? pg.30


Beijing controls brakes as growth resumes pg.06


Warming China ties heat market pg.13


Race for the global gaming prize pg.22


Decree unlocks door for locals pg.26



Trading mayhem for growth


he new year generally started on a high note for most Asian Jurisdictions: Macau signals indicating a road to recovery; the Philippine market growing in double digits; and the prospect of casinos in Japan, have made the start of 2017 a promising note for Asia’s casino industry. What the Rooster might herald for the rest of the year is the theme of the Focus of this edition of Asia Gaming Briefings. We asked the Asia Gaming Brief advisors to comment on the trends they expect to see in 2017. Delving deeper, the Jurisdiction Updates look at the most relevant developments throughout the region. Macau got off to a strong start in January, with GGR in the initial weeks higher than expected, and analysts have high hopes for Chinese New Year visitation and expenditure. In The Philippines, Universal Entertainment Chairman Kazuo Okada, whose company held the soft opening for its Okada Manila resort in December, predicts the Philippine gaming market will soon overtake Singapore, making it the second-biggest casino market in Asia. GGR was up, and so were the PAGCOR contributions. The year-end ‘surprise’ push by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s administration to enact legislation allowing casinos has set the scene for an exciting 2017, with many global operators jockeying for a license in what is expected to become Asia’s second-largest casino market. Cambodia’s main casino resorts are planning new marketing initiatives and attractions to appeal to the expanding mass market while Vietnam has confirmed that designated integrated resorts will allow locals to gamble for a three-year trial basis as part of the government’s new regulations for the industry.


Further North, foreign investors are souring on locals-only gaming: even if results for South Korea’s gaming operators have improved in 2016, operators appear to be losing patience, with major projects either stalled or abandoned. In CNMI, Imperial Pacific Holdings says its resort on the Pacific Island of Saipan will open in the first quarter of this year, despite reports of funding difficulties. Down under, Punters fight “un-Australian” betting practices: the country’s betting culture, which changed with the entry of foreign bookmakers, is gradually returning as punters start to fight back against practices such as cutting big bets and closing winning accounts. Meanwhile, AGB is trading sunny winter days in Macau for freezing London ahead of ICE, arguably the largest international industry gathering of the year. The trade-off will mean great content from the conferences, the unveiling of new product at the exhibition floor, and a serious dose of networking! AGB will be presenting the Asia Round Table at the World Regulatory Briefing on the first day of the conference, Tuesday 7 January. If you’d like to book a meeting with AGB write to us ICE@agbrief. com or reach out via social media. The year of the Rooster is upon us and, after the Monkey’s mayhem, the industry is cautiously looking to the Rooster for growth and stability.Here’s to a healthy and prosperous Chinese New Year!


Rosalind Wade

Luis Pereira

Asia Gaming Brief

Asia Gaming Brief On behalf of Asia Gaming Brief Rosalind Wade & Luis Pereira PUBLISHERS FEBRUARY 2017 EDITION SERIES II • ISSUE XVII

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ExCeL, London 7-9 February 2017

the world theatre of gaming

Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2017






China remains in driver’s seat Macau got off to a good start in January, with GGR in the initial weeks higher than expected, though few expect any return to the stellar growth rates of the past, with China still likely to be the driving factor for casino operators.


eijing’s crackdown on corruption triggered a two-year slump in gaming revenue and going forward the performance of its economy, efforts to control capital outflows and its ongoing fight against graft will all play a role in determining the strength of the local gaming market. “The Macau gaming industry insofar as we are concerned is a political market rather than a free demand vs supply equation, and what we will get here is what China deigns to let us have,” said Ben Lee, managing partner IGamiX Management & Consulting. “A single digit growth in line with China’s own economic growth will probably be our guide.” GGR fell 3.3 percent in 2016 to MOP 223 billion, a much improved performance from the 34.3 percent decline the prior year. Revenue gained 8 percent in December and was tracking for a gain of 10 percent to 12 percent in January. Most analysts now agree that a key focus for China this year will be stemming capital outflow, which, while not directly targeted at Macau, will have a knock on effect. Ratings agency, Standard & Poor’s said it expects the Chinese economy to grow about 6.5 percent this year, with no big policy changes expected. However, authorities will have to respond to pressure on capital outflows, which have been accelerating in the past few weeks and may continue to do so. “Chinese policymakers have three unpleasant policy options to counter the outflow pressure, each of which comes at a cost: further depreciation, running down foreign-exchange reserves, or intensifying capital controls,” said S&P Global Ratings economist Vincent Conti. “Faced with imperfect policy choices, authorities appear to be doing a little bit of everything at the moment. As capital outflow pressures are likely to intensify in early 2017, the markets will be closely watching Chinese authorities’ response.” Wells Fargo also expects China’s economic outlook to play a key role and sees the economy becoming more volatile. It cites in particular, sustained depreciation in China’s currency; potentially tighter credit conditions as liquidity decreases, working against the Q1 stimulus; tighter currency controls, and a cooling real estate market. The most recent curb came on December 31, and will require a fuller disclosure of foreign currency transactions. Macau’s Legislative Assembly passed a bill that would require visitors to disclose



Chinese policymakers have three unpleasant policy options to counter the outflow pressure, each of which comes at a cost: further depreciation, running down foreign-exchange reserves, or intensifying capital controls

Y15 MOP 230.84b


Y16 October MOP18,8b


cash holdings of more than MOP 120,000 (US$15,000) at entry. Entrants with more than MOP 120,000 will need to declare and disclose the amount brought into the MSAR via a red declaration channel. The system is aimed to combat money-laundering activities. New transaction limits were also set for the use of UnionPay cards, which hit gaming stocks, even though most analysts see little impact on GGR from the measure. Withdrawals were limited to HK$5,000 (US$645) per transaction but the daily withdrawal limit remained unchanged at RMB10,000. Morgan Stanley said in a note that the most likely effect is to be to push the market further towards the mass grind sector. Meanwhile, government efforts to force Macau to diversify its economy to a more broad-based non-gaming model, driven by the mass market appear to be making progress, helped by the opening of new resorts with more amenities and slowly improving infrastructure. “There are definitely more reasons to come to Macau now versus two years ago, and that is the key reason why overnight visitation is growing faster than total visitation,” Nomura Holdings Inc. analyst Richard Huang told Bloomberg. As more casinos open in Macau in the coming years, “we expect that to continue to drive growth in the mass gaming segment,” he said. Wynn Resorts opened its up-market Wynn Palace in August, while Las Vegas Sands’ French-themed Parisian opened its doors in September. Both were seen as having a positive impact on visitation. In 2017, MGM Resorts is scheduled to open its HK$24 billion Cotai project in the second half, adding a further 1,500 hotel rooms, as well as shopping and leisure facilities, while the ultra high-end The 13 is also scheduled to open in Q1.

Y17E (Bloomberg)


(Morgan Stanley)






Y16 December MOP19.8b



(Source: DICJ)

Non-gaming target hit Macau’s six major gaming operators saw non-gaming revenue account for 9.4 percent of total revenue in 2015, achieving the 9 percent non-gaming goal set for 2020 early. According to data from the Statistics and Census Bureau (DSEC), the gaming concessionaires brought in a total of MOP 23.9 billion (US$3 billion) in nongaming revenue in 2015.

The 13 set for Q1 debut The 13 is nearing completion and on track to open in the first quarter of 2017. The 13 is an exclusive luxury hotel and entertainment complex, expected to attract ultra-high net worth visitors. “Despite the anticipated volatile market conditions, the group feels that its niche strategy of targeting a global clientele of high net worth aspirational spenders with a uniquely rare and remarkable product, is well positioned to compete in a slow market and is a business model that will prove to be highly resilient even in a market downturn.”

Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2017


Spectrum Gaming Group forecasts that VIP play in Macau will decline to less than 50 percent of GGR in 2017, the first time since Macau reverted back to China, with the mass market dominating.

SJM HOLDINGS (880:HK) SJM Holdings (880:HK) has 20 casinos on the Macau Peninsula. The reopening of the revamped Jal Alai property has been pushed back and is now expected prior to Chinese New Year. It will have 130 rooms and 45 gaming tables. The company is currently building The Grand Lisboa Palace on Cotai, which is scheduled for opening in 2018. The casino’s original plans were for 700 gaming tables and over 1,200 slot machines across a gaming floor area of approximately 27,000 square metres. Analysts at Bernstein say the company is facing near-term headwinds as it is coming late to Cotai and has significant exposure to low quality peninsula-based satellite properties. “We see little to excite us about the stock in the near term,” they said in a note. For Q3, the company reported an 11.1 percent drop in gaming revenue to HK$9.99 billion and EBITDA of $810 million, 8.4 percent lower than the prior year.



MGM China (2282:HK) is operating a single casino on the peninsula. The opening for its new $2.9 billion development, the MGM Cotai, has been pushed back from late 2016 to the second half of 2017. The resort will not feature any VIP rooms at the opening and will focus on mass gaming, while its original property will continue to offer VIP services. MGM Cotai will have approximately 1,500 hotel rooms and suites, meeting spaces, high end spa, retail offerings and food and beverage outlets. The HK$24 billion ($3.1 billion) project has a jewellry-box design and 85 percent of its gross floor area will be dedicated to non-gaming facilities. Sterne Agee analysts note that MGM’s Cotai opening will boost cash flow and equity multiples. “We note MGM’s existing Macau property EBITDA has outperformed relative to its room and table base on the side of the Peninsula. Further, we believe MGM is taking share from Wynn Resort’s neighboring Peninsula property – recall Wynn shifted a portion its table base to its new Cotai property.

Sands China (1928:HK) has five properties in Macau. The new $3 billion The Parisian opened in September and received a highly positive reaction from analysts. It features a scale replica of the Eiffel Tower, nearly 13,000 hotel rooms, two million square feet of retail-mall offerings and two million square feet of MICE capacity. The company recently announced its retail line up for another 170 shops. Sands was still only awarded 100 tables at the open, like the VIP-focused Wynn Palace. Total net revenues for Sands China increased 3.6 percent to $1.72 bil lion in Q3, compared to $1.66 billion in the third quarter of 2015. Net income for SCL decreased 5.5 percent to $324.3 million. The Parisian contributed more than 19 million in adjusted property EBITDA in its first 18 days of operations. “We believe 4Q16 will demonstrate Macau mass market share gains. We see upside to Four Seasons Macau property consensus estimates post its earnings call due to recent bridge connectivity from the Parisian – helping to

Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2017

prove out its strategy of connecting its Cotai Strip properties which represent ~45 percent of the room base in Cotai,” Sterne Agee, which rates the company a buy, said in a recent note.

GALAXY ENTERTAINMENT GROUP (27:HK) Galaxy Entertainment Group (27:HK) has three main properties and runs three City Club casinos inside hotels. The company’s Galaxy Macau Phase 2 and Broadway at Galaxy Macau opened on May 27, 2015, almost doubling the capacity of the resort. The operator said it continues to move forward with Cotai Phase 3, “with the potential to commence site preparation works in late 2016 and Phase 4 in 2017.” In Q3, the group reported an 8 percent year-on-year rise in net profit, above analyst expectations and said it was “encouraged by the continuing signs of market stabilization.” Galaxy mass revenue grew 17 percent year-on-year, better than market growth of


+6 percent year-on-year. Morgan Stanley, which rates the operator at overweight says: “We think Galaxy’s mass market share will be maintained or drop less than others compared to existing properties in 2017, driven by its differentiated products that are favored by both VIP and mass customers. We see synergy between Phase 1 and 2 – they integrated well and increased overall foot traffic and productivity.”

WYNN MACAU (1128:HK) Wynn Macau (1128:HK) opened its $4 billion Wynn Palace in Cotai on August 22 after facing construction delays. The company’s original property is on the Macau Peninsula. The Wynn Palace has 1,700 hotel rooms and 90 percent of the resort will be non-gaming. The ramp up of the resort has been slower than expected, but analysts say the pace is likely to pick up as connectivity improves. There is now a free shuttle bus every 20 minutes that connects Wynn Palace to Sands

Cotai Central, Venetian and Parisian, Studio City, and Galaxy Macau. “We have seen more aggressive marketing at Wynn Palace, which has increased foot traffic and should help with gaming revenue,” noted Chelsea Tam, equity analyst at Morningstar. The company has also reportedly reconfigured its gaming floor following feedback from visitors to create more energy. In Q3, Wynn reported net revenue from its Macau operations fell 11.5 percent to $518.1 million. Adjusted property EBITDA from Wynn Macau was $151 million for the quarter, down 7.3 percent from $162.8 million for the same period of 2015. Wynn Palace reported net revenues and adjusted property EBITDA at $164.6 million and $25.5 million.

MELCO CROWN ENTERTAINMENT (6883:HK) Melco Crown Entertainment (6883:HK) has three casinos. The company recently shook

up its leadership team after the news that joint venture partner Crown Resorts was selling down its stake. The appointments included Frederic Winckler to the newly created post of chief marketing and brand officer. He was most recently at luxury goods company Louis Vuitton. Bernstein notes the changes in the management structure a “significant change,” shifting from a vertical to a horizontal structure with property presidents taking on greater responsibility and having more control over their individual property operations. Melco also recently unveiled the new hotel brand created for the new fifth hotel tower at City of Dreams – Morpheus, named after the God of Dreams. The new luxury hotel is expected to commence operation in 2018. Melco Crown Q3 results beat expectations helped by the $3.2 million Hollywood-themed Studio City. Adjusted EPS was $0.13 per ADS, up from $0.11 per ADS a year earlier and above the $0.07 per ADS consensus. Revenue for Q3 rose 22 percent to $1.15 billion and beat estimates for $1.1 billion. Studio City opened on October 27, 2015, with an allocation of 250 tables, short of the 400 requested.

Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2017





Making good on match fixing Assertions that Malaysia is now Southeast Asia’s epicenter for match fixing didn’t go down well with the country’s authorities. But just how accurate are these claims and why do so many fixes emanate from this part of the continent?


t was during a forum on match fixing in Singapore that sports integrity consultant Chris Eaton ruffled a few feathers by suggesting Malaysia had supplanted Singapore as the fixing hub in Southeast Asia following a crackdown in the city-state. “Malaysia is the epicenter of trade for Southeast Asia,” the former FIFA security chief remarked, as well as saying that he would be very surprised if match fixers have not moved from Singapore to Malaysia and other neighboring countries. The comments sparked regional and global media coverage and forced the Malaysian football authorities to hit back with calls for him to back up his claims with hard evidence. Despite a vexed riposte from the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM), there is no escaping the fact Malaysia has been plagued by a catalog of match-fixing scandals down the years. Incidents of match manipulation have persisted while fixers based in the region, including the notorious Dan Tan Seet Eng (imprisoned in Singapore), who operated extensively in Malaysia, and Wilson Raj Perumal expanded their criminal activities across the globe.

Network of corruption “The fixers operating out of Singapore and Malaysia have spread a net of corruption around the world,” says Declan Hill, investigative journalist, academic and author of The Fix: Soccer and Organized Crime. “They have been at every level of major international football for at least 25 years and have targeted numerous leagues in numerous countries.” In a bid to deter betting syndicates from corrupting players and officials involved in the top flight of domestic football in Malaysia – the Malaysia Super League (MSL) – FIFA’s Early Warning System (EWS) was engaged in August. The EWS, which is to be expanded to internationals played in the country, monitors betting trends and flags up suspicious odds movements. But it isn’t a silver bullet. Indeed, some question the effort being taken to eradicate match fixing and corruption in Malaysian football in order to restore confidence in ‘the beautiful game’ there. “Having taken only low-level police and prosecution action, Malaysia remains extremely vulnerable itself to fixing and to betting fraud,” states Fred Lord, director of anti-corruption operations at the International Centre for Sport Security (ICSS) based in Doha, Qatar. “Singapore has driven many fixers out of their country;


Malaysia needs to do something very similar on match-fixing and illegal sports betting.” Lord also says that because of no extraterritoriality in Singapore, fixers based themselves there to rig overseas matches and used the city-state as a safe haven, avoiding international prosecution. “Malaysia became their closest and frequently used training ground,” he remarks. Gambling industry consultant Patrick Jay, who was director of trading for the Hong Kong Jockey Club between 2010 and 2015, says the scourge of match fixing certainly hasn’t diminished in this corner of Asia.

Perfect climate “The problem is very big,” he suggests. “The Southeast Asia region is a perfect climate for placing large wagers due to the combined forces of economic development, technology advancement and the love of live televised sports all driving a huge marketplace with colossal liquidity. With this liquidity, corrupted bets are easier to hide than they would be in the thinner European markets.” Indeed, attempts to place big bets via major European operators with their relatively low limits, not to mention know-your-customer (KYC) and anti-money laundering (AML) checks, would set alarm bells ringing. It’s why the syndicates behind fixes tend to place their football wagers with Asia’s loosely regulated online sportsbooks with their colossal liquidity, tight margins and sky-high bet limits. Or they bet via the shadowy world of illegal, underground bookmakers, which leaves virtually no paper trail.

Insatiable appetite The global legal and illegal betting industry is estimated by some experts to be worth as much as $2 trillion a year and Asia accounts for the lion’s share of this market. The appetite for football – and betting on matches both pre-game and in play – in the Far East is as insatiable as it has ever been. “Southeast Asia is one of the biggest sports betting markets,” says Lord, “generating incredible liquidity with volumes of trading and a liquidity many times bigger than those generated by professional sports, including football. The money used to corrupt players, referees, agents and football officials comes from sports betting fraud. In fact, we believe that what we seen is only the tip of the iceberg.”

Q3 Profit RM Genting Q3 profit RM 577.21 million (US$129.9 million) Revenue RM 4.7b



TOURISM TARGET Y16 30.5m arrivals RM103b receipts TARGET Y20 36m arrivals RM168b receipts

Berjaya may renew push for casino license Berjaya Corp founder Tan Sri Vincent Tan may submit a fresh application for a license to operate a casino in Malaysia, breaking the monopoly of Genting Malaysia. “There has been a monopoly in the casino market for too long. We hope the government will consider a second casino licence,” Tan said.

Genting expands in Florida casino management Genting Group has taken over management of the casino portion of Gulfstream Park, a horse racing track, shopping and dining complex in South Florida. Executives from the Malaysian group are overseeing all casino operations, slot promotions and player hosting. “By taking over management of the existing casino, Genting will modernize the current gaming offerings to a similar best-in-class level as the race facility,” Michael Levoff, senior vice president of public affairs was cited by media as saying.

Meanwhile, Jay calls for greater co-operation and sharing of intelligence. “I would like to see more bookmakers participating with a central agency to assist with their risk management, sharing information on market moves, players, referees, officials and so on.”

Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2017



Okada tips Philippines to overtake Singapore Universal Entertainment Chairman Kazuo Okada predicts the Philippine gaming market will soon overtake Singapore, making it the second-biggest casino market in Asia.


arming ties with China and an expanding product offering are boosting the Philippines’ popularity as a gaming destination, with further growth expected. A lot of Chinese are coming into the Philippines, and that will improve more as improving bilateral relations between China

Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2017

and the Philippines increase tourism here,� said Okada in an interview, quoted by local media. The company held the soft opening for its Okada Manila resort in December, with the grand opening scheduled for the first quarter this year. Anyone visiting Manila in the last few months of last year may have noticed a distinct

plum-colored tone to the local billboards and ads. The campaign was part of an initiative to raise awareness for the $2.4 billion resort. The project is the fourth addition to the Entertainment City complex and, covering an expanse of 44 hectares, will be the biggest integrated resort in the Philippines to date. The complex is being built by Universal’s local


Any dilution in the local market will be offset by the increase in tourism the property will bring. Now with three properties as well as the opening of the skyway from the airport, Entertainment City is starting to take shape. With the continued improvements in Infrastructure we will see growth in the area

unit Tiger Resort Leisure and Entertainment. “Tiger is very well known, we just have to convert this to Okada,” Andy Chang, chief marketing officer for gaming told AGB in a recent interview. The effort to paint Manila purple on billboards, highways ads and in all major locations that began in October was to reflect Okada’s corporate colors. “It’s all a kind of brand building,” he said. The resort will feature two Y-shaped hotel towers with a total of 993 rooms, a 37,464 square-meter dancing fountain, a casino floor with about 500 table games and 3,000 electronic gaming machines, a 90,000 squarefeet nightclub and beach club entertainment complex. It will also have an 8,409 square-meter retail promenade, a world-class spa and 21

self-operated restaurants for casual, buffet, and international dining. Although concerns have been raised about Entertainment City’s capacity to support so many large resorts, the latest figures from market regulator, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp., have been positive. Overall gross gambling revenue in the Philippines was up 11.2 percent in 3Q, with figures from the three casinos in the capital showing a surge of about 20 percent. However, the political outlook in the country has become murkier since the election of hardline President Rodrigo Duterte in May, who has already launched and then partially revoked a crackdown on online gaming. Chang, who was formerly executive vice-president at Singapore’s Resorts World Sentosa, and involved in the pre-openings of the Wynn Las Vegas and Wynn Macau, said what will differentiate Okada Manila will be standards of service. He dismissed concerns that the resort, unlike its rivals City of Dreams Manila and Resorts World Manila, doesn’t have an existing client database to build on. “I am going to focus on service. I built the whole Wynn experience in Macau. I have to duplicate that and make it better,” he said. “We will open our door and everyone will give us a shot. They will come and they will see the difference. I will not buy the market. I do not believe in buying the market. I never offer more than the competition, actually I offer a little less.” Although the resort will cater for all sectors, Chang said the local mass market will be particularly important, making up

Duterte renews pledge to curb online gambling President Rodrigo Duterte has vowed to close all online gambling operations in the Philippines, saying they have no positive effects on the economy. However, the online gambling ban will not have any effect on PAGCOR’s POGO licensed operators. The closure of existing firms will be based on the results of a probe carried out by the Justice Department, local media reports.

Lam legal woes mount with anti-dummy complaint Casino mogul Jack Lam, who faces arrest if he returns to the Philippines, is now the subject of a complaint alleging he violated the country’s anti-dummy laws. An anti-crime group alleges he used a complicated layered system of corporate ownership in his Fort Ilocandia Resort Hotel in Laoag, Ilocos Norte, to circumvent laws on local ownership. President Duterte ordered Lam’s arrest and the seizure of his assets in December amidst allegations of bribery.

about 75 percent to 80 percent of the total. It does plan however to work with a few select junket operators. Although a smaller percentage of the market, revenue from junket play was up 20.5 percent in Entertainment City, compared with a 12.4 percent gain in mass play in 3Q. Part of the reason analysts have been positive about the Philippine market has been the lack of restrictions on locals gambling, providing a cushion against the more volatile revenue stream from high rollers, in particular those from China. The country has a population of more than 98 million, with gross domestic product growth in 3Q of 7.1 percent, making it the fastest expanding economy in Asia. The Asian Development Bank predicts GDP growth of 6 percent in 2016 and 6.1 percent in 2017 driven by domestic consumption and infrastructure spending. Commenting on the new resort, Joe Pisano,

Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2017




PAGCOR – Casino Filipino



City of Dreams Manila



Resorts World Manila



Solaire Resort and Casino



ThunderBird Binangonan



ThunderBird – Poro Point



Casablanca Casino



Fontana Casino



Royce Casino



Widus Hotel and Casino



Midori Casino



Y15 GGR P130b ($2.75b)


Y16E P135b Y20E December P270b

(Source: Pagcor)



Q3 GGR P39.74b


(Source: Pagcor)

CEO of Jade Entertainment and Gaming Technologies, said the property is likely to draw tourists to the capital. “Any dilution in the local market will be offset by the increase in tourism the property will bring. Now with 3 properties as well as the opening of the skyway from the airport, Entertainment City is starting to take shape. With the continued improvements in infrastructure we will see growth in the area.”

The company recently reported it’s benefiting from the Philippines’ improved ties with Beijing, saying Chinese arrivals rose nearly 140 percent in November and 80 percent in October compared with the same months last year. Bloomberry has been trying to divest a casino project in South Korea, which has proved a drain on resources, but a deal to sell the property to Iao Kun Holdings has fallen through.

Animation, a live performance stage, two international nightclubs and a multi-level car park. It includes an approximately 260 room Crown Towers hotel, Hyatt City of Dreams Manila, a 365 room hotel managed by Hyatt International Corporation and Asia’s first Nobu Hotel with 321 rooms.



Bloomberry Resorts posted record results in the nine months through to end Sept., with gross gaming revenues at its Solaire Resort & Casino up 14 percent to a record P28 billion, while non-gaming revenue grew 24 percent to P1.7 billion. Net profit for the period was P1.6 billion, a significant upswing from a P1.5 billion net loss in the previous year. Solaire is a 16-hectare gaming and integrated resort complex along Asean Avenue in Parañaque City. The Bay Tower of Solaire consists of a casino with an aggregate gaming floor area of approximately 18,500 square meters (including approximately 6,000 square meters of exclusive VIP gaming areas), with approximately 1,400 slot machines, 295 gaming tables and 88 electronic table games. Bay Tower has 488 hotel rooms and 15 specialty restaurants. Contiguous to the existing Solaire Resort and Casino, the Sky tower consists of a 312 all-suite hotel, additional ten VIP gaming salons with 66 gaming tables and 223 slot machines. It also includes a certified 1,760-seat lyric theatre

The $1.3 billion City of Dreams Manila is owned by Belle Corp and Melco Crown Entertainment’s local unit. For Q3, net revenue jumped to $131 million from $91.7 million a year earlier, boosted by casino revenue. Rolling chip volume totaled $1.6 billion for the third quarter of 2016 versus $1.2 billion in the third quarter of 2015. Mass market table games drop increased 26 percent to $146.8 million. Gaming machine handle for the third quarter of 2016 was $597 million, compared with $508.4 million. Non-gaming revenue was flat. PAGCOR has approved the operation by City of Dreams Manila of up to a maximum of approximately 380 gaming tables, 1,700 slot machines and 1,700 electronic table games. City of Dreams Manila has six hotel towers with approximately 950 rooms in aggregate, including VIP and five-star luxury rooms and high-end boutique hotel rooms, a wide selection of restaurants and food & beverage outlets, a 4,612.44 square meters family entertainment center in collaboration with Dreamworks

Travellers International Hotel Group, a joint venture between Genting Hong Kong and Alliance Global, is the owner and operator of Resorts World Manila. The company posted a 153 percent gain in net income in Q3, helped by a 14.2 percent rise in GGR to P6.2 billion. The non-gaming businesses, which include hotel, F&B, and other revenues, contributed about P859.2 million in the third quarter, increasing by 2 percent year on year . The hotel room count for the group’s three hotels (Maxims Hotel, Remington Hotel, and Marriott Hotel Manila) remains at 1,226. Phase 2 at RWM is nearing completion with the addition of 228 rooms in the Marriott West Wing in Q4. Phase 3, which will consist of three hotels, Hilton Manila, Sheraton Manila Hotel, and Maxims II, will be completed by 2018. It will also include an additional gaming area, new retail spaces and six basement parking decks. PAGCOR has approved new gaming capacity of 420 gaming tables and 4,148 gaming machines at the resort. Travellers says its expansion plans are “in full swing.” A bridge linking the complex to the international airport is expected to open in the first half of 2017.

Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2017




IRs struggle for growth drivers as shopping overtakes casinos Singapore’s two IRs are seeing improved profit due to cost cuts and operational efficiencies, but topline growth continues to be lacklustre with no new catalysts for gaming growth and increasing competition from other regional destinations.


as Vegas Sands’ Marina Bay Sands property reported a 1.6 percent gain in net revenue in the third quarter, with just a 1.1 percent increase in casino revenue. Genting Singapore saw overall revenue fall 9 percent, with gaming revenue down 10 percent. Profit was strong at both companies helped by operational efficiencies, but analysts have expressed concern the resorts will come under pressure as the Philippines develops its market and as Japan opens up to casino gambling.

Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2017

Universal Entertainment head Kazuo Okada, whose Okada Manila is scheduled to open in the Philippines this quarter, said recently that he believed gross gaming revenue in that country would overtake Singapore in the next few years. Japan is expected to become the secondbiggest market in Asia once casinos open there, with a similar-style product offering to those in the city state. “Large-scale casinos will bid to build some of the world’s most iconic integrated resorts, similar to the magnitude the

world saw constructed in Singapore,” Steve Gallaway, managing partner of Global Market Advisors said. Singapore has already been struggling with a slump in tourism over the past two years. The island, like Macau, saw a drop off in VIP revenue, while its strong currency made it a more expensive destination for visitors from neighbouring countries. Tourism numbers did pick up in the first half of last year, though analysis of the figures showed that the visitors favored shopping over gambling. According to Bloomberg, it


We believe LVS could monetize its Singapore mall for $6 billion under realistic valuations and that it is open to sale scenarios

was the first time since 2012 that shopping had outpaced casinos as the key source of revenue for the tourism industry, rising 44 percent in the first half to end June. International visitor arrivals in the period increased 13 percent over the same period last year to reach 8.2 million visitors. Tourism receipts also grew by 12 percent to reach $11.6 billion. Marina Bay Sands’ revenue breakdown for Q3 reflects that trend. Its mall revenue far outstripped its other sources of income, gaining some 15.4 percent. Non-gaming

revenue at Genting Singapore was down 6 percent, which still outperformed its casino operations. According to Bernstein Research, which met recently with Las Vegas Sands officials, the company is focused on ways of driving further growth in Singapore. The local mass market is largely saturated, while the overseas market is restrained by a lack of hotel rooms. “Sands has been proposing to expand MBS by building 1000 to 1,500 additional hotel rooms, along with expanded retail mall and an entertainment area,” Bernstein said. “The arena is being pitched as a key differentiator in the Asian market to focus on world-class entertainment that would drive inbound tourism.” However, it added at present talks are ongoing and may take time to reach a conclusion. The company also has been considering options for its retail assets, including a sale, which analysts still say is a distinct possibility. “We believe LVS could monetize its Singapore mall for $6 billion under realistic valuations and that it is open to sale scenarios,” Sterne Agee analyst David Bain wrote in a recent note.




-29% -1%

Y16E Mass Y17E




Y17E Mass

+2% +3%


(Source: UBS)



China arrivals 1,472,654


Indonesia arrivals 1,412,756

+7.3% (Source: STB)

Genting Singapore completes Jeju sale Genting Singapore has completed the sale of its interest in a resort development on Jeju island in South Korea. The company received a total cash consideration of about S$596.3 million. The operator is expected to focus its attention on obtaining a license in Japan.

Voucher clampdown risk not major concern Any potential crackdown by China on the use of Union Pay cards to purchase resort vouchers at Marina Bay Sands is only likely to have a minimal impact on GGR, according to Bernstein. The resort voucher program has been in place for two years and was approved by Union Pay, however, it has reportedly raised eyebrows in Beijing as visitors are using the vouchers to pay for casino chips. MBS has sold about $400 million worth of chips via vouchers, representing about 5 percent of mass play.

Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2017




Bookies eye booming eSports market Russia’s eSports market is tipped for strong growth, though the ability of the country’s bookmakers to tap the potential may be held back by cumbersome laws on online gambling and a failure to understand the audience.

Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2017


t a recent eSports conference in Moscow, eSports expert and inventor of the Warp gaming chair, Dmitry Zorkin, cited figures from PayPal and SuperData Research which found 2.2 million people currently play in Russia, with that number likely to double to 4.3 million by 2018. Revenues are likely to increase at a more subdued pace, rising from a total of $35.4 million in 2016 to about $43.7 million in 2018. He says Europe’s total eSports market currently stands at $343 million and is forecast to rise to $389 million. Globally, according to SuperData, the audience has grown from 130 million in 2015 to over 213 million in 2016. Global revenue for e-sports has grown by 20 percent to $892 million in 2016 and is likely to top $1 billion by 2018. Asia currently dominates the e-sports market with a $328 million share, followed by North America $275 million and Europe $269 million. Competitive gaming was given a boost in Russia in June this year when it was officially recognized as a sport. The move allows official tournaments to be held and athletes to be given official prize titles. It is also expected to lead to greater sponsorship in the field and a larger television audience.

Changing trends For example, Russian state-owned sports channel Match TV, has signed a cooperation agreement with eSports holding ESforce and broadcasts tournaments and specialized programs. ESforce received a $100 million investment from billionaire Alisher Usmanov. “Football and tennis are currently much more popular with bookmakers’ clients. But trends are changing right before our eyes,” said Darina Denisova, president of the Bookmakers Self-Regulatory Organization. “Taking bets on the world’s most popular e-sports tournaments will very soon become a routine practice for bookmakers. The fight for customers, usually representatives of the next generation, will be very serious. Those bookmakers, who underestimate the growth in popularity of eSports in the betting context will simply lose out.” According to Alexei Tkachuk, editor-inchief of Bookmakers Rating, the majority of gamers in Russia - 80 to 90 percent - are male and below 30 years old. However, he did say there is increasing popularity among the 25-34-year age group. Bets on CS:GO (Counter Strike: Global


Offensive) and Dota 2 account for about 7080 percent of all bets on eSports in Russia. A bookmaker’s margin may vary from 4 to 8 percent. While an average bet on eSports in one of the major bookmakers Liga Stavok is about 300 roubles ($4.7 dollars). However, Tkachuk says the potential for growth is huge. He expects bets through traditional Russian bookmakers to rise 70 percent in 2017. However, there are obstacles to overcome.

Fostering development Konstantin Makarov, president of major Russian bookmaker Bingo Boom has recently established a foundation to support and develop eSports. He notes the market is still in its infancy and does not yet count amongst the top ten when it comes to sports bets. “The market is quite huge, but it has not yet been shaped, it is new audience and statistics is only being gathered,” Makarov says. “It is a very prospective and interesting market, but it should be carefully analyzed and experiments are required with ways to attract this audience.” He adds that foreign bookmakers are currently outperforming Russian ones due to the law on online bets, allowing them to be processed only via an online payment processor called TSUPIS. There are now two such TSUPIS operating in Russia. The first involves four bookmakers, while the second became fully operational after a November launch. Websites of other bookmakers operating illegally have been consistently blocked by Russian media and communications watchdog Roskomnadzor. Traditional bookmakers also need to find ways to connect with the eSports audience, who prefer online services and cyber sports arenas to the old-fashioned betting shop.

Social networking Some Russian bookmakers, like 1xbet and Baltbet, are reaching out by sponsoring eSports teams and tournaments, while others give forecasts on games to try to attract the relevant audience via social networks. Social networking websites VKontake and Odnoklassniki are popular tools among eSports gamblers. The head of BetConstruct’s bookmaking department Momik Akopyan said that 80 percent of bets on eSports taken by the company’s partners are live, adding that the primary issue to be addressed in regard to eSport is match fixing.


2017E $559m

2018E $630m (Source: Union Gaming)

VIPs to drive Summit Ascent growth Summit Ascent Holdings is expected to hit “mid-teens” EBITDA growth in 2017 and 2018, and outsized growth in 2020 following the opening of Phase 2, according to Union Gaming. “We expect the majority of Tigre de Cristal’s revenue and EBITDA to be derived from VIP over the near, medium, and long terms. We believe this is largely by the design of the Russian government, which created certain legal casino zones, including the Primorye IEZ, in areas that generally do not enjoy massive local population density.”

Sochi’s first IR targets $76m turnover in 2017 The Sochi Casino and Resort will be a five-star complex involving a casino, two restaurants, a bar, a banquet hall, a cabaret theatre, a conference room and boutiques. It can accommodate up to 2,000 visitors and has 569 slot machines and 70 gaming tables. Its creators expect it to receive over 43,000 guests a month and pay RUB 433.6 million (US$7 million) in taxes in 2017. According to reports, investment in the project amounted to RUB 4 billion and investors expect turnover to hit RUB 4.6 billion in 2017.

Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2017




Foreign investors sour on locals-only gaming Results for South Korea’s gaming operators improved in 2016, although foreign operators appear to be losing patience, with major projects either stalled or abandoned.


enting Singapore was the latest to file for the exits, finalizing the sale of its stake in an IR project on Jeju island to joint venture partner Landing International. The company said it was focusing its efforts on its business at home and also positioning for a possible bid for a casino license in Japan. The company sold its stake for S$596.3 million ($411.1 million), making a gain of about S$96.3 million, just two years after announcing the $2.2 billion project, which it said at the time would be a game changer. The fate of Bloomberry Resorts’ project, on the island of Jeju is also up in the air. The operator of the Solaire Casino & Resort in Manila had planned to sell the Korean project to Hong Kong-listed Iao Kun Holding, just over a year after having bought it. However, that sale fell through and for the time being, the company has been cited as saying that for now it will continue to operate the resort. “We had a sale already done but it fell through. But business is starting to pick

Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2017

up so we are not in a rush,” Bloomberry chairman Enrique Razon told local media in an interview. South Korean foreigner-only operator Paradise Co. has said that its IR, being developed in Incheon along with Japan’s Sega Sammy, is on track to open in April this year. Though another project from Caesars International appears to be stalled. South Korea had been seen as one of the most promising markets in the region, given its close proximity to northern China and the popularity of Korean culture on the mainland. However, an outbreak of Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome in 2015 that caused tourism numbers to slump, coupled with a clampdown on resorts marketing in China, highlighted the vulnerabilities of a market so reliant on foreign visitation. “Korea market is not as lucrative, considering locals are not allowed to gamble, and recent cases of foreign casino marketing executives being detained in China could cap VIP growth,” Morgan Stanley wrote in

a recent note. It added that foreigner-only casinos, such as GKL and Paradise have not seen a recovery in their Chinese business even though it has been more than 12 months since the arrest of their marketing executives on the mainland. Morgan Stanley also notes that the government still has not ultimately decided how many new casino licenses will be offered “adding uncertainty and potential competition.” When the government first asked for requests for proposals for new casino licenses it attracted a strong field of foreign contenders. However, those numbers dwindled, with the government in the end awarding just one license to a group led by U.S. tribal operator Mohegan Sun. Mohegan is convinced it will be able to make a success, planning on a strong nongaming element to drive revenue. The resort, to be known as Inspire, will be the third major project in Incheon, near to the international airport and in close proximity to the capital Seoul.











(Source: Morgan Stanley)

Korea market is not as lucrative, considering locals are not allowed to gamble, and recent cases of foreign casino marketing executives being detained in china could cap VIP growth Unique business model

“Our business model contemplates that Inspire will generate more non-gaming revenue than gaming revenue which is quite unusual for most gaming resorts outside of Las Vegas,” CEO Bobby Soper told AGB. Soper says he is “absolutely” convinced Inspire will be able to thrive, even without a locals gaming license. “As the closest gaming jurisdiction to Northern China, including the cities of Shanghai and Beijing, there are over 700 million Chinese residents within a two hour flight to Seoul,” he said. However, South Korea experts say it’s a difficult sell. China’s VIPs continue to distrust the market due to allegations of cheating at some operations on Jeju, while junket operators demand high rates of commission with no guarantees of clientele.

