Page 1

Jurisdiction Updates February 2018 Edition

In focus pg.26

Operator viewpoint: expansion, revenue and trends


Labor woes cloud development pg.20


Queensland outshines dull market pg.22


Asia’s latest hotspot? pg.10


Mass gains momentum pg.6



Another day in parad-ICE


arad-ICE, as this year’s Totally Gaming event is

For Greater China, we explore the see-sawing relations

themed, is the first of many industry gatherings

between Macau’s mass and VIP sectors, with analysts this

throughout the year, but on a scale and a level

year pointing to a rebound in mass and a softening in the

of sensory overload that only the ExCel London

high roller revenue that drove the game in 2017.

footprint can provide. The show features a massive array

Turning to IndoChina, Cambodia is being dubbed as

of products and numerous conference sessions, covering

potentially Asia’s next hotspot. The country has adopted

every existing and potential industry niche. Asia and in

a “China Ready” tourism strategy aimed at boosting ties,

particular Japan, won’t be overlooked.

including targeted marketing campaigns and special

If 2017 was a year of rebound, 2018 is gearing up to be a year

training for Cambodian hospitality staff to ensure they are

of consolidation for the gaming industry, particularly in Asia.

able to meet the needs of Chinese guests.

While the region might not be quite the parad-ICE it once

Across to Australia, though sentiment towards the

was, the consistent numbers reported for the last quarter

jurisdiction as a whole is lacklustre amidst flat revenue

have brought a sense of stability to the markets.

and rising regulatory pressure, the state of Queensland

The recurring success story has arguably been that of The

continues to attract international investor interest in its

Philippines, particularly the Manila integrated resorts.

casino market and is expected to see progress with new

Despite an ever changing regulatory framework, operations

licenses being issued this year.

across the country have gone from strength to strength.

Over to the Pacific Isles where tourist arrivals to the

We dedicate the Focus section of this edition of

Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands surged 30

AGBriefings to the Manila IRs for their laudable

percent in 2017, helped by improved transport links and

contributions to the jurisdiction in which they operate

infrastructure, but labor shortages continue to plague the

and the Asia gaming industry as a whole. In exclusive

development of resorts on the islands.

interviews with AGB, the property presidents, Tom Arasi

If you’re also heading to parad-ICE and would like to

- Solaire Resort & Casino; Stephen Reilly - Resorts World

learn more about AGB’s initiatives for 2018 - namely

Manila; and Steve Wolstenholme - Okada Manila; share

the ASEAN Gaming Summit in March, the Asia Gaming

their viewpoints on revenue, trends, and expansion - in

Awards in May and our plans for Japan, drop us a line

the Philippines and the region.

at to book a meeting or drop by our

The same operators will set the tone of the discussions

stand# SD6-B. See you there!

Rosalind Wade

Luis Pereira

at the upcoming second edition of the ASEAN Gaming Summit, to be held at the Conrad Manila on March 20Connect with us:

22nd. AGB recruited a vast array of speakers to address the challenges the industry faces, with a particular focus


on how disruptive technology and the ever evolving player base are affecting the industry and forging convergence

Asia Gaming Brief

between the online and land-based spheres. In these pages you’ll also find our regular Jurisdiction

Asia Gaming Brief

On behalf of Asia Gaming Brief

Updates bringing an update of the most relevant

Rosalind Wade & Luis Pereira

developments across 22 markets.


February 2018 EDITION Series II • Issue XIX

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PUBLISHERS & MDS Rosalind Wade, Luis Pereira MANAGING EDITOR Sharon Singleton ASIA EDITOR Felix Ng DESIGN People Press Publishing PHOTOGRAPHY Agencies PRINTING Hop Sze, Hong Kong

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Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2018


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Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2018






VIP revenue growth to moderate as mass accelerates Macau will post another year of double-digit revenue gains in 2018, though the VIP sector, which drove the recovery last year, is expected to slow, analysts say.

Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2018




Infrastructure improvements will also ross gambling revenue surged 19.1 percent in 2017 to MOP 265.74 billion be made at Macau International Airport ($33.02 billion), bouncing back after (MIA) to boost passenger traffic capacity to three years of declines. According to 7.5 million movements per year, while The Bernstein estimates, VIP revenue gained about Transport and Public Works department has 26 percent over the year, far outpacing that of decided to start the construction of the Light the mass sector despite the government’s push Rail Transit (LRT) for the Macau Peninsula at the Border Gate. to foster a wider leisure Overall, visitation tourism market. to Macau has improved. For 2018, analysts see growth in the low Gross gambling According to the Macau International Airport, single digits, with the revenue in Macau passenger arrivals gained mass market returning 8 percent to more than to centre stage. In is likely to rise 14 7 million travellers last December, the market percent in 2018 year, beating all records already showed signs to date. The number of moderating, with before moving on of tourism arrivals GGR rising just 14.6 to set record highs during the three-day percent, down from in 2019. New Year holiday was a 22.6 percent gain up 8.5 percent. in November and the However, analysts lowest rate since January. p oi nt out t h at t h e Gross gambling revenue in Macau is likely to rise 14 percent in number of arrivals doesn’t always correlate 2018 before moving on to set record highs in to an increase of GGR given the continued 2019, Bloomberg reported, citing a survey of dominance of the VIP sector. Operators during the year will also be 10 analysts. The current record for Macau was $45 billion reached in 2013 before China’s anti- waiting for indications from the government over the upcoming concession renewals, with corruption drive triggered a market collapse. Some of the key drivers for the year are the first batch due to expire in 2020. Security consultancy Steve Vickers warns expected to be new openings and the longthat the issue of concessions is one of the key delayed Hong Kong/Zhuhai/Macau bridge. MGM China Holding’s MGM Cotai risks in Macau, with the government to date opened its doors on Jan. 29, after pushing keeping its cards close to its chest in terms back its opening from 2017 due in part to of how it plans to proceed. Some analysts construction delays caused by Typhoon Hato. It have said they are not expecting any major was the first major debut in nearly 18 months clarification this year either. and the second to last of the planned IRs for the Cotai Strip. The resort opened with mass Sands China tables only, but is expected to add VIP tables in the first half of the year. According to UBS Sands China (1928:HK) has five properties Research, the company has secured 5 junket in Macau. The new $3 billion The Parisian operators for the property. SJM Holdings opened in September 2016 and is now a key is still to complete its Lisboa Palace resort, driver of group results. It features a scale which is not expected to be ready until 2019. replica of the Eiffel Tower, nearly 13,000 hotel However, it’s the road bridge that has been rooms, two million square feet of retail-mall seen as a game changer for Macau in terms of offerings and two million square feet of MICE driving visitation. No exact date has yet been set, capacity. Sands China’s Q4 results beat analysts’ but once open it will cut the journey from Hong expectations, driven by strong premium mass Kong to about 30 minutes, half of the current revenue in Macau. time, and provide a direct link to Hong Kong’s Total net revenues for Sands China increased international airport. 12.9 percent to US$2.10 billion compared to UBS said a survey undertaken by its UBS US$1.86 billion in the fourth quarter of 2016 Evidence Lab showed that about 50 percent of and above The Street estimate for $1.94 billion. respondents indicated they would travel much Net income increased 49.1 percent to US$519 more frequently to Macau once the bridge was million, while hold-normalized EBITDA came open, with a further 30 percent indicating they in at $758 million, representing growth of 30 would travel a bit more frequently. percent over the prior year.