That has forced attention on the mass and premium mass market, but since the marketing crackdown in China, client acquisition has become even more difficult, keeping volumes low. Add to that Bank of Korea limitations on credit and changing regulation, it has proved a tough nut for foreign operators to crack. President Park Geun-hye, who backed the promotion of IRs to boost tourism, has also been impeached in a corruption scandal, leaving the country in turmoil. Results at the foreigner-only casinos have picked up. Paradise Co. reported full-year sales gained 6.2 percent in full-year 2016 to KRW603.13 billion ($505.9 million) compared to KRW567.88 billion in full-year 2015. Table game revenue rose 7.2 percent in 2016, to KRW567.67 billion. Machine game revenue however fell 7.3 percent to approximately KRW35.94 billion in full-year 2016. Grand Korea Leisure, which operates casinos under the Seven Luck brand, saw Q2 sales gain 5.4 percent. The results compare with a 5.9 percent gain in sales for Kangwon Land. However, those casinos also benefit from their location often in major metropolitan areas, where they benefit from traffic from local Koreans holding overseas passports. The new casino licenses given out in the Incheon zone, which is still under development, don’t tend to have that advantage, and neither does Jeju.

Iao Kun says Jeju Sun deal lapsed Macau VIP promoter Iao Kun Group Holdings says an accord to buy the Jeju Sun Hotel & Casino in South Korea from Bloomberry Resorts has expired. Iao Kun agreed to buy the resort in June from Bloomberry Resorts in a transaction worth KRW 117.5 billion ($102.3 million). In agreeing to the sale, Bloomberry said Iao Kun was confident it would be able to attract China VIPs to the island.

Kangwon Land mulls cooling off period for locals Kangwon Land is considering imposing tougher measures to prevent problem gambling, including a cooling off period of up to three months for those suspected of problem gambling. At present, locals are allowed to gamble for up to 15 days a month. Under the new proposals, those who gamble 30 days over two months will be banned for a month for the first violation. If they repeat the frequency they will receive a two-month ban and on the third time will get a three-month penalty.

Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2017



Operators to vye for golden goose A surprise year-end push by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s administration to enact legislation allowing casinos has set the scene for an exciting 2017, with many global operators jockeying for a license in what is expected to become Asia’s second-largest casino market.


he enabling bill passed in the eleventh hour of the final Diet session of the year in a day of political high drama. The topic is still highly contentious in Japan with a significant proportion of the population saying they are opposed to casinos due to to concerns over problem gambling. Abe steamrollered over opposition in parliament, overcoming a late no confidence motion to get the bill passed, but the political friction that has caused may come back to create problems in the negotiations to come. The government now has to pass separate legislation that will set out the details on how many licenses will be available and what form the market will take. Only then can it undergo the Request for Concept and

Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2017

Request for Proposal process. Analysts don’t expect the first casino to open until at least 2021 at the earliest. According to Fitch Ratings, the most likely scenario is that the new regulations will look similar to Singapore’s with a limited number of licenses, most likely two in Tokyo and Osaka and an entry fee on locals. It expects multiple satellite casinos to be allowed. Under this scenario, Fitch estimates the market will be worth about $6 billion, overtaking Singapore. This assumes 500 table games and 3,000 slot machines each and respective win per day rates of around $14,000 and $600. Fitch’s estimates are at the more conservative end of the spectrum. Morgan Stanley forecasts the market may be worth as much as $20

billion by 2025, while CLSA has bet on GGR of as much as $40 billion. “Developed infrastructure, higher transparency, large high net worth individual base and rising Chinese visitors should result in successful casino business in Japan. This could also force other neighboring countries, like Korea, to relax restrictions on local participation,” said Morgan Stanley. Part of the reason for the optimism is based on Japan’s massive pachinko industry which, although in decline in recent years, generated about $35 billion in net win in 2015. According to Japan Productivity Center’s 2014 White Paper on the Leisure Industry there are 9.7 million active players in Japan, which is about 10 percent of the adult population.




(Source: Morgan Stanley)

GGRE $6.4b (Source: Fitch based on two IRs)

Bloomberry seeks Japanese partners for license bid Confirming its interest in a filing to the Philippine Stock Exchange, the operator of the Solaire Resort & Casino, said the expansion would form part of its strategy of searching for business opportunities both at home and abroad.

Although active players have dropped 43 percent since 2005, it still highlights a high propensity to gamble. “Given what appears to be a heavy focus on the Singapore model we expect locals to be allowed to gamble, and we also expect there to be some entry fee for locals. Regardless, the locals green light should make the Tokyo and Osaka IRs the most sought after licenses in the history of gaming,” Union Gaming wrote in a note. Morgan Stanley said it assumes gaming revenue would be split 50/50 between mass and VIP, with the same 50/50 split between the local and foreigner market. Chinese tourists make up the largest proportion of visitors to Japan at 26 percent of the total. Most of the major casino operators have already announced an interest in bidding for a license. It is widely expected that they will be required to form joint ventures with local companies to be able to bid. MGM Resorts has been one of the most active in highlighting its interest in Japan and has in the past said it may be prepared to spend as much as $10 billion on developing a resort there.

The locals green light should make the Tokyo and Osaka IRs the most sought after licenses in the history of gaming

“After years of study in the region, we believe the opportunity exists to drive significant growth in sustainable travel and tourism particularly from international segments along with the creation of thousands of jobs and long-term economic benefit,” it said in a statement shortly after the news the bill had been passed. MGM has a full-time development team in Tokyo pursuing discussions. It said the announcement “allows us to advance our relationships with key stakeholders and together create a coalition of Japanese

Sega Sammy sees 9 percent sales growth in 2017 Sega Sammy CEO Hajime Satomi says the group expects net sales to grow 9 percent in 2017, while operating income will gain 14.2 percent as improved profitability in the entertainment contents business offsets weakness in the pachinko sector. The group expects a new agreement relating to anti-addiction measures to lead to a 9 percent drop in pachinko unit sales.

business partners who will collectively define a vision for a uniquely Japanese world-class integrated resort. Las Vegas Sands has also said it may be prepared to invest as much as $10 billion, while Malaysia’s Genting, Bloomberry Resorts, Wynn Resorts and Melco Crown have all also expressed an interest. The upside for the winners in terms of share price is likely to be large. According to Morgan Stanley Genting could see a 42 percent boost from current levels, while MGM may get a 20 percent bump.

Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2017





Expansions target mass growth Cambodia’s main casino resorts continue to benefit from rising growth in tourism and are planning new marketing initiatives and attractions to appeal to the expanding mass market.

Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2017



agaCorp, which operates the NagaWorld casino is scheduled to open its second phase this year, adding about 1,000 extra hotel rooms, with about 250 to 300 more gaming tables and 1,000 electronic gaming machines. The expansion will effectively double the number of tables and also add significant new retail space. According to a report from SWS Research, management expects about 1,000 footfalls a day. Speaking at the MGS Gaming Summit in Macau in November, Naga chairman Tim McNally said he envisages a third phase that is likely to add attractions such as a theme park or water park to enhance its appeal to Asia’s expanding mass market segment. “I can say without a formal announcement yet, you will see a Naga 3 from us. It’ll be additional hotel facilities and maybe a water park or a theme park because in the long run, Cambodia is a reasonable cost destination,” he said. “It just can’t be gaming, or a normal integrated resort as you have to compete with others in the region, so our masterplan will include non-gaming attractions that will draw a large number of people from the surrounding region, particularly south east asia where there is an undersupply,” he said. McNally pointed out that tourism has been developing fast in Cambodia, with around 5 million tourist arrivals in 2016, with 800,000 of those from China. That’s up from 4,775,231 in 2015, which in turn was a more than 6 percent increase from the prior year. According to projections, Chinese outbound travel is expected to grow from about 80 million tourists a year at present to more than 200 million in coming years. The Cambodian tourism ministry forecasts 1.0 million Chinese visitors in 2016, rising to 2.0 million by 2020, an 18.9 percent compound average growth rate. Naga, which has a 41-year monopoly within a 200 km radius of the capital Phnom Penh, is cooperating with local travel agents and Bassaka Air to bring more travellers in from China. New scheduled flights from Changsha and Xi’an will raise the total direct flights from China to Cambodia from six at present to eight or nine. In the nine-months to end September, the group reported an 11 percent rise in VIP rollings to $6.6 billion, while mass table buy ins rose 13 percent to $456.5 million. Revenue from electronic gaming machines jumped 15 percent.


Donaco International, which owns the Star Vegas resort in Poipet, is planning further VIP tournaments in 2017 to boost growth. It also plans more marketing initiatives to leverage its status as the Official Resort Partner of soccer team Manchester United in Thailand to increase mass market visitation. The company said revenue in the first four months of the current fiscal year to end October has fallen some A$9.8 million to A$42 million ($31 million), though says it is confident of a recovery later in the year. In a presentation, managing director Joey Lim attributed the decline mainly to the exceptionally high base comparison with the prior-year period. He said the company had delayed its marketing initiatives in Thailand due to the passing of the King in October.

GROSS GAMING REVENUE NagaCorp 9-month VIP rollings $6.6b


Mass market $456m


EGMs $1.1b


Star Vegas Y16 revenue HB3.1b VIP win





Revenue 4 months to Oct. A$42mm -$9.8m

We continue to see steady growth in slot machine turnover as we roll out more machines onto the floor, with the total now reaching almost 1,600 machines.

EGT divests Cambodian assets Entertainment Gaming Asia has sold its remaining gaming assets in Cambodia in an effort to streamline its business operations. The assets included 278 electronic gaming machine seats at the Dreamworld Club (Poipet) and an additional 72 EGM seats held in storage to the Dreamworld Poipet venue owner for a cash payment of $900,000.

“We continue to see steady growth in slot machine turnover as we roll out more machines onto the floor, with the total now reaching almost 1,600 machines.” Lim also said a further opportunity for revenue growth is likely to come from its online presence, in particular to attract a younger demographic. “We have plans for an enhanced loyalty program, including an interactive social gaming experience. We are exploring and trialing options for the utilization of our online gaming license and expect to make progress in the coming year.”

Jurassic-themed casino resort planned Malaysia’s MQ Technology has signed an accord with Cambodian Resort and Entertainment Corp. to develop and run a theme park and resort in Cambodia. CRE plans to invest $51.1 million in a mixed resort development including a Jurassic Theme Park, together with hotels, a casino and apartments.

Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2017



Long-stalled projects move ahead as legislation passes Vietnam has confirmed certain designated integrated resorts will allow locals to gamble for a three-year trial basis as part of the government’s new regulations for the industry.


nder the regulations, which were finally published in January, locals will be able to pay an entrance fee of about $45 to enter certain designated casinos. The rules omit specific earlier references to the resorts of Phu Quoc island in the south and Van Don in the north. This has led some to speculate the Grand Ho Tram will also be part of the pilot program, though this is unclear. The long-awaited measures are expected to help spur foreign investment in the tourism center. To further boost growth the government

Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2017

Vietnam has finally allowed international investors to come into one of the last fertile gaming lands in Asia

has fast-forwarded the construction of infrastructure projects, including airports and highways leading to Phu Quoc and Van Don, The casinos are still under construction

and no opening date has been set. In December 2016, the PM and his Cabinet approved another IR in the well-known Cam Ranh Bay in central Vietnam. The ancient capital of Hue, also in Central Vietnam, is on the radar screen for another IR. By 2018, the country will see a total of six integrated resorts, 50 hotel electronic gaming lounges, and seven small casinos for foreign tourists, says Augustine Ha Ton Vinh, president and CEO of Stellar Management. In addition, a new sports betting decree is expected to come out sometime in the first half of 2017. “Vietnam, after years of wringing its hands whether to open up the gaming industry, has finally reached important decisions and allowed international investors to come into one of the last fertile gaming lands in Asia,” Vinh said. Meanwhile, VinaCapital, an asset management firm, has reportedly teamed up with Hong Kong’s Gold Yield Enterprises Ltd. and the Suncity Group of Macau to develop the long-delayed $4 billion tourism and leisure


FOREIGNER-ONLY GGR Aristo International Y16 net gaming revenue RM58.7m Non-gaming revenue RMB48.1m



VIP table game turnover RMB8.32b GGR table games RMB228.4m GGR slots RMB9.4m


-5% -16%

Lottery firms up the ante Traditional lottery operators in Vietnam have officially raised their top prizes in an effort to compete with the emerging American-style jackpot, VNexpress reports. Effective January 1, the lottery firms increased their top prizes to VND 2 billion (US$86,000), up 33.3 percent. The amount was previously capped at VND 1.5 billion.

Government puts airport slots on hold destination in South Hoi An. “HOIANA is set to rank among Asia’s most renowned resort destinations, bringing a self-contained world of entertainment, leisure, pleasure and luxury lifestyle,” said HOIANA chairman, Don Lam, in an announcement. The project has been a long time coming. In 2014, the company was struggling to find a partner to replace Malaysia’s Genting Bhd, which pulled out in 2012. U.S. company Peninsula Pacific was planning to step in to fill the void that year, but it later withdrew. Finally, more than two years later, the company has now announced that the first phase of the project is scheduled to open in the first quarter of 2019. Phase I will include a resort and casino, which includes a 445-room hotel complex, 200 apartment-suites operated by Hong Kong’s New World Hotels, an ultra-luxury Rosewood spa resort incorporating 75 guest villas and 25 exclusive residences, and a golf course designed by Robert Trent Jones II.

The project plans to add more hotels, residential and lifestyle zones, convention center and other facilities over the next 10 to 15 years.

Tighter rules The government is also considering making gaming machines adhere to more stringent requirements. According to Vietnam Breaking News, slot machines will now have to offer a payout percentage of at least 90 percent, which must be written into software installed in the slot machine while in factory. Should the operator of the facility change the payout percentage, or service / repair the machine in a way that could alter payout percentages, they would have to seek recertification to ensure the new percentage is not lower than 90 percent. The certification companies chosen must also be operating in G7 countries, it added.

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has agreed to temporarily suspend a draft decree allowing slot machines at Vietnam’s international airports. The draft will restart after the three-year trial period of 2 IR’s (Van Don and Phu Quoc) is completed. The idea of slot machines at international airports was first proposed by the Ministry of Transport in July 2015.

Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2017



Online lottery key to distribution reform? Thai government efforts to reform its multi-billion dollar state lottery appear to be making little headway, with experts saying some of the fundamental problems are unlikely to be resolved until an online system is introduced.


he military government, under Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, promised to overhaul the lottery to break the power of powerful distribution syndicates, known as the Five Tigers, and bring down ticket prices. Retail prices are nominally 80 baht ($2.22) for a pair of tickets, but the syndicates and other organizations buy tickets through a quota system, which has led to price mark ups of up to 50 percent for popular digits. Prayut in early 2015 gave assurances lottery quotas for the Five Tigers, due to expire in July 2015, would not be extended. The quotas were to be reallocated to retailers. But Visanu Vongsinsirikul, an economics lecturer at Dhurakit Pundit University in Bangkok, says retailers have in turn sold tickets back to the Five Tigers, undermining the government’s policy. This has weakened government efforts to keep ticket prices at the official 80 baht. Past efforts to weaken the financially powerful wholesalers by democratically elected

Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2017

governments have also failed. The wholesalers’ power lies in their financial muscle to purchase large volumes of tickets. Analysts say the syndicates pay the Government Lottery Office 9,800 million

The GLO produced 80 then 90 million tickets per round until it reached 100 million, but the price doesn’t go down.

baht – or $272 million – for the two rounds drawn on the 1st and 16th of the month. “No one [syndicate] can bear the risk so they share it among these five [syndicates] and get their money by collating popular numbers together into a pack to their agents to sell,” he said. The repackaging of the tickets

can mean higher average prices for tickets than sold individually. Thailand’s state and underground lotteries command millions of dollars. The Family Network Foundation says around 19.2 million of Thailand’s 67 million population buy the government lottery totalling in gross revenue 76 billion baht, or $2.3 billion each year. Analysts say the underground lottery or ‘huay’ dealers see cash turnovers of four to five times above of the state lottery at close to 500 billion baht ($13.8 billion). The GLO twice a month issues 60 million tickets. Some 15 percent of the tickets are allocated for charities with the remainder sold to individual vendors. Traditionally vendors purchase tickets at 70 baht per pair to be sold to the public for 80 baht – assuming a profit of 10 baht per pair of tickets. But unpopular numbers are difficult to sell and instead of incurring losses, they sell the tickets to the syndicates. Efforts to break the syndicates’ hold on the lottery and also to bring down the individual



Australia - NZ








The Middle East -10%


Russia & CIS


ticket prices have failed. But Visanu says the problem lies in the GLO assuming the lottery is similar to other products and that raising the supply of tickets will lead to lower retail prices. “So the GLO produced 80 then 90 million tickets per round until it reached 100 million tickets. But the price doesn’t go down, because if you issue more pairs of lottery tickets then you are providing more opportunity to the Five Tigers to group more tickets into eight ticket packs,” he said.

Premium sets The lottery office, in a move seen by analysts as a further effort to undermine the syndicates, said it was examining the issue of “repacking” of tickets into sets that are then sold at a premium. A strategy was to alter the timing when the tickets would be sent to the middlemen making it impossible for them to repackage the sets in time for the bi-monthly draw. In a move reflecting past efforts the

Finance Ministry in mid-June last year said it was planning a government lottery bill that would clear the way for introduction of an online lottery as well as requiring vendors to be registered.

No timetable The GLO says plans for the online lottery are going ahead but no date has been set. Visanu says the key to undermining the influence of the Five Tiger wholesale syndicates lay in applying the online lottery. This, he said, would undermine the business model of the syndicates who purchase tickets of popular numbers and repackage at a higher retail rate. In the online lottery buyers would only purchase two and three digits lottery or lotto tickets with the prize money pooled across all the winning tickets. Analysts say there is longstanding resistance to the introduction of online lottery from powerful interests who earn significant income under the existing quota allocation system.



Tourism spending tipped to rise

Thailand is targeting tourism revenue of 2.71 trillion baht in 2017, an 8.2 percent gain from 2016, according to the Tourism and Sports Ministry. Of the revised target 1.78 trillion will come from foreign tourists, a gain of 8.5 percent and with 930 billion baht from domestic tourists.

Northern Thais bet on beetle battles

Northern Thailand has just held its annual round of rhinoceros beetle fighting contests. According to media reports, bets on the contests can range from THB100 ($3) to THB50,000. The matches are split into rounds and the beetles push each other with their horns. The winner will cause its opponent to flee or will break its horn.

Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2017


Asia starts 2017 on a high note With signs Macau is well on the road to recovery; the Philippine market growing in double digits; and the prospect of casinos in Japan, 2017 is starting on a more promising note for Asia’s casino industry.


ietnam is on the verge of finally publishing legislation that will lay the framework for its gambling sector, allowing locals to bet in casinos for the first time on a limited basis, while Cambodia may also produce its own set of regulations. Add to that, further expected resort openings will expand the offering across the region, starting with the official launch of Universal Entertainment’s Okada Manila in the first quarter, to the expected opening of Imperial Pacific’s new resort in the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands. The latter is being closely watched given the huge turnover being generated by its temporary facility on the remote Pacific Island. While the nature of the market in Asia is often unpredictable, one thing we can say with near certainty is there will not be any shortage of news. With this in mind, we asked a few brave souls to stick their necks on the line and give us their predictions for what are Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2017

likely to be the most notable events and trends to watch out for in the coming year. Here is what they had to reverse alphabetical order this time.

Michael Zhu Vice President, operations, planning, analysis, Innovation Group

The continuous political climate in China could curb many casino resorts’ marketing efforts and focus on the VIP segment, especially the direct VIP channel. In this context, operators will need to overcome challenges to create some unique and exotic experience to attract a large base of mass guests, engaging the natural assets,


Augustine Ha Ton Vinh President and CEO Stellar Management

By 2018, the country will see a total of 6 integrated resorts, 50 hotel electronic gaming lounges, and 7 small casinos for foreign tourists, and gaming rooms at departure level of the country’s 7 international airports. In addition, a new sports betting decree is expected to come out sometime in the first half of 2017.

Sam Sheng Director, Double Square Consulting

cultural elements, and other factors specific to the region they are located in. Of note, many affluent Chinese tourists from the country’s first-tier metropolitans have already visited the “must-see” cities such as New York and Paris, and are now looking for more exotic destinations, such as Iceland and Sweden for example. We believe these trends and dynamics also bode well for further expansion of Asian gaming operators and gaming companies with a strong Asian background/footprint into regions far from China, such as Eastern and Northern Europe. The European market, for the most part, has a stable political environment and strong regulatory control, which also enables Asian operators to capture a wider range of guests and corresponding spend as Europe remains on top of the “dream destinations” list for many Chinese/Asian middle class patrons. As a matter of fact, many companies have already taken actions. Melco’s move in Cyprus, Galaxy’s investment in Monaco, to name a few. The similar trend can also be seen in the Pacific islands. Additionally, we think the strong tourism trend presents a great opportunity for the Native American tribal casino resorts in the US. With the record high tourist arrivals, road trips in the US, national parks and other remote natural assets are becoming increasingly attractive to Asian tourists (especially younger generations such as the Millennials), boding well for more Asian tourists hitting Indian reservations and tribal casino properties if the “right” products and services are made available.

For 2017 and beyond, I think we will likely see accelerated casino resort development in Southeast Asia, especially Vietnam and Cambodia. I think patrons will favor resort setting casino resorts with exotic beauty and rich amenities over urban casinos. The shifted demand patterns calling for total resort experience instead of just gaming. Personally I think ‘Club Med with Gaming’ would be appealing concept for Asian, especially Chinese patrons. In 2017 I think we will continue to see

Tim Shepherd Co-founder and president of business development Silver Heritage Group

the larger players in Macau flex their muscles internationally looking for ROIC no longer available in Macau. Seeking similar growth are the larger junket groups who will continue to diversify into bricks and mortar across Asia Pacific – they are saying “why give 50 percent of the profits to the licensee/builder?” They are going to back themselves to run a casino as well as anyone by recruiting the right managerial talent (much of it streaming out of Macau because of blue card issues) and already they have the player base. They also have a growing understanding of AML issues. Proxy betting from the comfort of a KTV or a hotel room anywhere in Asia on

tables broadcasting live from Cambodia or the Philippines is now almost a commodity product and that trend will continue to play out for the VIPs who used to travel to Macau in large numbers and now don’t for fear of the spotlight being cast upon them. No numbers are ever going to be recorded but you know it’s a bigger business than the Macau groups would like to hear. Finally, and admittedly on a personal level, in early 2017, Silver Heritage Group’s flagship Tiger Palace Resort will open on the Indian border in Nepal, and, as we’ve seen from The Millionaire’s Club & Casino in Kathmandu, the vast, high energy and wealthy Indians are simply not being catered to by groups buried in the China weeds. Look for that opening to astonish the industry in 2017.” Predictions for the 2017 Asian Gaming market could be precarious, but I speculate we will begin to see disruptive technologies migrate to the mainstream. The market leaders have been talking long enough about what future millennials desire,

Mike Santangelo

however, 2017 should see commitment to long term strategies and investment in eSports, mobile-based connectivity, more robust online platforms and potentially skill-based gaming. MGM and several smaller gaming companies have already began trialing these technologies but I forecast this trend will quickly migrate to the other Asian market leaders in 2017. Additionally, I expect to see Japan and Vietnam announce their entry to the casino gaming foray in 2017, with major Macau and Asian based operators po sitioning themselves for the few lucrative licenses. I also anticipate the Philippines to continue with their double digit GGR growth rates, while Korea continues its swift descent with more non-Korean gaming companies running for the exits. Macau will also continue to see a steady growth in 2017 although one major caveat could be the swifter exodus of junket promoters directly handling their players such as Sun City’s casino in Danang, Vietnam. While the Asian gaming market is unpredictable, one thing we can all be 100 percent sure of is that there is never a lack of excitement and 2017 will be no exception.

Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2017


Jay Sayta Founder

Elections are scheduled in Goa in early 2017 and one of the key issues for political parties is the fate of casinos. Political parties like the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), whom political pundits feel have a decent shot at power, have promised to eliminate casinos if voted to power, while other opposition parties like the Congress party have stated that they would consider removing casinos altogether or phase them out, if required. The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) however maintains that casinos are a necessary evil and have brought in considerable investment and attracted tourism. 2) The online skill games space is likely to see more consolidation with big enterprises entering this sector. One could see launch of more rummy, poker and gaming websites and more announcements on the lines of the Delta Corp acquisition of Adda52. 3) Amaya Group CEO Rafi Ashkenazi has indicated that Pokerstars will launch an India facing website by the first or second quarter of 2017 and is in discussions with local partners. Pokerstars formally making an entry to India will make the online skill games space highly competitive and smaller players may be forced to exit the space. 4) Delta Corp has announced the launch of its new casino in Hotel Denzong Regency in Gangtok, the capital city of Sikkim. The company has already received a provisional license from the state government and is in the process of refurbishing the gaming space. The new casino is expected to start operations by the first quarter of 2017. 5) 2017 could see one or two more states regulating and licensing casinos. There are talks with the governments of Puducherry, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka and one or two of these might probably commence the process of regulating and licensing casinos for the purpose of promoting tourism.

Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2017

Ben Lee Managing Partner, IGamiX Management & Consulting

Looking forward to 2017, the picture is less than clear. With the recent detention and arrests of Crown’s staff in China, all but one of the operators in Macau have ceased their direct marketing efforts across the border. Most if not all the foreign operators who have been targeting China have adopted the same risk minimization approach. What this means is that the direct VIP/Premium Mass players who have been relying on the casinos’ own staff to facilitate their logistics and assist with their funds transfers, will probably end up going back to the junkets. This is after all the raison d’etre for this unique Asian business model in the first place. China has previously warned Macau to keep its gaming industry under control, and if past comments were to serve as guide, we need to maintain a growth rate consistent with China’s own GDP growth forecast. Any increases higher than that would most likely elicit a response reminiscent of 2014. A clearer picture of the future direction of the gaming industry will emerge once the new Director of the China Liaison Office in Macau has reviewed 2016 in its entirety, and given us his comments, and that will probably be some time in Q1. The Macau gaming industry insofar as we are concerned is a political market rather than a free demand vs supply equation, and what we will get here is what China deigns to let us have. A single digit growth in line with China’s own economic growth will probably be our guide.


Sudhir Kale CEO GamePlan Consulting

Operators will, first and foremost, have to change their corporate culture from one of “build it and they will come” and outmoded hubris to “customer centricity” and servant leadership. To signal a visible shift in culture, casino companies need to mandate that their senior executives, regardless of functional area, walk the main gaming floor each day and make an attempt to engage with their frontline employees as well as customers. Above all, every single casino executive needs to take to heart Sam Walton’s admonishment, “There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.”

Ebbe Groes CEO, EveryMatrix

Believe the hype! Asian gaming is not only big but growing very fast. It seems to us that the region, while already boasting huge volumes, keeps growth rates that can stun even the more experienced players on the market. So software that was great in 2015 may have started to show problems in 2016, with increased competition and with technical solutions starting to show their limitations. In 2017 this will lead more of the large operators to seek for better software. I’m sure that some are right now busy building and others are busy scouring the market for good suppliers.

David Green CEO NewPage Consulting

1) Regulators and policymakers alike will come under increasing pressure to address issues such as the integrity of sports betting, whether social gaming should be regulated, what prescriptive standards and requirements should be set aside in favour of risk-based regulatory oversight, and how emerging technologies like virtual reality games should be evaluated for suitability to be offered as gambling propositions. The challenges of short cycle technology in the gaming industry are not new, but the current proliferation of new technologies is. Regulatory lag is likely to become an increasingly evident constraint on industry growth in 2017. 2. While Japan is seen by the industry as perhaps the last great untapped opportunity for investment, that is not necessarily a view shared by the Japanese. A social license to support legalization is likely to be far more significant than in any other Asian country which has moved to allow integrated resorts, with the possible exception of Singapore. Proponents seem focused on their capacity to buy such a license, in addition to any legal privilege they may be able to purchase. In my view, that is a dangerously misguided and culturally imperialistic view. 3. I expect the Macau SAR government will give industry some guidance as to how it will handle the looming expiry of the casino concessions. The first of the concessions (SJM/ MGM) is scheduled to expire on March 31, 2020. Given both SJM and MGM are yet to open their Cotai developments, there is a pressing need for clarity around the process…will it require a re-tender? Will exceptional circumstances justify the extension of the term of the SJM concession, and by extension, of the MGM sub-concession, by the Chief Executive prior to his departure from office in December 2019? What will the government expect from the concessionaire in consideration of the concession being extended, or a new concession granted? What will be the term of any new concession? And so on it goes.

Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2017


Andrew Klebanow Global Market Advisors Partner

I think the Philippines remains an intriguing story in 2017. President Duterte’s call to PAGCOR to privatize its casinos was a wise decision, although that decision was driven more by the President’s sense of morality rather than a purely business decision. PAGCOR’s dual role as operator and regulator has traditionally discouraged outside investment. PAGCOR branded casinos also have been starved of capital re-investment as the agency strove to upstream as much revenue to the central government to support its mission of generating funds for nation building. The value of those PAGCOR properties could be significant, particularly if private operators re-invested and improved the quality. If PAGCOR can appropriately value its casino properties based on future cash flows, it will be able to maximize the value of those assets while attracting operators more adept at operating casinos. The challenge is mitigating any uncertainty for those operators. Duterte’s call to arrest casino operator Jack Lam is an example of that uncertainty.’

Steve Gallaway Global Market Advisors Managing Partner

Japan will prove to be the largest opportunity in gaming today and all hospitality companies will be active in the market evaluating the potential opportunity while the legislation is being written. Large-scale casinos will bid to build some of the world’s most iconic integrated resorts, similar to the magnitude the world saw constructed in Singapore. The IRs will create a significant number of jobs and have a positive economic impact that will ripple throughout the Japanese economy. Similar to what occurred in Singapore, the local population will come to realize that integrated resorts do not result in the proliferation of problem gambling, and rather have a positive impact on the fabric of society. From a developer’s perspective, one of the greatest advantages of gaming in Japan is that revenue can rely on a comparatively wealthy and sophisticated local population

Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2017

and existing tourism industry, rather than having to develop a business plan contingent on wooing the VIP gamer from China, a market that continually proves unreliable due to Chinese public policy. In terms of market potential, this question cannot be answered until the tax rate and number of licenses to be issued are known. GMA projects that Macau will generate $25 billion in gaming revenue in 2017. This estimate is based on a comment made by Macau’s Chief Executive Fernando Chui in November. While we know demand is far greater than $25 billion, gaming revenue in 2017 and beyond will continue to be based on public policy out of China. For 2017 the Macau market will continue

Harmen Brenninkmeijer Managing Partner Dynamic Partners

to stabilize and grow, but the operators will have to work harder to get the players to come back. The future looks good with regards to the general mass player but the VIP’s will be careful in how, where and what they play. The certainty of them coming and playing the same numbers as they did in the years previously can not be counted upon. My prediction is that more focus has to be given to the mass and premium mass players to make them feel they get value for their money.

The junkets will have to work harder and the controls they will be facing will make it more challenging to fill their VIP rooms. From the suppliers point of view, more technology will be sold and the electronic table games will be sold in greater quantities. However, prices will remain stagnant and the operators will keep on demanding primarily popular products, creating higher risks as products will have to be tested live. The DICJ promised additional measures to streamline the process which is highly necessary to provide more variety and interesting products which today have not yet appeared in the casinos. HK traffic, once the bridge is open will demand more than what is on offer today. The PAGCOR privatization process will be painful as many employees are bound to lose their jobs, since the buyers likely can’t count on their loyalty and willingness to work as is expected in the private sector. How this will be managed and how PAGOR will transfer the properties will be key to the development of the Philippine casino industry as a whole. The additional potential impact will be on the online industry. How will PAGCOR’s involvement be handled? Will the online operators still be able to be First Cagayanlicensed and operate from Manila or will all operations in Manila be forced to be covered by its license? If so at what cost, as today’s proposed tax is very high. The handling of this will make or break the level of confidence with the present operators. If handled wrong most will leave the Philippines and create thousands of job losses.


Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2017





Punters fight “un-Australian” betting practices Australia’s betting culture, which changed with the entry of foreign bookmakers, is gradually returning as punters fight back against practices such as cutting big bets and closing winning accounts.


wo of Australia’s biggest states have enacted legislation swinging the pendulum back towards the customer. However, lobby groups say more needs to be done. Online forum Fair Wagering Australia is leading the charge to enact change across all of the country. When major global bookmakers William Hill, Paddy Power and Ladbrokes moved in on the Australian market, critics say the wagering giants brought a more ruthless attitude to business. Specifically, many big-spending customers complained of being “cut-off ” and having accounts canceled or their sizeable bets on racing refused – actions that now have come under the scrutiny of authorities and been targeted by new rules. Horse racing gambler and contributor to Richard Irvine said the culture changed immediately when the British and Irish bookies took-over, but the tide seems to be turning. Critics called the big bookmakers’ attitude “un-Australian.”

Fighting back “We just wanted to stand up to these bookies, coming in and taking over the industry, telling us how it should be run and turning it into a talentless, unsophisticated industry,” Irvine said. “If we didn’t act the way we did and the racing authorities in New South Wales and Victoria didn’t bring in new rules the industry would be much worse off.” As it stands so-called racefields legislation, which gives racing authorities the right to decide what fees they charge on racing, allowed Racing New South Wales and Victoria to enact laws imploring bookmakers to bet to a certain amount and stopped the practice of banning accounts. Bookmakers taking bets in those jurisdictions must adhere to minimum bet laws and it is now illegal to cancel accounts under normal circumstances. New South Wales governing body Racing NSW started the ball rolling in mid-2014 when CEO Peter V’Landys announced rules that forced bookmakers to stand to lose A$2,000 on a bet at a city meeting, and A$1,000 on provincial and country fixtures – with almost overnight results.

Fair play Racing Victoria then followed suit and brought in the same rules in late 2015. Even though the rules still have some provisions in favor of bookmakers, Irvine says


it has been an overwhelmingly positive change. “Bringing in the minimum bet laws helped a lot – it has set up more fair, dynamic markets suitable for professional gambling,” he said. But cutting or refusing bets isn’t just unfair, experts say, it is driving many customers into illegal markets, a claim backed by the Australian government’s “Review of Offshore Wagering” last year. A Hong Kong Jockey Club submission to the review estimated the amount wagered through a single operator, believed to be CITIbet, on Australian racing each year at $930 million (US$660.8 million) per year, representing 8 percent of total turnover from Australian licensed tote operators. Queensland is the next frontier for change, with new Racing Queensland CEO Eliot Forbes seemingly reluctant to follow suit, having already resisted change when in charge of the sport in Tasmania with Tasracing. Racing Minister Grace Grace has also said the state government has no intention to introduce legislation that would implement minimum bet requirements. As with many issues in Australia racing, the fractured political nature of the sport – which lacks the advantage of a single governing body and has three major totalisator operators – mean that enacting wholesale changes across the country is difficult.

Co-dependence The trouble for smaller state-based racing jurisdictions has always been reliance on sponsorship from corporate bookmakers rather than the amount delivered back to the sport via a levy on turnover or profits – so they can be reticent to “bite the hand that feeds’ and pressure the bookies. Yet some bookmakers seem to be seeing the light anyway, as operators realize that, as Irvine puts it: “the model of not betting anybody just doesn’t seem to work in Australia.” Laws aside, as Irvine suggests, the catalyst for true change across all of Australia will come from customers, as bookmakers begin to realize the value in more competitive markets. William Hill-owned brand Centrebet has been relaunched with a more aggressive “high stakes” strategy aimed at attracting high rollers, the website brandishing the gold headline on its landing page: “winners are welcome”. Punters also say Lloyd Merlehan’s TopSport also boasts a more personalized service where professional punters can get set for big wins.

T OTAL GAMBLING EXPENDITURE All gambling Y14/15 A$22.73b Sports betting $814,6m


Racing $2.81b


Total gaming (incl. pokies and lottery) $19.1b Casinos $5.17b



+17.8% (Source: Queensland Treasury)

Pacific Consortium launches Tatts counter bid A consortium of four financial investors, called the Pacific Consortium has offered up to A$7.3 billion ($5.5 billion) for the acquisition of Australian lottery operator Tatts Group, competing with a rival offer from Tabcorp. The Pacific Consortium comprises First State Superannuation Scheme, Morgan Stanley Infrastructure Inc., an affiliate of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co L.P. and Macquarie Corporate Holdings.

Fitch affirms Crown ratings after Melco sell down Crown Resorts’ credit ratings were reaffirmed by Fitch Ratings after the Australian operator announced plans to scrap a planned project to build a resort in Las Vegas and to sell down its stake in Melco Crown Entertainment. The company will receive about A$1.9 billion from the Melco sale, of which around $800 million will be used to reduce net debt; around $600 million will be paid as a special distribution to shareholders and around $500 million will be used to fund a share buyback.

Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2017



Saipan casino eyes Q1 debut despite finance delays Imperial Pacific Holdings says its resort on the Pacific Island of Saipan will open in the first quarter of this year, despite reports of funding difficulties.


he operator, which is currently working out of a temporary facility on the island, had initially planned a Chinese New Year opening, but has changed the wording to say the Imperial Pacific Resort will hold a soft opening in Q1. In a filing to the stock exchange, the operator also added that construction of the resort is going smoothly, “with over 2,000 workers working around-the-clock to ensure early completion.” The casino resort will include more than 200 gaming tables and over 350 slot machines. The 14-storey hotel building will offer more than 340 opulent hotel suites including 15 deluxe villas.

Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2017

Imperial Pacific’s Saipan operations have generated a high level of curiosity among the global casino industry, with the temporary facility reporting a monthly VIP roll greater than that of Macau. For the whole of 2016 the company reported VIP rolling chip turnover of $32.4 billion, with a monthly record high of $3.95 billion set in September. Hong Kong-listed Imperial Pacific beat out rival Mariana Stars Entertainment to win the license to operate Saipan’s only casino in 2014. Shortly after winning the permit, the group more than doubled its planned investment, pledging to spend $7 billion on resort facilities. Many analysts expressed scepticism that the island, with its limited

facilities and transport infrastructure, would be able to support an investment of that level. Although the monthly returns have been positive, it hasn’t all been plain sailing. The large amounts of cash flowing through the casino raised eyebrows, with Bloomberg reporting the company was under investigation from the U.S. Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. Imperial Pacific denied the report and defended the huge volumes. It noted a consistently strong patronage of its casino floor since 2016, with “visitor headcounts at never [being] below 300.” “As there are only 38 gaming tables in the casino and each table is able to serve 5


to 6 customers at the same time, our service capacity has saturated. Each night, around 100 customers could not be arranged with a seat and had to queue or stand to participate.” The operator has also hit a snag in raising financing for the resort, reportedly putting a bond sale on hold because investors were demanding a higher yield than the 10 to 11 percent it had been willing to pay.