+10% (Source: UBS)


+14% (Source: Bloomberg)

Mass VIP

+11% +8% (Source: Bernstein)

Melco resorts & entertainment Melco Resorts & Entertainment (6883.HK) has three casinos and the Mocha Clubs. The company operates the City of Dreams and Studio City in Macau and the City of Dreams Manila. Net revenue for the third quarter of 2017 was US$1.4 billion, an increase of 19 percent year-on-year. Melco said the increase in revenues was attributable to higher rolling chip revenues at City of Dreams and the commencement of rolling chip operations at Studio City in November 2016. Adjusted property EBITDA was US$400.2 million for the third quarter of 2017, representing an increase of 38 percent. Last year, the company dismantled its joint venture with Australia’s Crown Resorts and has subsequently been rebranding its properties. For example, The Crown Towers hotel at City of Dreams Macau is set to operate under a new name: “Nüwa”, starting January 18, 2018. The company is also actively positioning itself for a license in Japan and its parent company Melco International also recently finalized a venture in Cyprus to operate casinos on the island. The accord is to develop an integrated resort in Limassol and up to four other satellite casinos. Meanwhile, the Macau government has awarded Chairman and CEO Lawrence Ho the Medal of Merit - Tourism for his contribution to tourism in the territory.

Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2018


Paradise welcomes ETG standards

Galaxy Entertainment Group

Wynn macau

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. The company’s Q3 results were mostly in-line with analyst estimates, with adjusted EBITDA reaching HK$3.5 billion and revenue of HK$15.9 billion. Total gaming revenue was up 24 percent to HK$14.9 billion, with mass up 14 percent and VIP up 34 percent year-onyear. Electronic gaming revenue increased 9 percent in the quarter. The property is viewed by analysts as one of the best placed in Macau, having made considerable efforts in recent years to boost its mass market appeal. Galaxy is also now looking at overseas expansion. The company has teamed up with Monaco’s Societe des Bains de Mer to push for a license in Japan and has also said it wants to invest $500 million to build a resort on the Philippine island of Boracay.

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. In Q4, net profit increased more than 300 percent reaching $187.2 million. Total revenue from the Macau arm reached $1.3 billion in the quarter, compared to only $917.1 million recorded in the year before, while adjusted property EBITDA reached $376 million, beating market consensus. According to research from Bernstein, Wynn and Melco are expected to benefit the most from the growing premium mass market in China. This class currently comprises about 63 million people and is forecast to grow at a compound average rate of 7.4 percent through 2026. Wynn has also expressed an interest in obtaining a casino license for Japan, though has not been as aggressive on the ground as some of its peers.

SJM Holdings SJM Holdings (880:HK) has 20 casinos on the Macau Peninsula. The company’s results for Q3 disappointed analysts with a 16.5 percent decrease in profit to HK$428 million. Adjusted EBITDA for the group fell 10.4 percent to HK$726 million. It however, posted a small increase in gaming revenue for the third quarter of 2017, reaching HK$10 billion, an increase of 0.6 percent. In regards to gaming performance, SJM said it saw a rise in VIP revenue in the quarter, recording an increase of 7.4 percent. Mass market gaming revenue however fell 4.6 percent in the same period. The company has been losing market share while it completes construction of its Cotai IR, which most analysts now expect to open in 2019. Recently, the company’s Grand Lisboa Hotel was the title sponsor of a Dota 2 eSports tournament in December. It was the first international eSports competition held in Macau, with nine teams of contestants coming from around the world.

Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2018

Paradise Entertainment has welcomed new technical standards published by the Macau market regulator for the operation of dealer operated electronic table games. The new standards came into force from Jan 1 and provide a grace period for existing terminals to be upgraded to comply with the new rules. Any failing to comply after the grace period will be withdrawn from operations. The Dealer Operated Technical Standards Version 1.0 set out a definition for the game as well as the minimum technical standards. All game rules need to strictly adhere to rules for approved table games in Macau, while each machine must provide information in both Chinese and English. The game being played must at all times be clearly visible to the player, while each individual bet that has been placed must also be transparent.

MGM china MGM China (2282:HK) is operating a single casino on the peninsula. MGM China posted a 21 percent year-on-year decrease in adjusted EBITDA in 17Q3, slightly below market expectations. Net revenue decreased 5 percent to $471 million. Main floor table games revenue decreased 11 percent year-on-year, while table games revenue decreased 3 percent year-on-year. MGM has further pushed back the opening of its resort on Cotai to February due to licensing delays. MGM Cotai will have approximately 1,500 hotel rooms and suites, meeting spaces, high end spa, retail offerings and food and beverage outlets. The project has a jewellry-box design and 85 percent of its gross floor area will be dedicated to non-gaming facilities. On February 13, in anticipation of Chinese New Year, MGM will host the official grand opening ceremony and gala dinner to be officiated by government officials. Like its main competitors MGM is also actively seeking a license to operate in Japan.

China imposes new UnionPay limits China’s State Administration of Foreign Exchange has imposed new restrictions on UnionPay cards, effective on January 1, 2018, though the impact on Macau GGR is expected to be limited. ATM daily and annual cash withdrawal limits per card for both RMB cards and foreign currency cards will be unified to be RMB 10,000 ($1,540) per day and RMB 100,000 per year respectively. There had previously been no limit on foreign currency cards. The annual limit on RMB cards has been RMB 100,000. There is also a new personal limit of RMB100,000 per year per individual, irrespective of how many UnionPay accounts or cards that person may have. There had been no limits previously (i.e., an individual with multiple accounts cold withdraw RMB 100,000 per year on each account.


Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2018





China arrivals fuel growth China tourism arrivals to Cambodia topped the 1 million mark for the first time in 2017, setting the stage for continued gains in the country’s casino sector, which is currently seen as one of the most promising emerging markets in Asia.

Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2018


n the first 10 months of 2017, overall arrivals rose 10 percent to 4.3 million visitors, with China arrivals accounting for about 21.9 percent of the total. China overtook Vietnam to become the leading source market for the country, with visitor numbers up at least 45 percent to 950,000 in the period.. The year of 2017 will be the first year that Chinese tourists to the Southeast Asian country have surpassed the 1 million mark, Cambodian Tourism Minister Thong Khon told the Xinhua news agency in a recent interview. “It is a milestone year for tourism relations between our two countries,” he said. Cambodia is forecasting further gains for overall arrivals in 2018, helped by improved flight connections with China, while by 2020 it expects visitor numbers to exceed 7 million, with 2 million of those from China. Cambodia has adopted a “China Ready” tourism strategy aimed at boosting ties, including targeted marketing campaigns and special training for Cambodian hospitality staff to ensure they are able to meet the needs of Chinese guests. As of November, a total of 27 Cambodian tourism outlets, including restaurants and hotels, had been granted the official “China Ready” accreditation certifying they meet the service standards expected by the Chinese market. The country’s casino sector is also expanding in tandem with the rising tourism numbers. Cambodia has issued licenses to 79 operators and the standards are beginning to improve, with a gradual shift from the dusty border casinos catering to local Vietnamese and Thais crossing for a flutter on the tables to a higher-quality offering. “The Cambodian coastline is the hottest place to be right now for land based,” said Tim Shepherd, founder and managing director of Fortuna Investments. “What is being built there is nothing short of breathtaking. Its claim to be the “the next Pattaya” is becoming a reality. But with a difference as this one is going to have amazing resorts and of course casinos.” Much of the focus has been on the beach resort of Sihanoukville, which is being opened up by improved transport links. “With Air Asia’s recent start of a four times a week service from Kuala Lumpur, Sihanoukville now has a sufficient amount of airlift to grow its tourism market,” said Andrew Klebanow, partner at Global Market Advisors. “Add in additional flights from China and there is potential for significant growth in the market’s land-based casino offerings. Should another airline start direct flights from Bangkok, then Sihanoukville has tremendous


The Cambodian “ coastline is the hottest place to be right now for land based.

potential to develop into a true gaming-resort destination, assuming the development of a sound regulatory environment.” The government had been scheduled to pass long-delayed legislation for its casino sector in 2017, though as of publication it still has not seen the light of day. The gaming bill was submitted to the country’s cabinet in September and is expected to set out a new tax regime, as well as formalizing a system for licensing; regulation of junkets; accounting and reporting procedures; greater disclosures and anti money laundering rules. Ros Phearun, deputy director-general

of the Finance Ministry’s financial industry department, told local media that the bill will help the government to manage the fast-growing sector, but also to attract more large-scale foreign investment. Operators have said the bill may spark a shake out of the country’s smaller casinos. Cambodia only has two listed casino operators and the government doesn’t release official figures for gross gambling revenue. In 2016, the latest figures available, government tax revenue from the industry jumped 38 percent to $48 million, boosted in part by back taxes on non-gaming revenue collected from the country’s biggest operator Nagacorp. The operator reported another strong year in 2017 and also opened the second phase of its Phnom Penh resort, doubling the footprint of the property. Since its initial public offering in 2006, NagaCorp has proved to be one of Asia’s success stories, generating compound average revenue growth of 19 percent for each of the past five years and management expects that double-digit pace to continue.


VIP Market

503.7 531.6



450 350






25% US$101.8m

52% US$210.5m



19% US$74.5m

150 50 2012




2016 1H2016 1H2017

4% US$14.8m

(Source: Nagacorp)

Ha Tien Vegas drives beach clean up

Donaco wins case to shut Star Paradise

Ha Tien Vegas recently organized the biggest-ever clean up of the nearby Kep’s Angkol Beach in an ongoing community and environmental initiative. At least 220 volunteers, representing 40 percent of the casino’s workforce, gathered 10 tons of rubbish from the 1km stretch of Kep’s coastline. More than 700 bags of trash were ultimately hauled away in 12 trucks for proper disposal. “Not only did this day prove to be a positive event for the local environment, it was also a great team-building exercise for all our employees and management,” said Managing Director Rhys Jones.

Australia-listed Donaco International said it has won a court injunction to close the Star Paradise casino in Cambodia, which it says is operating in violation of a non-competition agreement signed when it bought its Star Vegas property in Poipet. The casino, which is operated by the former owners of the Star Vegas, had agreed at the time of the sale that it would not conduct gaming operations at the adjacent resort. The Banteay Meanchey Court of First Instance in Cambodia has now issued an interim injunction against the vendor, a Thai businessman named Somboon Sukcharoenkraisri and his two sons, who were also accused of breaching the accord.

Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2018



Legislation unlocks project floodgates Vietnam is gearing up for a busy year after the government finally signed two gaming decrees covering casinos and sports betting into law in 2017.


he law sets standards for the casino industry, such as a minimum capital investment of $2 billion and adds specifics such as the number of gaming tables and machines permitted per invested capital. Crucially, it also allows local Vietnamese to gamble for the first time in certain integrated resorts, such as on Phu Quoc and Van Don islands. International investors have already been circling Vietnam and the establishment of a regulatory regime is expected to trigger further interest. For example, Las Vegas Sands, has been in talks with the government and has expressed an interest in a resort in either Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City. So far the administration has given no indication it will permit an IR in the two main cities. As of now, Vietnam has about 50 gaming facilities, with more than 2,000 slots and 400 tables. Union Gaming, in a report last year, calculated that these properties are likely generating between $800 million and $1.2 billion a year, but the firm noted this estimate is highly conservative. Construction of new resorts is underway, with the Phu Quoc island integrated resort being readied to open around Tet in mid February 2018, the lunar New Year in Vietnam. The Van Don international airport is

scheduled to open sometime in March 2018 and the integrated resort there by the end of 2019. In January, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc agreed in principal to allow a casino to be added to the Laguna Lang Co resort in central Vietnam, with a likely 2021 opening date. At a working session with Thua Thien-Hue authorities on January 2, 2018, the government leader permitted the resort, which is operated by Singapore’s The Banyan Tree Holdings, to increase its total investment capital from $875 million to $2 billion, the Vietnam Investment Review reported. The newspaper cited a Banyan Tree spokesman as saying the license agreement would pave the way to begin work on a detailed project with an international investor to operate the casino. Last July, Hard Rock International confirmed it was an interested party. A project for an IR in the north, near the border with China, has also been revived. The Lang Son IR was granted a license in 2004 for a $5 billion mega-property with 100 tables, but work didn’t proceed. The project was to feature an international convention center, a mega mall, a 36-hole golf course and two fivestar hotels, as well as a casino. Ownership of the project is under negotiation and is being transferred from a Taiwanese group to a Chinese investment company.

The New Year 2018 - the Year of the Dog will certainly see the gaming flood gate opened and investors as well as operators will have a very busy year realizing their dream projects now that the legal framework is in place.

Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2018

A $4 billion project to build a resort in central Vietnam at the beach resort at Hoi An is also underway. Junket group Suncity Group Holdings, in late 2017, received shareholder approval for its acquisition of a 34 percent stake in the venture. The Hoi An project will consist of seven phases to be developed over a span of 13 years, which includes tourism areas, an integrated resort complex and residential areas. Phase 1 will consist of a world-class casino with a total of 140 gaming tables and 1,000 slot machines, an ultra-luxury Rosewood Hotels & Resorts, a 445-room hotel and 200 buy-to-let condos and a championship golf course-country club by Robert Trent Jones II. The government also set out its rules related to sports betting last year, though will only give out one five-year pilot license for soccer betting, which is seen as being the main prize. According to Augustine Ha Ton Vinh, an advisor to the government on gambling issues, well-known sports betting groups have expressed a strong interest. Vinh is optimistic about the future of gaming in Vietnam. “The New Year 2018 - the Year of the Dog will certainly see the gaming flood gate opened and investors as well as operators will have a very busy year realizing their dream projects now that the legal framework is in place,” he said.


Ho Tram begins condotel project

CASINO DISTRIBUTION Cambodian Border Casinos

Integrated Resorts

Small Casinos

China Hanoi




The Ho Tram Project Company said it has begun construction work on the next phase of the $4.2 billion Grand Ho Tram IR project in Vietnam, breaking ground for the Kahuna Ho Tram Strip Condotel and Villa Development. “With the commencement of piling today, we aim to be fully operational in early 2019. As the operator of the nation’s largest integrated resort, The Grand, we are uniquely qualified to develop a site that allows investors a chance to share in the fun and excitement that has come to define the Ho Tram Strip” said Executive Chairman of HTP Michael Kelly. Kahuna is the fifth phase of the Ho Tram Strip development, comprising of 164 condotel units, 36 double key villas and 8 villas with beach frontage.