Credit woes? Imperial Pacific had been seeking to raise between $200 million to $400 million, which was to play a key part in its financing for the resort. Moody’s Investor Service in late November raised red flags about a funding shortfall, warning it may see a downgrade in its credit rating as a result. “The review for downgrade reflects our concerns over Imperial Pacific’s lack of funding to complete its Grand Mariana project due to a delay in the issuance of the company’s proposed bonds,” said Kaven Tsang, Moody’s vice president and senior credit officer, at the time. “The delay in the issuance could also trigger the risks of cost overruns and a potential termination of the company’s

gaming license,” added Tsang. “The former concern will potentially result in more debt funding and the company’s debt leverage could then exceed the original budget.” As the investment is funded mainly by the proposed bonds, the delay in the bond’s issuance have meant major shareholders have been providing interim shareholder loans to keep construction going. However, Moody said it was a temporary solution and falls short of the amount to complete the project. Fitch in January also downgraded the company’s rating to CCC, from the expected rating of B(EXP), citing the financing problems and the lack of junkets, which it says make the company vulnerable to customer credit risk.

Cash flow squeeze “Fitch believes IPI is on target to meet its construction deadline, but longer-term capex funding for the casino and hotel resort is not yet in place. Construction to date has been funded via short-term borrowings and internal cash generation. Failure to secure funding for the completion of both construction phases may further pressure IPI’s liquidity,” it said.






Sept. Aug. July June May April


$1.74b $1.65b









Fired Best Sunshine employee files lawsuit A former employee at Best Sunshine International who was dismissed, has filed a suit in a U.S. federal court alleging illegal practices, including failure to follow AML procedures. Former casino manager Danny Ewing said the company had “failed to implement or enforce an adequate” anti-money laundering program, and claims that management ignored complaints and reports of violations. Ewing is demanding unspecified damages.

Korea leads Nov. tourism bounce Tourism arrivals to the Commonwealth of Northern Marianas Islands jumped 25 percent in November, led by a more than 40 percent surge in visitors from South Korea. Arrivals from Japan increased 6 percent to 4,697 visitors, while China numbers were up just 3 percent in the month. Total arrivals in the nine months through to end-Sept. Rose 4.5 percent to 501,179.

Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2017





Fantasy sports grow in cricket crazy India When India played its old foe Pakistan in a World Cup cricket game in 2015, a staggering 1 billion people were estimated to have tuned in to watch, while the average viewership for its national side in a big game is about 400 million.

Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2017


he figures clearly illustrate the potential of the fantasy cricket market in India, while a recent regulatory breakthrough may have set a legal precedent giving a further boost to the market. In December, the state of Nagaland issued its first licenses for online games of skill under the Nagaland Prohibition of Gambling and Promotion and Regulation of Online Games of Skill Act 2016. Although these licenses were related to online poker companies, it helps establish the legality of games of skill. Under Indian law, games of chance are illegal, apart from in the states of Goa, Sikkim and Daman, while a 2006 Supreme Court ruling stated games in which skill is the dominant factor in determining the outcome were legal. That included fantasy sports. However, Nagaland was the first to actually issue licenses. “The Act provides much needed clarity on the legalisation and regulation of poker and other skill based games in India. The efforts of the Nagaland government must be truly appreciated and applauded,” said Mithun Rebello, director of Quantumskill Gaming and Tech Pvt. Ltd. said after receiving an online poker license. In terms of fantasy cricket, about a dozen websites are currently operational in the country, offering the Freemium model, under which a player can win money by registering as a paid user. Those who do not wish to pay to join can still play but cannot win money. Although the current size of the market is small, it is estimated to be growing in double digits, helped by increasing internet usage. Gaming expert Jay Sayta, founder of glaws. com, says the market for fantasy cricket is currently around $15 million to $20 million, so a relatively small part of the more than $100 million skill-based market overall. However he says growth is “rapid.” The number of Internet users in India is expected to touch 500 million 2017, with as many as 400 million users accessing the Internet through their mobile phones. is the current leader in the field, and according to its web site boasts 4 million users in both India and the U.S. The company was founded in 2012 by entrepreneurs Harsh Jain and Bhavit Sheth. Oye Capitain, which launched last year, also says it has seen strong growth. A spokesman for Oye Capitain, which is owned by Mirsch Entertainment Pvt. Ltd, which also operates the Thrill Poker website, said it has more than 50,000 registered users


and is also adding football to its offering. “We have been lucky in formalizing long-term arrangements with the country’s newest and largest sports media companies,” the spokesman said, adding the company has been successful in hitting its quarterly customer acquisition targets. Advertising wise, it definitely is a pain as there are many restrictions and getting people used to such a unique model itself is a challenge but we have learned to work our way around that. We have had very fruitful

The Act provides much needed clarity on the legalisation and regulation of poker and other skill based games in India. The efforts of the Nagaland government must be truly appreciated and applauded

discussions with every media outlet we have approached online and offline for advertising the same,” “We have always had a firm stand that fantasy cricket is a game of skill. Advertising wise, it definitely is a pain as there are many restrictions and getting people used to such a unique model itself is a challenge but we have learned to work our way around that. We have had very fruitful discussions with every media outlet we have approached online and offline for advertising the same,” said the Oye Captain spokesperson. Sydney-based Monsterball is another new entrant to the market. Ten weeks after launching in June last year, the site had already surpassed the number of registered players in its home market of Australia. Under the Foreign Direct Investment Policy of India issued by the Ministry of Commerce & Industry, Government of India, Foreign Direct Investment is prohibited in companies involved in lottery, online lotteries and gambling. However, this ruling was thought to apply primarily to games of chance and should not extend to the skill-games sector. “Playing fantasy cricket tests our knowledge

GGR ESTIMATES Y21E $10.1b Maharashtra Y21E $1.1b (Source: Global Market Advisors based on estimates for a legal casino industry)

GST to erode Kerala’s lottery revenue Kerala’s Finance Minister T. M. Thomas Isaac says the new Goods and Services Tax (GST) will lead to a “serious erosion” of the state’s lottery revenues - currently worth around Rs. 4,000 crore per year ($592.9 million), local media reports. He says once lotteries come under GST, it would force the state to allow the operation of lotteries from other states, which had been banned.

Goa redrafts casino rules along Macau lines The home department has reportedly redrafted some of Goa’s casino laws similar to those in Macau, after it found that many gambling terms, such as area, electronic gaming, live gaming and offshore casino, were not clearly defined in the act. The redrafted rules also state that the home department will give power to the state government to appoint a gaming commissioner, who could be a private person or a government officer.

of the game. It involves some skill and some luck,” one player, who declined to be named told AGB. He said he had won about $350 over the past year, with the money transferred efficiently into his account within seven days.

Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2017


ICE 2017

Biggest on record One of the world’s largest business-to-business gaming technology events - ICE Totally Gaming, will be its biggest yet in 2017


he world renowned exhibition will be held at the ExCel Centre in London on February 7-9, 2017, once again bringing some of the world’s top gaming operators and their suppliers. Over 28,487 attendees from 150 nations representing the casino, betting, bingo, lottery, mobile, online, street, sports and social gaming sectors came to the show in 2016, and organizers say this year’s show will be even more well attended. Kate Chambers, managing director of Clarion’s Gaming Division and the person responsible for the development of ICE, said: “The growth of ICE is the result of two trends. Firstly, a number of our existing customers have been keen to expand their stand presence and secondly we have a total of 91 exhibitors from 34 nations who will be making their first appearance with us in February. It’s a nice, balanced combination of established, well known gaming innovators alongside some new faces and gaming industry start-ups. Our challenge is to provide a professional business environment in which all of our exhibitors, of all sizes, can flourish.” This year ICE is introducing its rebranded conference series, renamed ICE VOX, which includes eight paid-for learning modules including: The International Casino Conference; World Regulatory Briefing; Cross-Platform & Multi-Channel Gaming; Modernising Lotteries; Data Science & Personalisation; BetMarkets; Cybercrime Security and Regulatory Compliance in Gaming, and Game Design and Development. ICE will also be welcoming the return of the popular Operator Challenge and Game To Watch Competition, and introducing ICE VOX Prophets this year, providing exciting opportunities for thought leaders to share their ideas on the future of gaming.

Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2017

Supplier Challenge Back for the third year, a panel of operators will discuss the top 5 iGaming challenges and 5 selected suppliers will each have 5 minutes to present their solutions to those challenges. ICE VOX Prophets As part of the ICE VOX 2017 BetMarkets programme, organizers have introduced a brand new competition. What will the future of bet markets look like? Five ICE VOX Prophets will be selected to make their predictions for the future of the gaming industry in just 5 minutes. Organizers will then invite the audience to give their opinion and then they will vote on which predictions they believe most likely to come true. Game to Watch Competition The annual Game to Watch Competition is back. Entries are open to indie game developers from around the globe. Accompanied by Happy Hour Drinks, the competition will take place right on the exhibition floor with the winner announced live at the show. Other noteworthy events at ICE this year includes ‘Pitch ICE’, managed by GamCrowd, a segment which allows attendees to listen to some of the most innovative ideas the start-up market has to offer, as well as World Regulatory Assembly: a series of events including the WrB Conference, the WrA Cocktail Reception, the International Legislators’ Day, Regulators’ Lunch and seminars - all designed to deliver high level networking and information exchange.


Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2017



Live dealer

Tie chips


bbiati Casino Equipment will feature a number of brand new design tables, progressive-system-ready tables, shuffle machines, chip-sorting machines and much more at ICE this year. As a result of continuous research of new materials and technologies, Abbiati Casino Equipment will introduce to show visitors a wide range of brand new security features to be added to their security casino currency products, such as chips, plaques and jetons, making them safer against counterfeiting and satisfying even the most demanding clients. Visitors will also be able to see Abbiati’s line of patented “Tie” chips, featuring multiple injections, see-thru inserts and a combination of intricate and innovative rim and edge inserts, as well as the brand new “il Gettone”, a chip that marries the portability, durability and versatility in terms of theming of the best American-style casino chips, with the technological sophistication found in higher face value casino plaques. As an exclusive worldwide distributor of Modiano, Abbiati will present to show visitors a complete range of 100 percent plastic and paper plastic coated playing cards, including

new high security features in card series, for example tracking mechanisms and cards with barcodes, dedicated specifically to online live gaming. Among all other products, Abbiati will be showing their GLI-25 certified American Roulette Laser Wheels, which incorporate an upgraded patented invisible laser technology (Class 1A). Following big interest from clients, Abbiati will exhibit its new generation independent Levelling System. This innovative system verifies continuously the roulette’s perfect balance, detecting all unexpected variations due to any possible movements of the wheel. The ICE show is a great platform to demonstrate how Abbiati products have continued to improve during the years, using new innovative materials, designs and applied technologies. “Presenting our line of products to visitors, we want to demonstrate yet again our flexibility and ability to manufacture exclusive, high-end, customized equipment,” said Giovanni Abbiati, founder and President of the Italian company. All of these and many more products can be seen at Abbiati’s stand S6-230.


Challenging the status quo


etConstruct will continue to challenge the status quo this year, with products and solutions that will cement its place as one of the most forward-looking companies around. The past twelve months turned out to be an incredible roller coaster of events, with product releases and many learning opportunities. On the product side only, BetConstruct has hugely increased the casino offering, kicked-off VR and AR development, launched the release of the Player Management System of the Spring platform as an open-source project on GitHub, and has thrown down the gauntlet on Live Scouting Data and other Data Services. At ICE this year, BetConstruct will be demonstrating its entire product line including the latest version of its Sportsbook and Data Feed Services. For companies wishing to enter the online betting and gaming market quickly and at a low initial price point, BetConstruct offers a comprehensive white label offering. This offer not only includes access to Sportsbook

Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2017

and other product verticals, but also the option to be licensed in a number of jurisdictions. Additionally all partners are provided access to a comprehensive services offering provided free to all partner operators. These award-winning services include account management, player support for the players of our partners, book making and risk management and are available on a 24/7 basis. There are many things that the BetConstruct team wants to accomplish and start on in 2017. The technology provider is driven not only by a promise of an external reward, but also by the belief that what the team do is something worth doing in its own right. Find BetConstruct at stand S1-350.


sia Gaming will be hosting a live Baccarat tournament at its stand this year to preview its international expansion plans and demonstrate the potential of its live dealer model. A provider of online gaming in the Asia-Pacific region, Asia Gaming has confirmed its biggest ever presence at the show in London, as part of a big year forecast for Live Casino in 2017. Live Casino, which combines the thrill of the gaming floor with the convenience of online play, is popular among millennials who, having grown up with video games and graphics, see live dealer play as a novelty. Kelvin Chiu, sales director at Asia Gaming, commented: “Live dealer online gaming is already a proven casino channel in the Asia-Pacific region and it’s now set to become the next big thing in Europe and other international markets. We see ICE as Europe’s premier international gaming show, providing the perfect platform to show the variety of live dealer games and white label solutions we can offer. “Live dealer works because for many players gambling is a social pastime. They want to interact with the dealer and feel they are part of the game, while also having the ability to play, hold and even change games with a single click. It’s a more interactive environment, with all the advantages of online play, and it’s set to become increasingly mainstream as social media video platforms, such as Facebook Live, continue to grow in popularity.” Chiu concluded: “This year, we’re forecasting on greater choice for live casino fans, along with enhanced social integration and more multi-platform play. This will help to introduce the concept to new markets and audiences, and we see massive potential in Europe for a high quality live dealer platform, both under our own brand and as a supplier to other online gaming companies.” Asia Gaming’s live dealer can be found at stand N1-550.


Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2017





Gaming intelligence dvantech-Innocore will showcase “gaming Intelligence” at the upcoming ICE show, promoting four new gaming platform products, as well as LCD monitors, curved LCD monitors and solutions for digital signage and player tracking applications. “This theme aptly encompasses our products, our knowledge of the industry and our added value hardware and software solutions,” commented Craig Stapleton Advantech’s product director. “Our range of software solutions add further intelligence with functions such as media validation, SAS networking, security and diagnostics. Finally for customers requiring customdesigned products we can add intelligence in the form of custom FPGA and additional micro-controllers with custom firmware for sophisticated security, control and supervisory functions,” added Stapleton. Advantech-Innocore will be also showcasing a selection of products from its other product divisions including embedded PC platforms featuring the latest AMD, Intel, chipsets, and other embedded computing products: Industrial motherboards and modules in a variety of formats including Mini-ITX, COM Express and MicroATX. Advantech’s growing line of industrial LCD monitor products from its IDS (Industrial Display Systems) product line will also be shown. With screen sizes available from 7 inches up to 55 inches and beyond, the IDS range includes the latest technology products for high visibility, touch screen, sunlight view ability and ruggedization and curved screen models too. New products highlighted this year include four new gaming platforms & high performance graphics cards, including the exciting new DPX-E135 and DPX-E250 in the E Series range, the DPX-S440 and DPX-S2440 in the S Series range. Advantech can be found at stand N1-238 at the show.

Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2017

Continuing momentum insworth Game Technology will showcase several innovative new cabinets at the ICE this year. Ainsworth recently introduced its new A600 cabinet line, incorporating the company’s deep and long-standing knowledge into an exciting new product for its casino partners. At ICE, a new line of link progressives and multi-game packages will be shown on the A600 and A600 Slant Top that complement the wide variety of products developed for the region. “We believe the A600 can be a game changer,” said Ainsworth president - North America, Mike Dreitzer. “The early feedback from customers has been tremendous and the new game content can truly take Ainsworth to the next level. Our game library has grown and with upgraded hardware capabilities we can offer customers entirely new possibilities for their casino floors.” Taking centre stage will be Ainsworth’s stunning A640 cabinet. The A640 will be displayed with Rumble Rumble Bear, Fortune Rhino plus a range of licensed content including King Kong City, King Kong Skull Island and Three Amigos Ride Again. The stunning A640 features optimal viewing on a 40-inch high-definition

LCD game screen and an attractive design creating powerful game experiences with eye-catching game art. The cabinet comes standard with a touchscreen LCD button deck with a mechanical “bash button” to combine the ease of new technology with the excitement of traditional slot play. Plus, an optional 27-inch LCD topper will attract players across busy casino floors. Throughout FY17 Ainsworth will be focused on continuing to build a stronger, more diversified and profitable global gaming and technology group. “All across the world for Ainsworth, you’re going to see tremendous steps forward with game content and the game library, and that’s going to be really displayed at ICE.” “We feel we have the momentum,” said Danny Gladstone, Ainsworth CEO, “and this show is a great place for us to showcase and continue that.” Be sure to visit stand S5-140 at the show.


Flexibility and innovation A world leader in egambling regulation, Alderney has been at the forefront of the industry since 2000, carving out a solid and innovative regulatory regime replicated the world over. Providing globally recognized and respected licensing for all types of egambling activity, Alderney’s unique regulatory framework provides unparalleled support for the business requirements of the licensee - enabling and encouraging growth. The Island of Alderney forms part of the Bailiwick of Guernsey and, as a result enjoys a unique relationship with Guernsey, allowing licensees to take advantage of the larger island’s offering. Guernsey is neither part of the EU or the EEA. It is a thriving international business centre and offers a stable political environment and a transparent, low tax system with no corporate tax, gaming duty or VAT.

At ICE Totally Gaming 2017, Alderney egambling, along with partner companies who make up Team Alderney, will be on hand to answer any questions about licensing with the jurisdiction. Alderney eGambling can be found at stand N7-435.


Solutions for the modern casino


lfastreet is preparing interesting novelties for the upcoming ICE 2017 show to complement a completely redesigned booth. There will be an attractive video wall solution to display the company’s complete interior solutions for a modern casino venue, an inventive spinoff of the popular Royal Derby platform; a special; limited edition R8 Roulette cabinet; a definitive version of a brand new Lucky 8 Roulette cabinet, accompanied by redesigned WIKY single terminals with various display dimensions, as well as a prototype of a fully automated live Roulette table and plenty more. Additional focus will be on the Alfastreet Remote solution, that allows gaming venues to easily expand gaming places for their clients, both inside and outside of the premises. The compact roulette cabinets will also be represented on the stand, paired with several live game options. The company’s multigame slot cabinets will be available to all visitors to try and test.

Alfastreet’s roulette range remains the strongest selling product, followed closely by the unique horse-racing machine, the Royal Derby. “The advantage that Alfastreet has over the majority of the competition is the extreme adaptability to client’s wishes and the capability to provide complete solutions with own products as can be seen in several casinos worldwide,” said the company in a press release. The company is preparing a memorable 2017 appearance for the ICE show and extends a warm welcome to the visitors. Alfastreet can be found at stand S6-130.