Tourism arrivals lag ASEAN Ho Chi Minh

Vietnam had 10 million international tourists in 2017, generating revenue of $17.6 billion, but still lags other Southeast Asian nations such as Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore, tourism officials were cited as saying. Arrivals are expected to rise to 13 million this year, though Vietnam’s overall ranking remains poor due to a lack of hospitality products, such as theme parks, Luong Hoai Nam, deputy director general of Vietstar Airlines, was cited as telling a tourism seminar.

Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2018




Hokkaido White IR Initiative

Michael Penn

Special correspondent, AGB Nippon

Local government at the starting gates Operators and local prefectures were busy in 2017 laying the groundwork to pitch for IR licenses ahead of the enabling legislation. Heading into 2018, here is the current state of play.


omakomai (Hokkaido Prefecture) took the lead among all local governments in advancing its process, holding an RFI before anyone else and already is deeply engaged with a number of international operators. Tomakomai might face a rival bid from within

its northernmost prefecture, as three other localities have signaled some degree of interest in hosting an IR and Governor Harumi Takahashi has not shown her hand, but the local government is nevertheless decidedly proactive. Sasebo (Nagasaki Prefecture), on the opposite


side of the country, became the second local government to launch its RFI process near the end of the year. Here all the local authorities appear to be behind the project to build an IR as an overlay to the existing Huis Ten Bosch theme park. While this may become a relatively small project, its chances for success look good. Osaka (Osaka Prefecture) is the only major urban location that is aggressively bidding to host an IR, and they are regarded as practically a shoo-in to receive one of the first licenses. The Yumeshima location will require a huge investment, including a major upgrade of the surrounding transportation infrastructure, but there is a strong chance that Osaka will become the premiere IR in the first round of construction. Wakayama (Wakayama Prefecture) has a governor and a mayor strongly committed to building a small, resort-style IR at Marina City, but it appears to face steeper odds of gaining a license than the other three cities on this list. Waiting for Yokohama Had this overview been written at the end of 2016 instead of the end of 2017, it would likely have been the major city of Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture, that headed the list. There’s no doubt that the big international operators would be lining up to bid for Yokohama’s Yamashita Pier location, particularly in mind of its easy access to the entire 36 million-strong Kanto region population. However, Mayor Fumiko Hayashi is facing re-election against two candidates fiercely opposed to hosting a casino. The local business community, meanwhile, has sent mixed signals. Many of them are suggesting that Yokohama’s economy will do just fine even if Yamashita Pier is redeveloped without including a politically controversial casino. If Yokohama jumps back into the IR race in 2018, that would be a transformative development—but for now it remains passive and is the single-biggest question mark within the local government landscape. Other Candidates If one assumes that the Japanese government will begin by licensing only two or three IRs in the initial round, then the selected locations are likely to be among those already mentioned above. However, there are other proposals that either seem to be long-shots

or else places that may become stronger candidates in a potential second round of IR building in the 2030s. Some internationally-based analysts believe that Tokyo is still a potential IR candidate, perhaps at its Odaiba location. That may be true as regards a potential second round in the 2030s, but there’s no indication that the city government has the bandwidth to simultaneously manage the hosting of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and a bid for a major IR. Other regional governments which might bid in the initial round but appear to be long-shots are Kitahiroshima city and Rusutsu village in Hokkaido. After that comes an assortment of cities where some local institution has proposed an IR bid, but the local governments have not yet committed themselves either way. In this basket are Tokoname of Aichi Prefecture, Iwanuma of Miyagi Prefecture, Narita of Chiba Prefecture, and a handful of others. The Timeline Ahead The basic expectation is that the IR Implementation Bill will be passed this year, probably at the end of the Ordinary Diet Session in June. If so, the basic timeline should look rather like the following: FY2018 — IR Implementation Law enacted FY2019 — Local governments select their IR consortium partners FY2020 — Central government issues IR licenses to two or three local bids FY2024 — First Japanese IRs open their doors Operators It was somewhat more difficult to assess the relative chances of the various IR operators in the emerging race. MGM Resorts, Caesars Entertainment, Melco Resorts & Entertainment, Hard Rock International, Galaxy Entertainment, and Barrière took the lead in terms of establishing their ground game within the country. Las Vegas Sands put on the single-most expensive media and social event of the year, but hasn’t yet opened a local office. Other major operators, such as Genting and Wynn Resorts, made statements expressing interest in making Japanese bids, but their practical activities—if there were any—took place mostly behind the scenes. Some smaller operators, like Rush Street Gaming and Clairvest, took aim at specific regional sites, especially Tomakomai and Sasebo.


GGR $5b - $10b

(Source: CLSA)

(Source: Fitch)

GGR 2030E $24.2b from six locations

GGR 2025 $20b (Source: Morgan Stanley)

(Source: Global Market Advisor)

Pachinko co. Heiwa proposes $2b IR plan Heiwa Corporation, a major privatelyowned manufacturer of pachinko and pachislot machines, has put forward its own plan to build a Japanese IR, this one in the city of Kitahiroshima, on the southern outskirts of Sapporo City. The plan calls for an IR to be built upon the existing Sapporo Kitahiroshima Golf Club (a 2.8 million square meter site) and would feature the addition of an exhibition hall that could accommodate 5,000 people, a five-star 2000-room hotel, Asia’s largest land art museum, an outdoor theater, hot springs, and facilities for skiing and snowboarding. Heiwa envisions forming a consortium with an international IR operator and local businesses with a combined initial investment of close to US$2 billion, and ultimately employing almost 20,000 people.

JRA adopts third-party exclusion policies The Japan Racing Association (JRA) began implementing third-party gambling addiction exclusions at the end of December, heralding a new direction in Japanese policy expected to apply not only to current forms of gambling, but also to the IRs likely to open in the mid-2020s. The JRA’s new policy allows family members to request that their loved ones who are diagnosed with gambling disorders, or else strongly suspected of pathological gambling due to their spending habits, be placed on a list that suspends their participation in online horse race betting. While the JRA’s initiative immediately applies only to online horse betting (and not even at the horse tracks themselves, nor at off-track betting booths), it is expected to become an anti-addiction policy template for other forms of gambling within Japan.

Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2018



Tour ban knocks revenues South Korea’s foreigner-only casinos faced another tough year in 2017, falling victim this time to a political spat with China.


he latest setback came just as the country’s casino sector was recovering from an outbreak of Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome in 2015 that caused tourism to plunge. This time it was a dispute with Beijing, which retaliated for Seoul’s decision to deploy U.S. anti-missile defences by banning tour groups to the country. It was also another warning for foreign investors of the risk of venturing into a market

where locals are for the most part not permitted to gamble. Kangwon Land operates the only casino that allows South Koreans entry in a remote part of the country. China eased the tour group ban, which had been in place since March, in November only to seemingly do a u-turn a month later, creating further uncertainty. The Bank of Korea estimated that South Korea suffered a loss of 5 trillion won ($4.6


Kangwon Land told to trim opening hours, cut tables

Bullfighting Sports Toto

Casino Kangwon Land Casino Only Foreigners

Lottery Motorboat Racing

Horse Racing Bicycle Racing

(Source: National Gambling Control Commission)

Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2018

Kangwon Land was ordered by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism to cut its hours and the number of mass tables it operates. It was told to reduce its daily operations from a maximum of 20 hours per day to 18. The maximum number of mass tables is being lowered by 20 to a limit of 160 tables. The company, which operates the only casino in South Korea in which locals are allowed to gamble, said the table reduction would have no immediate impact as it has only been offering about 130 tables over the past year.

billion) in 2017 due to the decreasing number of Chinese tourists, which had accounted for almost half of the total foreign visitors to the country. Last year tourists from the mainland fell by 50 percent to 4 million. The ban only affects tour groups and not independent travel, therefore the VIP market was less affected. Still, it has taken its toll. Paradise, which operates the Walker Hill casino and opened the country’s first IR in April, reported that casino revenue fell almost 9 percent in 2017. Revenue was approximately KRW551.86 billion (US$517.3 million), compared to about KRW603.75 billion in 2016. Full-year 2017 table revenue went down by 9.2 percent yearon-year to nearly KRW515.42 billion, from approximately KRW567.81 billion a year earlier. However, machine revenue was up by 1.4 percent in 2017, to KRW36.45 billion, from KRW35.94 billion in the previous year. The operator has been focusing on boosting arrivals from other Asian countries to offset the decline from China and to increase VIP traffic. Its third quarter figures, the latest detailed report available, showed it has been having some success. At its IR, which is a joint venture with Japan’s Sega Sammy, Q3 Japanese VIP drop was up 116 percent, while its VIP drop from elsewhere was up 176 percent. Elsewhere, there have been further delays for the opening of the casino at the Jeju Shinhwa World resort, which is owned by Hong Konglisted Landing International Development, due to issues with the transfer of its license. The company had planned to transfer its permit to operate a casino from the Grand Hyatt Jeju to the new IR, which held its soft opening in September. However, the transfer appears to have hit legal issues.

Lottery nears all-time high Sales of lottery tickets in South Korea neared a record high in 2017 of KRW3.79 trillion (US$3.4 billion), just short of the 2003 record high of KRW3.82 trillion - due mainly to a buying frenzy that year due to prizes carried over from previous drawings. Sales fell 13.7 percent in the following year and continued to fall as the government restricted the carryover of prize money to one time only and halved the price of each game to KRW1,000. A rebound was only observed in 2014. According to local media, market observers have attributed the increase in lottery sales to youth unemployment and public concerns over economic conditions.


Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2018



Tax changes ring investor alarm bells Russia has passed a bill that doubles tax rates for both land-based casinos and bookmakers, with even more hikes in the pipeline, raising concern the ever shifting sands of regulation are changing the outlook for the industry and threatening foreign investment.


teve Gallaway, managing partner at Global Market Advisors, says the “changes to the tax regime are devastating for the IEZ (Integrated Entertainment Zone) in Primorye,” referring to the most developed of Russia’s gaming zones. In late November, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a bill into law that doubles the gambling tax rates local governments are allowed to levy. The Finance Ministry also recently reiterated there is more to come, saying it plans to boost gambling taxes tenfold by 2020. Though

in late December, the law was amended again to exclude casinos from a controversial requirement to collect tax on winnings. The tax proposals from the federal government, which is seeking to close a widening budget gap, have cast further uncertainty onto the stability of the regulatory framework in Russia. In 2009, President Vladimir Putin announced he was shutting down the country’s casinos and setting up a series of five gambling zones in remote locations around the country. Since then, new zones have been proposed and some existing


Rolling chip turnover

6.000 5.000 4.000


Total table drop


3.000 2.000 1.000 0

Q4 2015 (audited)




2016 (audited)

Ho sells Summit Ascent stake, steps down as chairman Lawrence Ho has sold his entire stake in Summit Ascent Holdings and stepped down as chairman of the company. Ho held 1.34 percent directly and a further 16.03 percent through his wholly owned Quick Glitter company. He began paring down his holdings in September, cutting his stake from 27 percent to 17 percent. Summit Ascent appointed Kuo Jen Hao as its new chairman. Kuo chairs Taiwan-listed shipping operator First Steamship Co Ltd, which recently announced that it intends to acquire a 12.67 percent in the operator.

Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2018






2017 (audited)

Bookies say tax to favor online business Russia’s latest tax hikes are likely to hobble expansion of land-based bookmakers, favoring a push to the online sector, Darina Denisova, head of the Bookmakers Self Regulatory Organisation, warned. Online bookmakers will find it easier to comply with new tax requirements due to their lower cost base. “Our industry got used to surviving and developing despite circumstances. And land-based bookmakers, who focused on developing their networks of betting shops, as opposed to online ones, will be primarily affected and they are likely to already be drafting new plans to diversify client services,” she said.

ones, such as Azov City, told to close. Unlike in Macau and most other jurisdictions, Russia doesn’t levy tax on a percentage of gaming revenue, but charges a fee on each gaming table and machine in operation. Local governments can set their own tax rate based on a range stipulated by the Russian Federation’s tax code. Summit Ascent Holdings, the operator of Tigre de Cristal in the Primorye zone, told local authorities that the changes could have a potential negative impact on the bottom line. The company said it had contacted the local government and been told that the authority intends to propose to the local Duma that taxes be maintained at current levels as they already fall within the stated range. Primorye charges RUB125,000 per table and RUB7,500 per slot machine. However, it said there is no guarantee that the Primorsky Duma would approve such a proposal. The company estimated that if the draft bill becomes law and the Primorsky authorities opt to levy gaming tax at the highest possible rate permitted, there would be “a negative impact of approximately RUB9.02 million on the monthly gaming tax payable by Tigre de Cristal, equivalent to an annual negative impact of approximately RUB108.24 million (approximately $1.86 million). Gallaway said the tax changes are likely to affect future investment plans. “I would expect that this sudden increase would result in other potential developers deciding not to move forward with their plans in eastern Russia. With such an unstable regulatory environment, an operator would be remiss to place fresh capital into the Vladivostok region,” he said. “The IEZ had the potential to increase tourism to Vladivostok and be a showcase to the world. Unfortunately, the lack of stability in Russian public policy has killed this opportunity.”


Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2018





Queensland shines in dull market Queensland continues to attract international investor interest in its casino market and is expected to see progress in new licenses being issued this year, though sentiment towards the market as a whole is lacklustre amidst flat revenue and rising regulatory pressure.

Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2018


lans to develop a global tourism hub, including a casino, in the town of Cairns have moved a step closer, with the project proceeding to the public consultation stage. The favored spot for the tourism hub is at the Cairns City Port precinct, noted Tourism Industry Development Minister Kate Jones. However, she said that while the project is an exciting proposition for the region, the government would not proceed without feedback from locals. “We’ve seen the benefits of the $3 billion Queen’s Wharf Brisbane project and a global tourism hub in Cairns would deliver much needed tourism infrastructure for North Queensland,” she said. The project is expected to include six-star hotels, apartment towers and luxury retail. It will also consider options for a casino. This may involve the expansion of the nearby Reef Hotel Casino, or a new project. Further down the coast, development continues to transform the city center of Maroochydore on the Sunshine Coast. The 53-hectare greenfield site is being turned into a business hub, which will also include a premium hotel, entertainment and MICE facilities and potentially a casino. The Sunshine Coast has doubled its regional economy over the past decade to A$16 billion and has established strong links with the Asia Pacific and Middle Eastern regions. Local developer SunCentral CEO John Knaggs told local media the company has received interest from multiple companies since it requested Expressions of Interest for the project. According to local media, Hong Konglisted NagaCorp, the operator of Cambodia’s biggest casino, recently scouted out the site, sending a high-level delegation of executives, including Chairman Timothy McNally and global architects Steelman Partners, for a fly-in-fly-out site inspection. Global Market Advisors partner Andrew Klebanow predicts two new licenses will be issued in Queensland this year. “The current casino-hotel offerings have grown tired and the government recognizes that nothing stimulates capital investment from existing operators more effectively than new competition,” he said. “Queensland offers major casino operators a robust regulatory environment, a fair tax rate, and great airlift into a number of cities, which is appealing to travelers from Asian countries, particularly China.” However, any new projects are likely to


be far less ambitious than the multi-billion dollar propositions that came from Tony Fung’s Aquis Group and the ASF Consortium in the first round of bidding. Those A$8 billion plus investments were criticized at the time for being too large for the market to support and the crash in the VIP market following the arrest of Crown Resorts employees in 2016 further soured investor appetite. Local spending has been lacklustre and Australia has also seen rising anti-gambling sentiment. Recently released figures for the 2015/2016 fiscal year show total gambling expenditure rose 3.9 percent, though the strongest growth was recorded in the sports betting sector, with a gain of 13 percent. Expenditure in casinos was flat, edging ahead just 0.4 percent. Pokies fared better, with spending on machines in pubs and clubs up 4.2 percent. “The domestic market has plateaued, and business from China is expected to decline,” according to 2018 predictions from GamePlan Consultants’ founder Sudhir Kale “While high investments in facilities are expected to continue on the part of Crown and Star, it is doubtful whether these investments will pay off like they did in the past. To muddy the waters further, there exists little appetite among politicians to support gambling in Australia.” The Liberal National Party has already vowed to oppose the inclusion of a casino in the Maroochydore project and LNP MP Andrew Wallace has started a petition to encourage residents to reject the plan. Crown Resorts is pushing ahead with its domestic investment program, though has been selling off assets worldwide to reduce its debt. It recently finalized the sale of its interest in Alon Las Vegas for $300 million and said it will offload its shares in Caesars Entertainment Corp, which are worth about $54 million. The operator has also agreed to sell part of its interest in Ellerston, a private golf course in the Hunter Valley meant for its VIP customers, for A$62.5 million and agreed in-principle to sell two floors of the Crown Sydney Residences at the Crown Sydney Hotel Resort to James Packer for A$60 million, which has been approved by Crown’s independent directors. Finally, Crown also reaffirmed that it is in discussions with the CrownBet management team for a potential sale of Crown’s 62 percent interest in CrownBet, together with any loans advanced by Crown to CrownBet for A$150 million.

GROSS GAMING REVENUE Total gambling expenditure 2017 $23.65b


Casinos $5.19b


Gaming machines $12.07b


Sports betting $920.6m Racing $2.94b

+13% +4.1%

Liberal Party pledges to keep pokies alive The Tasmanian Liberal Party has promised to keep pokies in Tasmanian pubs and clubs if it is returned to power in the upcoming March election, countering a pledge by the Tasmanian Labor Party that it will remove the machines from noncasino venues by 2023 if it’s victorious in the poll. “We respect the fact that gaming and gambling is a lawful activity,” Premier Will Hodgman said. “‘We fundamentally believe that Tasmanians should be able to exercise choice and to participate in gambling activities in its various forms. We are not a government or political party that believes in dictating to people.” The government also reiterated its plan to break a monopoly held on electronic gaming machines by Federal Group.

Tabcorp shutters Luxbet Tabcorp is planning to close online bookmaker Luxbet following its $11 billion merger with Tatts Group. Customers were told that bets would no longer be taken after Dec. 22. “In August, Tabcorp Holdings Limited (Tabcorp) announced it was undertaking a strategic review of its Luxbet business,” media cited the company as saying. “The review has determined that Luxbet is no longer aligned with the long-term strategic interests of Tabcorp and as a result, Luxbet will be closed.” Account holders were given until Jan. 19 to withdraw funds in their accounts.

Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2018



Labor pains Tourist arrivals to the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands surged 30 percent in 2017, helped by improved transport links and infrastructure, though labor shortages continue to plague the development of resorts on the islands.


n November, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced it was scaling back the number of temporary foreign workers the CNMI is able to import, triggering warnings of dire consequences from local business. USCIS in November set the CW-1 cap for fiscal year 2018 at 9,998—a reduction of 3,000 slots from 2017. The drop in the CNMI-Transitional Worker program came in preparation for its eventual expiry in 2019. The local government has been lobbying President Donald Trump’s administration hard for a reprieve, as the CNMI does not have enough local labor to push through some of the large-scale development projects on the islands. The population of the CNMI is just over 52,000 with 90 percent based on the main island of Saipan, according to the CIA World Handbook. The issue is yet another headache for Hong Kong-listed Imperial Pacific, which is building by far the biggest resort on Saipan. The project has already been hit by numerous delays and by ongoing labor issues, including the discovery of hundreds of illegal workers from China on its construction site. There is now concern the labor shortages may cause a further slippage in the August 2018 date set for completion of the resort. The glitzy casino opened last year, though no other facilities are available. “The biggest issue is the [lack of] workers,” IPI construction project director Eric Poon told the island’s casino commission. Poon said more workers were due to leave in December due to the CW-1 cuts for the 2018 fiscal year. As of late last year, IPI had a total of 207 workers at the construction site, down from

Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2018

291 a few weeks prior. “People have started leaving and their numbers are going down due to the CW issue,” he said. On neighboring Tinian, which has an estimated population of just 3,000, securing construction labor to move proposed projects ahead is even more vital. “It is important to note that without the CW1 program, it’s greatly impacting ['developers' interested in Tinian] in moving forward,” local lawmakers said in a joint statement. Tinian Mayor Joey Patrick San Nicolas told local media that even if all U.S.-qualified workers on Tinian were to be employed, it would still not be enough to meet the three developers’ workforce needs. “I think we all agree that one day, we will have the capacity for local, trained, U.S.-eligible workers that will fill all the positions required for there to be a viable casino or service-based industry in the Commonwealth, especially on Tinian, but

we are not there yet,” he said, adding that both Tinian and Rota depend on CW-1 workers as both islands are on the “verge of development.” There are currently three developers interested in a casino project on Tinian. Bridge Investment and Alter City are seeking to build new resorts, while Tinian Entertainment Corp has expressed an interest in reviving the Tinian Dynasty Hotel & Casino, which was shuttered in 2016 due to federal fines. According to local media, it took about 1,500 workers to build the Tinian Dynasty, while 1,300 were needed for its operation. Tourism on Tinian, long hobbled by a lack of infrastructure and transport links, hit a major milestone in January with the completion of the long-delayed international airport terminal. The island welcomed its first direct flight from Hong Kong. The journey took about four hours and cut out the need to transfer from neighbouring Saipan.