Record number of innovations


isitors can look forward to seeing a host of new and high-end innovations incorporating the latest Apex Technology at ICE this year. The EVO3 platform offers new high-definition games such as Eye of the Dragon and Reel Attraction that are displayed in pin-sharp graphics and individual game design. All these new innovations will be displayed alongside the top-of-the-range Apex Vip Lounge, representing the exquisite slot machine from the Pinnacle family. The size and position of the curved monitor has been purposely chosen so as to capture the player’s complete attention. This 43” curved screen portrays the great array of EVO games – both feature-rich and fruit-based. It also includes all the technology required for a perfect gaming experience, including a 24” touchscreen monitor. The meticulously designed and elegant chair rounds off the VIP Premium

offering from Apex gaming. Naturally the award-winning iDROPe and iDROP will be on proud display. 2016 has been a special year for this product with it being integrated in casinos around the world and winning two special awards in the USA and most recently in Bulgaria. This cash-handling device is built directly into the live gaming table and enables croupiers to accept cash, tickets and cards directly in exchange for jetons. The very latest Apex Player Station (APS) will also be on display. This automated roulette station can be acquired with either separate terminals or as a complete solution with the terminals in-built alongside large-screen display monitors. Furthermore, the APS can be connected to a total of four roulette wheels – both live and electronic. Apex gaming can be found at stand S4-250.


Multi-game portfolio


his year’s ICE will see Amatic Industries introduce even more new games to complement its multi-game portfolio. The company will show off new games such as Queen of the Jungle; Enchanted Cleopatra; Fabulous Poseidon; All Ways Win and Fruit Express. The Performer Grand Arc is the curved Slant Top – available with either two or three monitors. The three-monitor PGA accentuates the curved design even more and enables a jackpot system to be perfectly displayed on the uppermost monitor. The latest cabinet design from Amatic Industries is the upright Amarox C24. The wide-screen 24” monitors, optimal sound and flashy LED lighting make this gaming machine the perfect eye-catcher. Furthermore, Amatic Industries will be showing the V24 gaming machine, originally designed for the Spanish

market. The success of this cabinet opens up the path for international commercialization. Turning to electronic roulette, Amatic Industries will be presenting its latest solution for the first time at ICE – namely the Roulette Grand JEU 24HX. The Roulette Grand Jeu 24HX is the complete all-in-one electronic roulette that offers integrated player positions around the fully automatic roulette wheel – with the 8-seater version the most far-reaching. All the land-based gaming solutions from Amatic Industries can be linked with the popular jackpot GO FOR GOLD that was premiered at the previous ICE. Another bonus, alongside the varied jackpot systems, land-based operators can source their entire system needs from Amatic Industries – with the Casino Online System (COS). All the Amatic solutions can then be optimally linked together. Amatic Industries can be found as ever at stand S3-350.

Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2017


Passion for gaming


ristocrat Technologies will show an intense passion for gaming at ICE 2017 as it unveils key highlights of its new slot game portfolio for the EMEA region this year. “A strong portfolio combining exciting content, segmented product lines and popular licensed themes have been the key business driver over the last 12 months,” explained James Boje, MD – EMEA. Arc Double titles Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead 2, Britney Spears and Buffalo Grand have also started to establish a firm foothold in a number of European markets and South Africa, with more approvals coming on stream and two more popular themes being added to the portfolio in Elvira – Mistress of the Dark and The Big Bang Theory Jackpot Multiverse. At ICE 2017, Aristocrat will also expand its range of licensed formats with Zorro and Sharknado being released on the Arc Single platform, both packed with a broad variety of features and proven mechanics for extended entertainment value. Fast Cash, Aristocrat’s first combined MSP/SSP for the EMEA region, is a new linked multi game that delivers the fun of any jackpot,




ruze Gaming will be presenting the Cube-X Vertical platform at this year’s ICE Totally Gaming Show. The Cube-X Vertical Tower Stack series has some very innovative play mechanics that allow the player to not only choose up to 3 play areas adding up to 150 lines, but also gives them the option to actually move the areas around. The Tower Stack series on the Vertical 80 cabinet allows for 4 progressive levels. Playing the “Plus Factor” ante bet adds exciting features like wild symbols on reel 5 and an extra selectable play area. Also featured at this year’s ICE will be Aruze Gaming’s highly anticipated linked progressive, Cash Locomotive, a 5 reel 3 row video game series presented on the Cube-X cabinet. Cash Locomotive features 2 progressive levels and 2 fixed bonuses with the option to be linked or stand alone and is currently available in four game titles. One of the bright stars in Aruze’s lineup is the highly successful Cube-X Ultimate cabinet which combines Aruze’s radiant reels technology with a mechanical bonus wheel. Cube-X Ultimate is available in both 3 reel and 5 reel stepper games in the wildly popular 999.9 GOLD WHEEL series. Find Aruze at S3-205. Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2017

any bet, any time. Jackpot-loving players will appreciate the opportunity to win a lower jackpot on every spin in the base game and free games, as well as the chance to hit a larger, higher frequency wide area progressive jackpot award. Mr Boje concluded, “Rich content and features from the most popular Aristocrat games underpin the new portfolio in both licensed and sale categories. Customers already know what’s working on their floors and we will outline how our globally based game studios are taking the very best elements and pushing the envelope with the next generation.” Aristocrat can be found at stand S3-250.


First global steps


sia Live Tech is an iGaming Solutions provider and product developer, located in Asia and operating since 2011. With the start of 2017, Asia Live Tech will be taking its first steps in the global market, with a focus on Europe. A move based on five years of success. Starting as an igaming operations management company, Asia Live Tech faced a competitive market where all websites and games looked the same, provided to all by the lead developers in the industry. Facing the need to diversify their approach and provide unique games that would really bring a breath of fresh air for their clients, they decided, in a leap of faith, to create their own products and solutions. Now offering a diversified catalogue such as White Label solutions for online casinos or products including live dealers games or slots, they are one of the main players in the Asian market, making their experience invaluable for everyone wishing to target this continent. Asia Live Tech employs more than 20 people dispatched in several departments: online marketing;

design; development; support and others, all of them dedicated to the company’s main mission: treat every customer with care and honesty, as if they were your own family. As igaming is a sensitive industry under scrutiny by numerous governments and organizations, Asia Live Tech understood the necessity to have honesty as a core value, in order to create trust and lasting partnerships with eager entrepreneurs and seasoned clients. This strategy paid off, as Asia Live Tech, beyond what has been explained above, now manages 5 online casinos and 2 land casinos, with many plans for the future. However, while they are making strides overseas, its Asian clientele remains strong. With new clients coming from India, Indonesia, the Philippines or Japan, Asia Live Tech remains a truly Asian company. Asia Live Tech is also spearheading investments in Myanmar, Vietnam, Cambodia and other Asian countries, showing their will to diversify and grow, and highlighting their values and standards. Find out more about Asia Live Tech at stand N1-240 at the show.



SCR Advance note recycler

Talk about you


MM Testlabs heads into its 35th year in business in 2017, and is pleased to be exhibiting, once again, at ICE Totally Gaming in London. Kirk White, EVP and general manager BMM International stated, “BMM is focusing the direction to our customers at ICE this year. We want to talk about what matters to them and how we can help them to reach, and exceed, their business goals.” White added, “BMM has seen significant development in Europe over the last year and we have built an incredibly strong team in the region. To meet demand, we have welcomed Jakub Stefka to our business development team in Barcelona, Spain and employ some of the most experienced gaming experts in the industry. BMM’s customer service and attention to detail are second to none.” White continued; “Our Security department, also based in Barcelona, has seen major expansion over the last year as it assists clients in the online world to understand and eliminate potential security risk. BMM continues to be at the forefront

of technical innovations in testing, as we streamline regional and international product transfers for our customers. We are also fully engaged with new markets and legislation changes in all European countries.” Marzia Turrini, SVP Southern Europe & South America commented, “BMM will be represented from many of our global locations at this year’s ICE show with staff attending from Italy, Austria, Spain, South Africa, Australia and the US. We encourage all ICE attendees to meet with BMM for advice and assistance on compliance, certification, testing and training services for both land-based and online gaming. We look forward to sharing our expertise and knowledge at ICE 2017.” BMM’s global coverage and clientfocused approach are providing the highest quality testing and certification services in the gaming industry today. Just the best gaming testlab in the world. To find out more please visit BMM Testlabs at stand N3-420.


Largest sports jackpots


olossus Bets returns to ICE 2017 with a partner network that has more than tripled since last year’s event to now include 30 operators and 7 platform partners, and plenty of innovation news to share. Bernard Marantelli, the firm’s CEO and founder comments: “We set out to be ‘Colossus’ and we took our namesakes seriously. It is well understood that size matters in sports pools and we are the only provider that offers guarantees at a level that competes with lotteries worldwide and are eager to take on the full risk. As a result, we are putting forward a truly global, risk-free proposition for our partners. As for technological horsepower, our unique, patented cash out and partial cash out has been ‘making waves’ in sports pools and beyond. Our performance this past year amounts to going live with a new partner every 2 weeks, which casually sets a new benchmark for the entire gaming industry.” Recent product launches from the firm include a customisable ‘free bet’ marketing interface into ‘real money’ Colossus pools,

branded as the FreePlay+, as well as a ‘syndicates’ extension of the core product that allows users to crowdfund tickets into Colossus pools. The firm has also expanded an earlier pilot of cash out on racing pools into a fully-fledged product. Marantelli added: “While achieving a stellar year from a business development standpoint, we’ve also managed to evolve our core product and make significant additions to our portfolio, most notably with FreePlay+, Colossus Syndicates and cash out on racing pools. We look forward to sharing these developments at our stand.” Colossus Bets will be at stand S1-312.


rane Payment Innovations (CPI), a Crane Co. Company, will be showcasing the most comprehensive portfolio of automated payment systems in the industry. Among the products on display will be the new SCR Advance note recycler and the EASITRAX Web cash management solution. SCR Advance is an evolution from the original two-denomination SCR note recycler. In addition to offering the same exceptional acceptance and security as the legacy unit, SCR Advance has incorporated new technology to deliver the lowest jam rate in the industry. In addition to its exceptionally low jam rate, SCR Advance’s architecture includes a removable anti-stringing module as well as a specialized inventory management system that accurately tracks the number of notes going into and out of the machine; it provides complete note accountability even in a powered down state; and personnel can access system components, when needed for maintenance, without also gaining access to secured notes, which remain safely locked away. Also on the CPI booth will be EASITRAX Web, CPI’s cash management solution for casino environments that is now installed in more than 200,000 games worldwide. EASITRAX Web works by gathering information from multiple SC note acceptors into a remote database, where it can be easily converted into customizable reports from anywhere in the world with secure intranet access. This data can be used to streamline the drop process, facilitate asset evaluations and conduct preventative maintenance programs. And because cashboxes no longer need to be tied to specific machines, operators can save 20-30 seconds per cashbox on every drop – routinely resulting in a return on investment in less than one year. Now, CPI has released a new Maintenance Alerts feature for EASITRAX Web that allows operators to set performance thresholds and receive automated notifications based upon these critical metrics. This will help operators save time and interpret data so problems can be identified and prevented before they even occur. For more, visit CPI at stand N3-320. Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2017


Ingenious slots


CE 2017 will play host to Booming Games’ their biggest presence yet, with new titles, cutting edge features, and hints of what to expect in the near future. The company will be bringing a lineup consisting of recently released and celebrated titles including Santa’s Kiss, Monster Munchies, Harvest Fest and Booming Seven Deluxe. The first sequel from Booming Games, Booming Seven Deluxe, builds on the popularity of the original. Booming Seven was received with notable praise when released back in 2015, acquiring a substantial fan base. No surprise then, that

Booming Games chose it as the basis for their very first supercharged follow-up. Since its recent release, Booming Seven Deluxe has gone on to greatly surpass the success of its predecessor and generate innumerable new Booming Games followers. Since opening their Asian facing arm (the first of its kind) in early 2016, Booming Games Asia has brought their ingenious slots to the Asian market. These are designed and created in-house by recently partnered experts who have accumulated years of experience in the business. Using their profound understanding of the regional differentiations in preference they have established an impressive presence in the region and brought hugely successful

titles to the market. Harvest Fest is just one such release; rooted in the mythology of Mid-Autumn Festival it entrusts Chang’e the moon goddess and her sidekick the jade rabbit to assist players in their search for oriental riches.Having garnered significant acclaim, their specialists are currently working on developing new bonus handling mechanics, progressive jackpot capabilities and more. \ Looking to pioneer new advancements in the ability of mobile usability in 2017, that will, among other things, finally see the introduction of portrait orientated game boards and UIs to facilitate optimized mobile playability. Booming Games can be found at Stand N3-336.


Innovative, secure solutions


or more than 60 years, operators have relied on JCM Global to provide innovative, secure solutions to protect them from counterfeiters and manage cash in the back office. This year at ICE, JCM will present its broad portfolio of award-winning solutions for casinos, AWP operations, the bet terminal market, as well as for back office/cashier areas. JCM’s line of bill validation solutions begins with the awardwinning iVIZION, one of the most widely INTERBLOCK

ETG innovation


nterblock is raising the bar this year with a diverse, industry-leading profile of new products, side bets, features and functionalities. Interblock Global CEO John Connelly said, “Our objective at ICE this year will be to show our commitment to our customers by showcasing our most demanded products for the market; by introducing our newest products and features; and by sharing our data-driven information illustrating that ETGs should no longer be directly compared with the slot business.” At this year’s exhibition, Interblock will showcase its wide range of automated, video, and dealer assist advanced multi-player ETGs methodologically enhanced based on customer and player feedback, including the Big Six wheel, StarBar, Stadium, MiniStar Roulette, TRIO, PULSE ARENA, Dual Roulette and more. The MiniStar Roulette features super-comfortable techno-gel armrests, optional progressive jackpot systems, and fast result detection. Interblock’s Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2017

used bill validators in the gaming industry. iVIZION outpowers the competition with its CIS technology that sees and captures a full note, or ticket, and is the foundation for intelligent validation, meaning it is a secure-ROI purchase. Other validation solutions include UBA, iPRO-RC, Vega, Vega-RC and Vega-RC Twin, EBA, TBV, Fujitsu F53/56, and the recently released RDM. JCM printing solutions include the new and technologically advanced GEN5 thermal printer, the CouponXpress coupon

solution and the Nippon printer. JCM system solutions include Ticket2Go, an after-market TITO solution for AWP operators and the new FUZION, which when combined with iVIZION, GEN5 and the casino’s existing CMS, opens a host of new revenue potential. JCM’s commitment to innovative solutions for the gaming industry mean operators can go beyond transactions to making real customer connections. Experience the innovation on ICE stand N3-220.

Big Six wheel will feature its enhanced audio and visual effects launched at G2E Las Vegas 2016. This wheel is not only the largest wheel in the industry, but is also the industry’s only double-sided wheel, providing the flexibility to add play stations on one or both sides. StarBar is another game-changing product that will demonstrate its ability to connect to generators placed in remote areas of the booth. This innovative play station is playable directly from the bar’s counter and allows guests to play up to four games simultaneously, including popular video poker games and traditional table games such as Roulette, Blackjack, Baccarat, Craps, Sic Bo and more. Interblock’s Diamond Stadium allow operators to maximize their floor space by adding dealer assist, automated or video generators, and even incremental play stations based on their growing needs. The PULSE ARENA offers players the opportunity to play all of their favorite casino games from the comfort of a single play station with a live dealer, automated games, or in video format. The TRIO ETG island is made up of three

5-seater automated and/or video ETG products designed to transform any footprint, large or small, by combining and connecting popular games into one unit. At the show, the game will be configured with Blackjack, Roulette, and Craps and will offer two new progressives. Finally, Interblock’s newest automated Diamond Dual Roulette will showcase its simultaneous multi-play and multi-game functionality and 27” graphic user interfaces. This product allows players to play two Roulette games on the same screen, at the same time. The game is composed of two different colored Roulette generators that work in concert, allowing for no interruption in betting. Interblock’s ETGs advance the technology of multi-player electronic table gaming devices. See the company’s latest products at stand S4-210.


New features


veryMatrix has expanded greatly since our entrance to the market eight years ago, and this past year alone we have reached new milestones in terms of growing our Sports, Casino and Payment offering to the benefit of our clients. Today, our products work independently and can be easily integrated with existing platforms, and accommodate different types of clients from bookmakers to lotteries, from existing large operations to new comers. We are once again happy to exhibit at the biggest and most exciting event in iGaming. With many new features and applications launching, we are decided to make this ICE the most exciting event of the year. Get introduced to MoneyMatrix: Launching at this ICE edition, MoneyMatrix is our new Level 1 PCI DSS, Payment and Risk Management Processing Platform. Offering over 100 international card and alternative payment solutions, MoneyMatrix provides access to Risk Management and KYC services through a single integration. Experiment the new sports widgets and more Live Events from OddsMatrix: With 25,000 live events over 50+ sports, our fully-managed, plug & play, API driven sportsbook solution is a fit for operators of all sizes. Take the tour of the new version of CasinoEngine: The new version gives operators 4,000 games from more than 50 vendors, and more possibilities and tools. Master your games, manage your lobbies, give incentives to players across all vendors and personalize your website through the Game Recommendation Engine. Meet our friendly team and discover our full-stack of flexible products in a relaxed atmosphere at stand N6-310.


Complete gaming solutions unfolded


ovomatic will feature a complete range of cutting-edge gaming solutions. A combination of revolutionary cabinet innovations and leading omni-channel content presented by 22 global subsidiaries and competence centers will be on display at the show this year. The Novomatic stand, abounding with innovation, will be located in the centre of the show floor and will be split into five distinct sections to profile a complete picture of gaming solutions. Upon entering the stand, visitors will first see the latest lottery and sports betting developments demonstrated by Novomatic Lottery Solutions (NLS) and Novomatic Sports Betting Solutions (NSLS), respectively. Next is the Novomatic Interactive division with a full range of omnichannel solutions from subsidiaries including Greentube, StakeLogic, Eurocoin Interactive, AbZorba Games, Mazooma and Extreme Live Gaming. NOVOSTAR V.I.P. Royal cabinets

will also be featured, bringing a selection of bold new content designed for its huge 65” upright curve screen. Visitors will also find themselves at the heart of the company offering with the latest casino and systems innovations from Novomatic Gaming Industries (NGI) and Octavian. Moving around, the stand opens into the Novomatic UK Group and its various subsidiaries with leading products for the casino, arcade and pub markets. An extensive range of international AWP and VLT products, as well as cash management solutions, will be on show at the end of the stand, by European subsidiaries including LÖWEN Entertainment, Crown Technologies, Novomatic Italia, Novomatic Gaming Spain and Novomatic Netherlands. The latest Ainsworth cabinets and games will also be on show for the first time on the Novomatic stand at ICE. Attendees can find the Novomatic stand at S5-110, S5-130, S5-140, and S5-150.


Gaming and lottery experiences Scientific Games will showcase the industry’s broadest international product portfolio designed to empower customers at ICE Totally Gaming. Scientific Games chief executive officer and president Kevin Sheehan said, “ICE provides us with an unparalleled opportunity to present our newest innovations and transformative technologies for the international market, and is an important opportunity to connect with customers and demonstrate our groundbreaking solutions to drive player engagement, enhance our customers’ operating efficiencies, and accelerate their revenue growth.” Key products on display in Scientific Games’ ICE exhibit include the TwinStar dual-screen cabinet - a stunning single platform for Bally and WMS games. Incorporating the next-generation ArgOS operating system, TwinStar features highspeed processing and video capabilities, along with a larger iDeck multi-touch button deck; two 24-inch HD displays; a 22-inch full HD digital topper; premium sound; and game-synchronized edge lighting. Featured game content includes Lock It Link near-area progressive titles Lock It Link Diamonds and Lock It Link Night Life. Also on display with be the Dualos platform, a dual 58.4-centimeter (23-inch) HD screen cabinet with

superior sound, OLED digital buttons, integrated ambient lighting, and a 47-centimeter (18.5-inch) digital topper supporting game content from Bally, Shuffle Master and WMS. Taking center stage in electronic table systems innovation, Scientific Games will showcase the PRIZM Game Table, an industry-first in slot cabinet design and winner of “Best Table Game Product” at G2E 2016. ShuffleStar, a groundbreaking, low-profile front-loading shuffler will also be on display. The company will also feature i-Table Blackjack with the new back-betting feature as well as the popular i-Table Roulette. EZ Baccarat, the world’s leading baccarat brand will be showcased, eliminating the commission after every bank winning hand – without modifying any of the existing drawing rules of the standard game. In regards to lottery, Scientific Games brings exciting sports-betting action to ICE with SG Sports, an enhanced multi-channel solution for online, self-service and retail fixed odds sports betting. ICE attendees will also be able to experience the award-winning PlayCentral HD, an engaging, interactive retail self-service experience for purchasing lottery instant, draw and keno games. Scientific Games can be found at stand N1–440. Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2017



Latest trends in slots

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ndorphina is an online slot provider company known for its innovative approach to games and premiering new attractive game themes on the market. Their well curated portfolio of slots in Flash and HTML5 will have a new addition just in time for ICE 2017. Endorphina will surprise players with a first ever slot featuring the world´s trend of vaping. Being launched on a special landing page, the game will have an option for demo playing but also a possibility to win some cool vape-themed prizes from the proud sponsor The DIAMOND VAPOR slot is meant to continue in the success of the Twerk slot presented at ICE last year. The game will complement the collection of innovative games like EiG2016, the first ever slot made to support an igaming event and Chūnjié. The Chūnjié game was added to Endorphina´s rich portfolio for the Chinese New Year and celebrates the colorful world of China with their traditions and symbolism. Play the DIAMOND VAPOR slot online at and win some cool prizes collectable at Endorphina´s stand, at N6-230.

olden Race will be showcasing its completely new online platform and the direct to mobile experience at ICE 2017, along with the entire range of proven, profitable, and popular solutions for retail and online operators around the world. Golden Race´s online platform is entirely unique in the industry. Built from the ground up to be the only real, complete sportsbook with virtual results, it contains all the features that players love from real sports betting, including combination bets, bonuses, and multi-event betting across different sports. A complete, fully functional, fully manageable solution, including instant odds, limits, and margins adjustment, powered by the certified RNG backed, multi-regulatory body licensed, retail-proven platform. Provide this intuitive system to players and engage them instantly, wherever they are, 24/7. Experience the newly updated 3D Virtual Football, featuring engine updates and improved visuals, new intro and penalty sequences, and new camera angles created in collaboration with professional soccer


Fire rooster


lots and table games provider Habanero is all set to showcase its impressive portfolio of high-definition HTML5 games at ICE. The supplier returns to the show for a second time with an even bigger and better stand, as well as a full suite of video slots and table games that include their 2016 blockbuster titles Jugglenaut, Fenghuang, and its latest January release, Fire Rooster. Also on display will be a selection of games due to go live later in the year, such as the beautifully serene Koi Gate (due out later this month), Bird of Thunder, Dead Escape, and Scruffy Scallywags. Habanero, which is currently certifying its games for European audiences, already boasts a number of commercially successful slots, such as Ruffled Up, Bombs Away, Fa Cai Shen, and 12 Zodiacs. Head of sales Daniel Long says he is looking forward to demonstrating even more of the company’s mobile-centric content to both operators and fellow suppliers. “We have built a reputation for designing and developing some of the most engaging and immersive

Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2017

cameramen. With all the major leagues in the world, the ability to create any custom competition desired, professional commentary in all major languages – available in 3 formats across a variety of hardware solutions. The award-winning Real Fighting, the Golden Box and Golden Box Compact plug and play retail solutions, self-serve terminals, and the complete suite of winning games including real video races, Perfect 6, Spin 2 Win, Keno, Roulette, and Poker will also be featured. Golden Race welcomes all attendees to join them at stand S2-322.

games in the industry, and believe we have a lot to offer operators in many different markets. We have gone to great lengths over recent months to make sure our games all meet the highest regulatory requirements, and look forward to showing the scale and scope of our portfolio to delegates at ICE.” The interface for each of Habanero’s games is easy to use and the rotation from landscape to portrait works even on the smallest devices, utilizing the full real estate of the screen. Habanero’s entire games portfolio of over 70 slots titles, six table games, and 10 video poker titles, will be certified during 2017.Habanero can be found at stand N3-243.


iCore – The Enterprise Platform


omt rade Ga mi ng’s produc t development is centred around the concept that player data and business analytics curate the modern multi-channel experience. “For almost a decade, Comtrade Gaming reinforced its place in the gaming industry by exhibiting at ICE and this year’s stand proves to be an extension of our product success,” explains Aleš Gornjec, general manager of Comtrade Gaming. “iCore validates that the operator can have it all, sCore repeatedly proves to be monumental for regulators and operators and gCore is now, as always, the foundation for the returning customer,” he added. The company will be presenting continued innovation throughout its core product portfolio at ICE this year, including: iCore – The Enterprise Platform - This improved data strategy sleekly records and compiles additional user activity, segments preferences and intelligently responds to player profiles to continuously improve player life-cycles. sCore – Gaming Systems Management - By formally introducing sCore 2.0, the product enables operators near real-time responses based on high-quality player intelligence. The revamped G2S enhanced Central Monitoring and Gaming Management Solutions improve operations with advanced venue and terminal performance reports, analytical tools and remote optimization possibilities. gCore – The Game Server Updates The gCore framework now encourages the reuse of components across different devices with advanced optimization to achieve refined user experiences. To support industry preferences, the company be exhibiting its game and product migration from Flash to HTML5. Comtrade Gaming will be located in the North Hall, stand N4-340.


Your next system


RGT will be exhibiting a range of solutions at ICE 2017, as well as some of the successes of 2016. Continued growth in South Africa saw DRGT further its partnership with Sun International, with the introduction of the Lion Share Wide Area Progressive (WAP). Long standing customers in Belgium and Switzerland continued to reap the rewards of the most reliable, cost efficient and scalable system in the market. In 2016, they were able to take advantage of the drPlayerTracking, drBonusing, drJackpots, and drReports allowing for further engagement with their players and improving their overall experience at the casinos. The Swiss market also saw one lucky customer receive Europe’s biggest ever slot machine jackpot win running on DRGT’s versatile drWideArea system across a number of casinos in Switzerland. DRGT expanded its presence further in the Romanian market with a win of over a 1,000 slot machines that started using the system. This was a further significant step for DRGT, replacing the incumbent system. The company was chosen for its server-less technology and simple, efficient installation.

In the latter half of the year, DRGT signed a significant agreement with Paf, one of the most recognizable casino brands in Europe, for installation in 2017. In the Central and South American markets, DRGT made further strides, opening an office in Mexico and installing the system on 500 machines in the first month. Whilst in Peru, operators looked for further enhancement installing the drScreenMicro in several locations. The drScreenMicro offers venues an affordable solution to add individual fullcolour player tracking displays to machines. This allows players to monitor their casino points and tier levels, along with statistical win data on the player, the machine they are on or the whole casino floor. However, 2016 wasn’t just about management systems for DRGT, Grand Casino Brussels introduced BlackJack11s, a new side bet game. Jurgen De Munck, co-founder and CEO said: “The show will offer operators a fantastic opportunity to see what a company with vast experience in system innovation can offer the gaming industry. DRGT invites all operators to come and explore ‘Your Next System.’” DRGT will be showing a full range of products at ICE 2017 at stand N3-120.


Silk Flower


LV has prepared something that is sure to bring spring to the show in European winter – its new four-level Silk Flowers jackpot will dazzle with its aesthetics and saturation of colors. This 25-game set features 20 of the best themes from the previous multigames and 5 new ones, including the popular fruit games. Silk Flowers’ interface is patterned after the sliding interface of Diamond Games Ultra 4, a highly successful company innovation. As with all DLV developments, Silk Flowers has unique features; one of which is that higher bets increase the probability of winning a jackpot, and the information on winning probability is displayed to the player. Apart from the new software product, DLV will show its latest hardware release – the Diamond Z machine with 24” screens - which

are comfortable to play, solid and light. The machine is suited for any operation. The Diamond Games Ultra 4 which was presented for the first time during the show in Las Vegas will be on display, as well as other DLV hardware and software products. Visit DLV at stand N4-350.

Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2017



Esports shootout

Suitable partner in Asia



his year at ICE, Betradar has even greater floor space to catch up with old and new friends alike, allowing everyone to interact with their various product zones. As well as the fantastic opportunity to learn more about the whole range of Betradar products and services, there will be several highlights that delegates are invited to focus on: Managed Trading Services - which is already disrupting the trading and risk management part of the betting market, using data, scale, expertise and innovative payment structures to offer operators old and new an innovative way to address this critical area. Live coverage - the company’s portfolio of live coverage has expanded since the addition of sportsman into its fold. Operators should come by to get an update on what Betradar now offers the market. Esports data solutions - In the last 12 months, esports betting has undertaken a significant journey. Those looking to offer markets, data solutions and audiovisual content should speak to the team to make sure they are not left behind or vulnerable to abuse. To give delegates an insight into the buzz of esport competition and to see, in real time, how its solutions work effectively, at 11am and 2pm on the 7 and 8 February, visitors will be able to watch two top UK teams competing in a CS:GO shootout. Delegates will be able to hear leading esport commentator “ReDeYe” provide a shot-by-shot rundown of the action, see the products work alongside the match in real time and chat to Betradar’s industry experts. Betradar will be in its usual spot at Stand S1-150 if you want to come by and get an update on what is happening at the industry’s cutting edge.

Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2017

BIN, founded in 1999, is a leading igaming software supplier in Asia. BBIN constantly creates and develops products by combining extensive experience with the latest technology. With more than 1000 professionals and supporting over 500 clients all over the world, it makes the company a most suitable partner in Asia. BBIN keeps enriching four major product categories - Live Casino, Casino Games, BB Luck and Sports as well as upgrading two main services – Game API and White Label Solution. BBIN welcomes different opportunities to cooperate, and provides the advantages of professional know-how to those who want to introduce their products into Asia. BBIN is customer-oriented, satisfying the needs of customers is its priority and philosophy. It also provides innovative offerings,

unique product development like Remote Rolling Tech, Integrated Function of APP (Products / Services / Payment), and combines multiple games like Baccarat mix Lottery Games, which is a world first. Through non-stop innovating and endless improvement, BBIN will continue to provide a wide range of entertainment services in the future. You can find BBIN at stand N7-350 at the show.


Slotfather to reign supreme


etsoft Gaming, creator of the ground-breaking Slots3 franchise of true 3D video slots, has announced the games that will be showcased during the ICE Totally Gaming expo this year. The games include Slotfather II - the long-awaited sequel to the Betsoft smash hit Slotfather; Fa Fa Twins - an adorable any-ways pays slot; and Sin City Nights - a Las Vegas-themed game which was launched in December to resounding popularity. Betsoft’s stand at the show will be predominantly gangster themed to highlight the upcoming launch of Slotfather II, bringing elements – especially the Slotfather throng of thugs – of the gangster underworld to ICE. Slotfather II features Betsoft’s tall symbols, icons which take up an entire reel. The exciting bonus round shows off the tremendous flexibility of Betsoft’s new, proprietary Shift platform, providing a new level of quality to the smoothly cinematic experience for which Betsoft is widely known. Also to be revealed at ICE this year is Fa Fa Twins, a game with 243 paylines hosted by a pair of anime-styled twin sisters. The brilliant red-and-gold styling, coupled with classic Asian iconography, sets the stage for massive wins, as the game pays all ways and features reels that can lock and synchronise when their symbols match. “We are thrilled to bring Slotfather II, Sin City Nights and Fa Fa Twins to ICE,” said Mark McKeown, Betsoft’s VP of sales and marketing. “These games, vary in theme and functionality and represent the true heart of Betsoft. We continuously strive to produce the very best content available today in the iGaming market. The power of our new Shift Platform supports these new games, leveraging the remarkable strength of HTML5 to create an exceptional igaming experience. A playable demonstration of Slotfather II will be available for ICE attendees to explore at our stand S3-312 during the show.


Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2017





Protection, comfort and ease of business he Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA) is a government-owned and controlled corporation that was created by virtue of Republic Act 7922, otherwise known as the “Cagayan Special Economic Zone Act of 1995.” Under Republic Act 7922, CEZA has the authority to operate or license tourism-related activities including games, amusements, recreation and sports facilities, independent and duly recognized by Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) itself through Republic Act 9487. CEZA guarantees that its gaming regulatory operations meet the highest and strictest industry standards and are commensurate with best industry practices. For over a decade, First Cagayan Leisure and Resort Corporation (FCLRC)—the duly appointed Master Licensor of the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA)—regulates and monitors all activities pertaining to the licensing and operation of interactive games on behalf of CEZA. FCLRC (a subsidiary of Leisure and Resorts World Corporation—a publicly-listed corporation at the Philippine Stock Exchange) has been developing the jurisdiction with state-of-art technology and infrastructure, and promoting the jurisdiction to become one of the leading interactive gaming jurisdictions in the world. Beyond licensing, FCLRC offers valueadded services ranging from business-related (i.e. legal consultation services, technical and technological expertise, pre-opening setup and post-opening operation assistance) to leisure and family-oriented care, to guarantee a peaceof-mind business environment and enhance a hassle-free lifestyle with work-life balance. To assure protection, comfort and ease of doing business for both its online gaming operators and their clients, it is both CEZA and FCLRC’s responsibility to accord gaming operators the opportunity to be part of a promising business environment and to provide a strategic base to penetrate the gaming markets of the Asia-Pacific Region and the rest of the world. Find First Cagayan at stand N7-110.

Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2017

World of components

UZOHAPP will once again be catering its offerings individually to OEMs and operators. Operators can look to source complete solutions as well as their specific component requirements, which will be presented in greater detail in the OEM section of the stand. Examples of key solutions include the ComesteroChangers range with the Swing Next, Dual Coin Pro, Easy PRO and Changeuro Multicoin on display; as well as SCAN COIN products, an offering in the field of coin and banknote counting and sorting; and finally the Cash Complete product range, featuring unique smart solutions able to dramatically improve business with cash management intelligence. The Cash Complete range is comprised of 3 product lines - SDS, SPS and RCS - and also includes the unique CashComplete software platform. A further premiere for ICE - Cash Redemption Terminal, is a complete redemption terminal for cards or tickets. Cleverly designed so that access for service requirements and cash clearance are separated, the CRT includes all the payment methods to ensure that customers have entire redemption possibilities – including barcode reader, TiTo, banknote and coin validation and pay-out. Also featured this year will be a variety of displays and touchscreens, printers,

banknote / bill validators and recyclers, coinhandling components, toppers, pushbuttons, locks, cabinet parts and mechanical devices. “We continue to invest to lead the market in the world of components and solutions. We have kept our stand position and stand design. Segmenting the stand into components and solutions alongside the sports bar made it much clearer and simpler for visitors to find what they were looking for. ICE is the ideal opportunity to bring our international team together and show just how committed we are to the gaming industry around the world. We send out a warm welcome – come and see us at ICE!”, commented Mr. Marcel Oelen, managing director of SUZOHAPP EMEA. SUZOHAPP will be exhibiting again at its customary position at stand N4-110.


Live dealer XPG is a leading Live Dealer Casino software provider that offers sophisticated and flexible Live casino systems to gaming operators, White Label providers and individual entrepreneurs all over the world. With the widest selection of Live games (10 games), as well as 500+ virtual games from partners and leading sports betting and slot providers, mobile and desktop solutions, XPG creates a pure Live gaming experience that is technically flawless, exciting and rewarding – both for operators and players. Along with three vast studios in Bulgaria and Moldova, top-of-the line casino

equipment, and professional appealing dealers, XPG’s cross-platform system is a single solution that can be tailored across multiple channels, enabling players to transition seamlessly between products. Join the XPG family at stand N6-233.



Concerto Collection


Eyeing Asia

onami Gaming, Inc. has announced the premiere of its expanding Concerto Collection of core video slots cabinets, including Concerto Slant, Concerto SeleXion multigame, Concerto Stack single tall screen, and Concerto Crescent single curved screen. At ICE this year, more than half the games on display will include multi-game functionality, across a variety of slot formats to provide casino players with a rich array of game play options. “Our SeleXion multi-game technology is the centerpiece of this year’s ICE show, reaching everything from our new Concerto Slant, to Rapid Revolver, to linked progressive combinations and premium standalone progressive games,” said Steve Walther, senior director, marketing & product management. “Four years ago we developed SeleXion in response to feedback from customers looking for a multi-game machine with instant speed and long-term reliability. Now we’re bringing that technology to our popular Concerto cabinet for even greater performance potential and we’re combining it with high-thrill premium and core progressive products so players can enjoy a rich, immersive gaming experience with a variety of base game options on one machine.” Concerto SeleXion is available for upright and slant, each with dual 27-inch HD cinematic displays. It instantly

changes between game themes, denominations, currencies, and languages as permissioned, with up to ten new KP3+ or proven KP3 platform games and the option for a progressive bonus. Also joining the Concerto Collection are two 43-inch single screen cabinets, Konami’s tall Concerto Stack and curved Concerto Crescent. Top game themes arriving at ICE 2017 for the first time include three new base games with Asian art and design elements: Wealth of Dynasty, Winning Animals, and Power of Riches. Each is compatible with Konami’s latest standalone progressive bonus called Cai Lai Si Ji, and will be featured at ICE on the Concerto Slant cabinet. Other progressives include Smash Smash Festival linked bonus, The Treasure Falls for Podium Monument, Volcanic Rush for Rapid Revolver, and Jackpot Ball for Concerto upright and Slant. “Our global cutomers have full access to a rich array of new game formats and creative game content during ICE 2017 to power their business,” said Walther. Attendees are encouraged to visit stand S6-110.


reviewed ahead of the Gambling Commission’s deadline for Annual Games Testing (AGT) audit submissions, NMi’s customers are taking the opportunity to identify compliance gaps ahead of time and ensure successful outcomes. In addition to AGT pre-audits, multijurisdiction ISMS audits, PCI health-checks, gaming-specific application security testing, and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) assessments by ACAMS-certified auditors are just some of the innovative new service offerings with which NMi is continuing to support existing and new customers. NMi are also pleased to discuss exciting plans for ISO 27001 certification services and General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) readiness assessments. ICE gives NMi the opportunity to talk to new and existing customers on the ground, and support them in getting their products and services into new markets, as efficiently as possible. With an expanding business development team due to customer demand, NMi has this year changed its location at ICE and can be found at stand N4-122.

Increased accreditations


he NMi team looks forward to meeting existing and new customers alike as they launch new services at this year’s ICE 2017 show. NMi continues to see increasing customer demand due to its reputation for first class customer service, technical expertise and the flexibility to exceed customer needs. A firm commitment to be at the forefront in emerging regulated jurisdictions, whilst maintaining approvals within existing markets, ensures that customers have the peace of mind that NMi can support their regulatory roadmaps through a partnership approach. Delivering Transfers of Approval (ToAs) across all regulated igaming jurisdictions means that NMi’s customers can achieve their global ambitions. WithunprecedenteddemandfromUKlicensees to have their RTP monitoring processes, change management policies and development practices


ediatech Solutions, part of the R. Franco Group, will display its vision for 2017 at a spectacular stand at ICE, as the innovative provider continues to ramp up its international expansion. The R. Franco Experience, at stand S6-210, will showcase gaming’s newest omni-channel powerhouse, incorporating Mediatech Solution’s innovative IRIS gaming platform suite and development services, R. Franco Games’ award-winning slots portfolio, and end-to-end retail solutions from R. Franco On. Asia continues to be a key focus for Mediatech, with head of Asia-Pacific Tom Moester and his team on the ground daily in one of gaming’s most exciting regions. Last year, Mediatech partnered up in The Philippines and also in Cambodia to explore opportunities in both dynamic markets. Moester has also been sharing his insight in a series of thought-provoking market overviews on key Asian jurisdictions in recent months, which are available on the Mediatech website. “Asia remains a vital region for Mediatech Solutions, and an area where we continue to leverage our unparalleled regulatory expertise to open up new opportunities,” Moester said. Moester picked out The Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia and China as particularly interesting markets that he will be watching closely during 2017. “succeed in Asia, you not only need to patience and know-how to navigate the regulatory environment, but also a flexible, competitive and omni-channel product offering that can adapt to local needs,” said Moester. “As part of the R. Franco Group, Mediatech Solutions can offer exactly that, paired with world-class service and technology,” he added. To meet the Mediatech team, visit the R. Franco Experience at stand S6-210.

Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2017


A global perspective


aming Laboratories International (GLI) takes pride in the worldclass customer service that its experts provide to each and every one of its clients. GLI works with more than 475 global gaming jurisdictions, ensuring that its clients are successful and are performing at the very top of their industry. With offices and professionals strategically located on six continents, GLI can bring a global perspective to each client and project. The company is globally connected through its relationships and technologies, and in addition to testing, its clients experience unexpected values all around the world.

In addition, GLI is completely integrated, which is a must in today’s gaming landscape. The company’s experts see beyond the surface, offering cost-effective and efficient solutions. In particular, GLI will be shining a spotlight on its professional services and ability to consult on new and upcoming technology this year. GLI offers its clients an extensive portfolio of services, including lottery testing, gaming device and systems testing, online gaming systems and security testing, rule writing, consultation and professional services. GLI can be found at stand N3-210 at the show, demonstrating why they are the leaders in gaming testing and consultancy.


Extensive product offerings


PI will be bringing its unmatched suite of table game products including casino currency, playing cards, layouts, RFID solutions along with a full collection table game offerings to ICE this year. GPI is globally recognized as a leading supplier of gaming currency. With the most extensive gaming currency offerings available in the industry, GPI provides customers options that include chips, plaques and jetons. Its new and popular B&G V-Series was developed using an innovative, and highly durable injection material formula. The V-Series is unique in that it provides advanced design flexibility with the edge spot pattern and decal configurations. Available with unparalleled level of security features, customers who order the V-Series with four or more color shots, will have included an infra-red security feature exclusive to GPI. With the large amount of handling of casino currency by dealers and players alike, also included is ChipShield, an antifungal, that helps keep the gaming chips cleaner, longer for a more sanitary chip surface. GPI’s gaming currency offers one of the broadest range of currency security features. The 3-in-1 UV is a security taggant that remains invisible under standard UV wavelengths but is revealed with a special device. Because it can be added to plastic injection-molded chip materials, it is SBTECH

All-round player experience


combination of localized offerings, constant innovation, uniquely customizable products, deep industry knowledge and versatile tools has positioned SBTech as a leading sportsbetting platform, omni-channel provider and trusted partner of operators in regulated markets around the world. Continuing its commitment to delivering the very best all-round player experience, SBTech will demonstrate its complete omni-channel solution covering all touch points from desktop, tablet and mobile, to in-shop cashier interfaces and SSBTs, its semi-managed sportsbetting product, and its intelligent Chameleon360 iGaming platform featuring an unrivalled range of tools for big data analytics. The omni-channel solution provides a unified experience for both operators and their customers across all products, channels and devices, through a single online wallet. It includes front-end

Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2017

easy to validate chips when placed in stacks or racks. SecuriFilm, which is compatible with RFID, is used on a chip’s decal and features a semitransparent hologram-like effect. SecuriFilm can be easily authenticated at the table and includes an additional covert security feature enabling a higher level of validation. GPI’s full graphic EGC layouts will also be covering their tables and will be on display. The synthetic layouts offer sharp, full vibrant, color graphics that can duplicate almost any photo or sophisticated design with exacting precision. Ideal for all game types, EGC layouts provide an exceptional playing surface and are a durable and economical choice that provides extraordinary design flexibility. Customers will also see firsthand our Gemaco brand line of playing cards which includes both paper and plastic card types. Customers will be able to see firsthand demonstrations of the exclusive SMART RFID offerings. SMART offers the latest advancement is casino currency RFID technology and when used with the Chip Inventory System (CIS) software, SMART delivers a complete currency tracking and authentication solution. GPI offers all the necessary components from SMART RFID currency, both antennas and readers. SMART is available on all of GPI’s currency brands. For more information, visit stand S7-230 at the show. connectivity to retail systems and interactive channels, all of which share the same core back office system, allowing players to access their accounts, funds and bets, regardless of the channel and product used. SBTech’s intelligent Chameleon360 iGaming platform, meanwhile, creates a central hub for the management of both gaming and sportsbetting verticals. It brings together key functionalities to boost business performance and profitability via enhanced player interactions, using big data and operational management tools. “While 2016 was a ground-breaking year for SBTech, I expect 2017 to be even more successful, as we add to our core market-leading platform tools and sports betting products through an even greater focus on big data analytical tools and personalised player journeys, offering SBTech customers enhanced operational performance and profitability,” comments Richard Carter, CEO of SBTech. “We are very excited to exhibit at ICE and showcase our latest product developments that represent the dedication and innovation displayed by our leading international team of industry experts.” SBTech will be showcasing its products at stand S3-110.


Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2017


Distinguished list


s the premier jurisdiction for licensing, regulation, headquartering & administration of online operators, the Isle of Man is home to many of Asia’s leading gaming companies. The jurisdiction offers experience and expertise in assisting Asian operators to supply their products globally from a secure, financially attractive environment. These factors help make the route from Asia to the Isle of Man so popular. Gaming firms have been enjoying a successful home on the Isle of Man for over 15 years, taking advantage of our unsurpassed reputation and legislation. An Isle of Man licence grants an operator prestige and reputation like no other licence can. No player has ever lost money as a result of an Isle of Man licensed operator withdrawing from the market, a claim no other offshore jurisdiction can make.

“Player protection is at the heart of everything we do, meaning your players can trust your company and understand that their deposits are safe with our licensees,” said the company. The Isle of Man is a home for both Business to Business (B2B) and Business to Consumer (B2C) models, including live dealer operations, casino, slots, sportsbooks, poker, e-sports and more. Customers with Isle of Man licensees can now also deposit, play and win with digital currencies such as Bitcoin or virtual goods such as skins. By joining its distinguished list of online gaming companies an operator can expect a government with a stable economy committed to supporting the e-gaming sector. Financial incentives and assistance is available for moving staff to the Island, there is plenty of office space, beautiful scenery and clean, fresh air. Visit Isle of Man at ICE 2017 on stand number N6-220.


Innovation at play


GT’s SPHINX 4D game will make its international debut at ICE. This game offers a multi-sensory experience that enhances its glasses-free 3D technology with air haptic and gesture-based technologies, which enable players to touch and manipulate 3D objects emerging from the screen. IGT’s latest iterations of the fan-favorite Fort Knox theme, Fort Knox Diamond Vault Video Slots and Fort Knox Cleopatra Video Slots, along with The Voice Video Slots will also be featured this year. ICE attende es w i l l a ls o have t he opp or tunity to enjoy a variety of themes from IGT’s expansive video and mechanical reel Core game portfolios. Golden Egypt and Elephant King are among the many video core titles that will be prominently featured in IGT’s booth on the CrystalSlant cabinet. IGT’s new video tournament solution will also be on display, injecting the fun of automated tournament technology to the trade show floor. Expanding on its success in the stepper category, IGT will highlight new themes in its game library for the S3000 cabinet, in addition to its new lower-profile, high-limit S3000 cabinet. The company will spotlight new innovations from its skillbased gaming portfolio including Lucky’s Quest, a for-wager, casual-style game that can be played on mobile devices and on the CrystalCore cabinet. In the systems area of the stand, Cardless Connect technology will be prominently featured. The versatile solution can be embedded into a casino operator’s app, enabling players to use their smartphones to

Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2017

initiate patron loyalty sessions and transfer funds to and from a slot machine – eliminating the need for physical loyalty cards and TITO tickets. IGT’s PlaySpot will be showcased in the Interactive section of IGT’s stand. Through PlaySpot, players can enjoy a variety of gaming experiences through a personal smartphone, including live roulette and baccarat betting and monitoring. PlaySpot’s table game offerings expand a casino’s capacity to accommodate more players at once and give players more options for enjoying their favorite gaming experiences. IGT’s Interactive section of its ICE stand will also feature a roster of new games such as the recent blockbuster success Cleopatra PLUS, as well as modern solutions for classic betting options such as bingo, poker and sportsbetting. IGT’s stand will also feature a number of specialty gaming products such as video poker, keno, Amusement with Prize (AWP) games, Video Lottery Terminals (VLT) and the company’s Dynasty Electronic Table Games (ETG) offering. Visit IGT’s stand at ICE at stand N3-160.


Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2017




CE 2017 will provide a major showcase for TCSJOHNHUXLEY’s Qorex electronic gaming solutions. First debuted at G2E in September the innovative Qorex terminals have caught the imagination of operators around the globe, with major installations commencing imminently in the UK and Asia. Tristan Sjöberg, executive chairman comments, “The introduction of Qorex has provided our customers with the opportunity to have a fully integrated hybrid gaming terminal that delivers innovative design, an intuitive easy to navigate interface, and because it’s modular, it’s extremely flexible and can be configured to suit any gaming environment. With the added benefits of increased security and customised game content, Qorex is proving to be a must-have product for any gaming floor.” Visitors to ICE will be able to see a wide range of Qorex configurations that illustrate the flexibility of the system, from large scale stadium layouts with a live dealer, to self-contained carousel units driven by the Saturn Auto wheel and back-to-back formations that feature state-of-the-art curved screen toppers for crystal clear live game feeds and multiple winning number results. All Qorex terminals are driven by the Gaming Floor Live platform, which delivers essential requirements such as security and real-time reporting so casino operators can evaluate the status of their terminals

at any time and act immediately as required. The benefits of the Gaming Floor Live platform will also be demonstrated across the Optimisation, Bonusing and Media modules as all products now interface with the system, providing operators with a real-time, 360-degree view of their live table games. Other new products being debuted will be HD Blaze Roulette, a new and improved addition to the Blaze product suite, which now incorporates even more spectacular animated graphic capabilities to excite players by adding the wow factor to games. The patented in-game animations can be incorporated to complement existing themes or promotions, providing ever more effective ways of keeping players engaged longer. Demonstrated on roulette at the show, HD Blaze will also be available for Sicbo and Money Wheel. In addition to these new offerings, the full TCSJOHNHUXLEY product portfolio will be showcased at ICE demonstrating how all products are technology enabled to connect to, and benefit from, the new platform, find them at stand S6-250.


BRYKE video slots London will be the venue for Zitro to present BRYKE, its new brand of video slots. According to the supplier, BRYKE is backed by some surprising results in Latin America, where it has been tested exhaustively with unprecedented success. It will be presented with the multi-games sets Pick & Win, each set including five games, with the commitment to launch new titles onto the market over the coming year. Zitro will also use its updated Blackwave platform to present around 50 video bingo games, many of them launched as world exclusives at the show. Some of these titles combine the bingo game with traditional casino games, and all of them feature exceptional graphics and sound, together with revolutionary game functionalities. In addition, Zitro will use ICE to present its latest innovations in Video Bingo, Big Time, for Europe. This system features the new Big Hour, Crazy Jerrypot, Super Botín and Mega Air Cash promotions systems. Sebastián Salat, CEO of Zitro said: “Big Time and its associated service, Zitro Partnership Program, or ZPP, have changed the video bingo market for ever. After the successful rollout of this product in Mexico, we believe now is the time to offer it in London to bingo operators from other countries around the world. ZPP encompasses the supply of our Big Time promotional systems, expert advice in the design, programming and management of the promotions, and their advertising, both at the point of sale and through online and social media. An experience which transcends the land-based environment, and which will help bring operators closer to their customers.” Bingo BET will also be showcased at the exhibition, an extremely

Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2017

flexible system for bingo halls, which can be adapted to the regulatory and commercial requirements of bingo operators anywhere in the world. BET includes options such as the physical or virtual blower, gaming with virtual cards and card printing system, interconnection of prizes, and new animations and graphics which encompass the game sequences offered to the player in the new betting terminal TWave. In addition, Zitro Interactive, its online casino division, will present its new games to the market at the show. Johnny Ortiz, Zitro’s president said: “2017 is a special year for Zitro. It’s our tenth anniversary, and what better way to celebrate than by showing our customers and friends the notable progress we have made in recent months. New products. New ideas. All of them designed with the aim of making Zitro a global leader, always differentiating ourselves and always at the forefront of innovation and excellence”. Zitro can be found at stand N6-344 at the show.


FEBRUARY ICE TOTALLY GAMING 2017 7-9 February, 2017 Excel London, London, UK IMGL MASTERCLASS AT ICE 8 February

MARCH SLOT ACADEMY 6-9 March, 2017 Macau 2017 VR & AR FAIR AND SUMMIT 8-11 March, 2017 China Import and Export Fair Complex, Guangzhou ASEAN GAMING SUMMIT 21-23 March, 2017 Conrad, Manila IGA - IGAMING ASIA CONGRESS 27-29 March, 2017 Grand Hyatt, Macau


MAY JAPAN GAMING CONGRESS 10-12 May, 2017 Tokyo, venue TBC IMGL SPRING CONFERENCE 10-12 May, 2017 Turnberry Isle Miami ASIAN GAMING NETWORKING SOCIAL 12 May, 2017 Manila G2E ASIA 16-18 May, 2017 The Venetian Macao ASIA GAMING AWARDS 16 May, 2017 The Venetian Macao IAGA INTERNATIONAL GAMING SUMMIT 30 May - 1 June, 2017 JW Marriott, Essex House, New York

JUNE RUSSIAN GAMING WEEK 7-8 June, 2017 Moscow, venue TBC

JULY WORLD GAMING EXECUTIVE SUMMIT 4-6 July, 2017 W Hotel, Barcelona, Spain world-gaming-executive-summit/index.stm IGAMING SUPER SHOW 11-14 July, 2017 Amsterdam RAI, Netherlands


ASIAN GAMING NETWORKING SOCIAL 8 September, 2017 Manila CENTRAL & EASTERN EUROPEAN GAMING CONFERENCE & AWARDS 19-20 September, 2017 Budapest City, Hungary, Venue TBC



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21-23 March 2017, Conrad Manila, Manila The inaugural ASEAN Gaming Summit is designed to help you identify and capitalize on opportunities in the fast-changing landscape of gaming in SE Asia. Covering both land-based and online gaming, the event draws together the region’s leading operators, regulators and providers who are shaping the future of SE Asian gaming.


Official host

AGENDA-AT-A-GLANCE: Conference Day One, Wednesday, 21 March 2017: Casinos & Integrated Resorts • Regulation, Tourism, Infrastructure • ASEAN - The Big Picture • Regional Developments & Competition Conference Day Two, Thursday 22 March 2017: Omni-channel • Marketing & Growth Strategies • Technology & Game Design Innovations • Land Based/Online Convergence Conference Day Three, Friday 23 March 2017: Online & Mobile Gaming • Regulation & Trends in Sports Betting • New Products & Innovation • Marketing & Customer Acquisition


Final Words 66

China, politics and gaming Although growth in Macau in on the up, analysts warn Beijing is still pulling the strings.

Sharon Singleton Managing Editor, AGB


ooking at the predictions for the year ahead from our advisers and contributors, one thing was clear. The Macau market is only ever going to be what China wants it to be. Although growth has now resumed after a twoyear slump and analysts predict a rosy future, none have that glowing optimism that led to predictions of a $100 billion-market a couple of years back. The crash was blamed mostly on China’s crackdown on corruption, which caused VIP players to flee underground. The anti-graft campaign is ongoing and could flare up again at any given moment. Meanwhile, a continued effort by Beijing to create a more diversified leisure and tourism destination in Macau often feels like trying to get a leopard to change its spots. The territory’s six operators have met and indeed surpassed a 2020 target to up non-gaming revenue to 9 percent of the total by 2020, however, a recent survey by Bernstein showed that when it came down to it Chinese visitors remain serious gamers. It found that 80 percent of respondents planned to spend more, or about the same on their next visit, with one-third planning on having larger gaming budgets. The firm acknowledges that there is also a good probability they may not have truthfully answered survey questions. However, the usual rules of supply and demand don’t apply and demand on the part of the mainland Chinese far outstrips Beijing’s comfort levels. As such, most analysts see growth in the near term in the mid-single digit range, in line with the country’s economic growth. Macau may also suffer fallout this year from China’s efforts to prevent capital outflows, which have been accelerating of late. Standard & Poor’s says at present the government appears to be trying a basket of measures to solve the problem, including currency depreciation and tighter currency controls. Both of these may have knock on effects in Macau, making it a more expensive destination for mainlanders, but also creating difficulties in access to sufficient spending money. The latter problems won’t be confined to just Macau and will apply to any of the jurisdictions that are heavily reliant on the Chinese visitor. China’s

Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2017

exploding outbound tourism market will remain one of the key drivers for growth across the Asian region in coming years, but there are subtle signs of change. Operators are perhaps recognizing the dangers of placing all their eggs in the China market, while the steady growth in regional tourism and the mass market is starting to present other opportunities for growth. For example, the growing middle class in India, Indonesia and Thailand are all providing new sources of visitation. Donaco International’s Star Vegas resort in Cambodia sees opportunities in the Thai mass market, where it hopes to leverage its relationship with U.K. soccer club Manchester United to attract visitors. Cambodia’s NagaCorp envisages at some stage a third phase in its development that will include a broader range of amenities, such as a theme park, in the hope of attracting visitors from Southeast Asia. We couldn’t have the final word, without mentioning Japan. A license to operate there is currently seen as the top global prize among global gaming operators, in large part because of a large, wealthy population with a high propensity to gamble, which reduces the risk from an over reliance on Mainland Chinese. This year without doubt, we will see a significant jockeying for position, as operators seek to form alliances with local groups to bid for the chance to build an IR. Some of the figures already put out for the potential size of investment have been mammoth, with both MGM Resorts and Las Vegas Sands suggesting they may be prepared to spend up to $10 billion. So far, all we know is that casinos will be allowed. The Japanese government now has its work cut out to establish the details of what that market will look like, how many IRs it will allow and what restrictions may be placed on locals gambling. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s administration pushed through the gambling bill at the last minute of the last session last year, over strong opposition from other political parties. The general public has also consistently shown itself to be concerned about the impact of casinos on problem gambling. Given those parameters, it’s not unreasonable to assume that Abe may have to cater to his opponents with concessions when it comes to the details of the bill. Let’s hope the manoeuvring doesn’t lead to significant disappointment for the industry.


Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2017

AGBriefings February 2017