Market share

Monthly Arrivals

FY 2017

36% China

80,000 60,000

50% Korea

40,000 20,000 0












2% Guam 7% Japan


5% Other

(Source: MVA)

CNMI gets China travel award

Brown quits IPI

The Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands was named Best Island Travel Destination at the 4th Shenzhen International Tourism Expo in China. “We are extremely grateful to the 4th Shenzhen International Tourism Expo for selecting the Marianas to receive this award, which tells us we are on the right track as far as meeting the expectations of our visitors and giving them a memorable experience in our islands,” Marianas Visitors Authority managing director Christopher A. Concepcion was cited as saying by local media. Nearly 230,000 mainland Chinese tourists visited the Marianas last fiscal year, accounting for 35 percent of total visitor arrivals.

Imperial Pacific International has confirmed the departure of its chairman, Mark Brown. The company, in a press release, said that he made the decision to retire from his current position to “pursue other projects closer to his family in the mainland United States. Mr. Brown’s leadership and expertise were a major contribution to IPI’s success,” said the company. Brown’s last working day for IPI was December 20, 2017.

Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2018




AML laws seen lacking teeth Casino operators in the Philippines now have to comply with the country’s new anti-money laundering regulations, though some industry experts say the rules are still are not strong enough.




resident Rodrigo Duterte signed the 9 percent in combined gross gaming revenue amended Anti-Money Laundering Act especially as Entertainment City continues to (AMLA) of 2001 to include casinos open up,” he said. under the definition of “covered Mel Georgie Racela, executive director of persons” when it comes to AML in July last the AMLC Secretariat pointed to the fact that year. This includes land-based, ship-board introducing new AML frameworks in other and online operations. The rules came into jurisdictions had not harmed profit. force in January. “I want to cite the study done by The changes follow the audacious 2016 heist PricewaterhouseCoopers. In Singapore in that saw $2 billion stolen from Bangladesh’s 2013 when they adopted the Casino Control central bank. From that amount $81 million Act, their gaming market amounted to $5.8 found its way into accounts at the Rizal billion it then grew to $7 billion. I think the Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC) Philippines will be the same- no negative in the Philippines before disappearing into impact,” he said. the casino industry. According to PAGCOR, this amendment According to investigators from the National won’t have a big impact on the casinos of Bureau of Investigation, the perpetrators likely Entertainment City as most of the international chose the Philippines because of the weakness operators already have their own in-house system of its money laundering laws. guarding them against money laundering in Now, under the amended AMLA law, accordance with their head offices. gaming operators must report any single casino “We already had comprehensive KYC systems cash transaction that involves more than PHP5 in place, even prior to the new AML law coming million (US$100,000) or its equivalent in any into effect. There will be more administrative other currency. Each work, but the additional individual casino will also costs aren’t material,” a be required to establish Solaire spokesperson said. The entry into internal programs for Salvosa says that it’s the prevention of money the state-owned PAGCOR the Philippines laundering to match ones affiliated casinos that will in the coverage currently implemented have to adjust. of the AML is still by financial institutions. Casinos will first be According to Senator asked to establish policies only one aspect Francis Escudero, chairman andprocedureinaccordance in the gaming of the Senate committee with AMLA, which will be on banks, the new law written into their respective industry. will put more teeth into programs. The casino the existing AMLA. boards of directors are the However Ben Lee, ones ultimately responsible managing partner at IGamiX Management for ensuring compliance with AMLA. The & Consulting,doubted the amendment will appropriate government agencies will be there have much effect. to test if casinos are cooperating. AMLC can “The AML threshold is over high for a also wield authority to conduct their own relatively low volume market. The threshold compliance check. is similar to Macau’s but the level of bets and Salvosa said one the main concerns from volume are vastly different. It’s merely a cosmetic players is the requirement to divulge information band-aid for all the reasons above. The AML before being able to gamble. should be lower and in line with the banking “We have to take measures to soften the AML requirements,” he said. impact. We will implement an information Casinos will have three months after the drive where we will inform our players that they new anti-money laundering act comes into force have nothing to fear and that their information to join the Anti-Money Laundering Council’s would be safeguarded and not unnecessarily reporting system. disclosed. There will initially be questions and Arnold Salvosa, vice-president of PAGCOR reluctance,” he said. is confident the new rules won’t affect future Another concern from casino operators profits. “The entry into the Philippines in the and customers is the requirement for customer coverage of the AML is still only one aspect identification. “Casinos in the Philippines in the gaming industry. The prediction is are located inside or in striking distance of that the Philippines will grow by more than restaurants or shops, unlike the set up in

Singapore where you cannot enter the gaming area without passing through a certain door. We will now require customer identification documents upon entry. We are trying to discuss this with our government agencies as to how we can address this concern,” Racela added.

GROSS GAMING REVENUE GGR (IRs only) 2017 P110.4b


2018E P145.6b


2019E P177.3b

+22% (Source: Morgan Stanley)

NTRC proposes entrance fee hike The Philippines’ national tax think-tank has recommended an increase in the entrance fees required for players to enter casinos in the country, and to make their collection compulsory. In a research report titled “Proposed Imposition of Casino Entrance Fee.”, the National Tax Research Center (NTRC) said that an amendment and enforcement of the Executive Order (EO) No. 48 issued in 1993 would be all that is needed to impose a casino entrance fee in the country. According to the EO, Pagcor has been authorized since 1993 to collect a qualifying fee from casino players of not less than P100 per player, gathered in the form of coupons. However, the fee has been viewed as optional.

CEZA woos investors with infrastructure pledge Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA) CEO Raul Lambino says CEZA is implementing initiatives and various infrastructure support projects in an effort to attract investment to the zone. He told a forum late last year that the authority wants to promote the zone as a new growth center for the North and the next transhipment and logistics hub in the Asean region. Lambino said he will jump start the construction of a multi-storey corporate center; a world class medical center; a boutique hotel and duty free premium outlets, as well as a power plant, expressways; IRs; water, sewerage and waste services. The move comes amidst a shakeup of online regulation in the Philippines, with the government clamping online companies with CEZA licenses in practice operating out of Manila.

Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2018


It’s more fun in the Philippines Manila’s integrated resorts are estimated to have chalked up an impressive 27 percent gain in 2017, with Morgan Stanley predicting a surge of 32 percent this year as Okada Manila, the newcomer to the market, ramps up.

The Philippines are benefiting from steady growth in tourism arrivals, which are driving VIP revenue, while the expanding economy is putting more money in the pockets of locals. It’s a winning combination for Manila’s operators, both on the gaming and non-gaming side of their business. In our Philippine focus, we speak to operators on the ground to hear their views on what will be driving the market going forward. The executives will expand further on the theme at the upcoming ASEAN Gaming Summit in March, where they will feature on a keynote operator panel.

Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2018


Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2018


Targeted expansion Solaire Resort & Casino, owned by Bloomberry Resorts, was the first IR to open its doors in Entertainment City. The $1.2 billion property, on an 8.2 hectare site, made its debut in March 2013 and expanded with the opening of the Sky Tower in late 2014. The company is now looking at further expansion with a resort in Quezon City, adjacent to Manila.


he most recent available figures for Solaire have shown strong growth, with record Q3 mass table drop and gross gambling revenue from electronic gaming machines; VIP volumes slipped a bit year-on-year but increased nicely on a sequential basis. President & Chief Operating Officer Thomas Arasi spoke to AGB about his views on the market and future expansion plans. AGB: When do you expect to begin construction on the Quezon City resort? Our design development team has been progressing well with many factors being considered. High on this list of factors is the emerging MICE market in QC. The City has been missing a world class MICE facility. Also domestic tourism should also be considered besides our bullish projections on foreign tourists’ visitation. With all of these new and important considerations, such as MICE for the IR position that we will bring to QC, we are planning to break ground by late 2018. AGB: How will it compare in terms of amenities with Solaire? It will also be “Solaire” branded with the same quality and pedigree. It will have a somewhat smaller land footprint which will necessitate a more vertical massing and design, a more complex design and streamlined public space. The location in Metro-Manila will be for local guests as well as international clientele from up north; namely the Clark-Subic area. We expect a highly synergistic customer service equation benefiting from the complimentary geographic locations of QC and EC and the sharing of services and amenities of the two “sister” properties. At present, there is no 5-star hospitality complex serving the 10 million-person catchment area, which Solaire Quezon City will fulfill. AGB: Do you have any further expansion plans in the Philippines, perhaps Pagcor casinos? Overall, no other location in the Philippines can match Entertainment City: It is centrally located

Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2018

between the top areas of Metro-Manila to the north and NAIA Airport adjacent to us, immediately to the south. There is superb proximity to NAIA airport, which is less than 10 minutes door-to-door. Solaire E.C. is in the middle of the nation’s top economic zip codes and next to 130 international flights per day (which partly explains why Solaire has so many international guests). Also, Entertainment City—with 4 world-class Integrated Resorts—has a critical mass, desired by gamers and hospitality/ entertainment patrons, that no other “neighborhood” in the Philippines can ever hope to match. We would look at the Pagcor casinos for strategic and financial opportunities and arguably will be “well-positioned” to buy. However, our interest will depend on the property by property circumstances and economics and would only be considered if such investment augments our current strategy. AGB: What about expansion outside of the Philippines? Our Chairman, Mr. Razon has, in the past, indicated his interest in Japan, Vietnam and Argentina. We will look opportunistically at expansion outside of the Philippines. In the meantime, between Quezon City, Phase 2 in Entertainment City and various “re-purposing” projects within our existing Solaire, Bloomberry has an amazing development pipeline here in our home country…in our own backyard…where we control the land, the assets and opportunities for management synergies and operations “complexing.” AGB: Pagcor is selling the land Solaire stands on. What advantage would it be to buy it? Acquiring the land has many strategic and financial advantages for Bloomberry. It strengthens our growth story by allowing maximum discretion/ control in the composition, timing, phasing and permitting of Phase 2 and virtually eliminates future regulatory risks to ownership and title. Solaire’s unified underlying land ownership, with ownership of the improvements will increase our valuation multiple, long-term. Entertainment City land prices will continue to increase, thus driving Bloomberry’s economic


Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2018


valuation as owner vs. tenant of our land. It also avoids future land rental expense increases which, ultimately, will be more expensive than the cost of debt. The questions we’re getting about whether to buy the land seem to have a quarterlyresults perspective. In my 4½ years of working for Mr. Razon, he is very demanding about quarterly results…. But, never by sacrificing long-term, smart, strategic decisions. Buying our land is of great long-term benefit and very, very strategically well-founded. It will be financed with a combination of debt and equity. Solaire has a very strong balance sheet and borrows at attractive cost of capital in actual terms as well as being attractive compared with the expected future strong rate of land appreciation in our underlying land. The company valuation multiple increase, solidification of our development growth story and land appreciation will strengthen our balance sheet over the strategic horizon. AGB: Q3 results showed solid growth in all metrics in the Philippines, is there any area you would like to see an improvement? Yes, we had an outstanding Q3 as well as YTD 2017. We’ve shown very strong growth in volumes, revenue and profits. Our brand is strengthening and our footprint is growing briskly. We are a Forbes 5-star property. Areas of improvement? Well, yes – EVERYWHERE! Part of our brand and Mr. Razon’s drive is to compete with ourselves, striving for perfection and for greater results. So, we need to improve in everything that we do. AGB: Do you see any risks to the immediate outlook...renewed political tension with China? We do not. In fact, it’s probably the most stable and predictable during our five years of existence. As to China, our visitation has increased and continues to grow robustly. Nothing on the horizon leads us to conclude that the political and operating environment going forward won’t be at least as attractive as has been recently. AGB: How do you see the market evolving next year? The locals market will continue growing in line with the growth presently characterizing the Philippines economy, but international

Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2018

visitation will continue to outpace domestic growth as the Philippines and Solaire become better known and “mainstream” to Integrated Resort guests and players globally. AGB: How fast is international visitation growing and what is the revenue distribution split now between local and international? We don’t issue precise international growth figures but currently the majority of our revenue in VIP is international. Within mass, international is not yet the

majority but is a very large percentage which is growing even faster than domestic revenue. The Philippines is ver y well positioned to grow international revenue faster than other IR markets in Asia. It has outstanding international air-service connectivity; excellent proximity/central location to the top feeder markets in Asia and the world’s best hospitality…as only Filipinos can deliver! The English-speaking common denominator helps as well as the fact that all other foreign languages are available through our


economies in Asia. Also, Filipinos are very social and entertainment-seeking which is consistent with the character and attractiveness of Integrated Resorts. AGB: How is the mix between VIP and mass evolving and do you have plans to sign further junket operators? Given our current balance between VIP and Mass and the source and nature of those two segments’ growth profiles, we expect the mix to remain roughly the same. Quezon City will be very convenient for many of our existing Metro-Manila guests, VIP and Mass guests as well as non-gamers (MICE, Restaurant, Entertainment, etc.). In Entertainment city, our Phase 2, with its very large scale development potential, numerous additional guest rooms, F&B, amenities, casino, retail and entertainment, in conjunction with proximity to our international airport, will generate lots of international VIP and Premium Mass. So, we should maintain our rough balance between VIP and mass, on the one hand, and slots and tables on the other hand. It’s a fantastic operating and financial model, similar to the two major Integrated Resorts in Singapore. AGB: Resorts are opening around Asia, is the increasing competition a concern?

Team Member population. Filipino culture is a fascinating blend of “east and west” which is a nice travel and gaming experience setting in which to operate a world-class Integrated Resort. The Philippines and Entertainment City feature world-class properties; strong hospitality and entertainment amenities; excellent, state-of-the-art gaming tables and slots and a market that responds very strongly to customized promotions and offers based on a patron’s profile and desired experience.

AGB: How do you see that picture changing five years down the line? International visitation should pick up steam for the reasons above, plus: The Philippines is a magnificent, beautiful and memorable travel destination, though still somewhat unknown, and is nowhere near its enormous potential. This should mean above trend-line growth in international. Domestic patronage and revenue should continue to grow strongly. The Philippines is one of the fastest growing and dynamic

Asia is still way under-penetrated in Integrated Resorts. Way under-penetrated. There are only two caveats to that: It must be very high quality to make the successful Integrated Resort model work and justify the investment, and there may be short term “blips” in performance as major new properties open until the point at which the supply is absorbed. But, in Macau, Singapore and Las Vegas, we’ve seen how the demand is there, especially for high-quality properties and strong operators. AGB: Are you participating in proxy betting? Industry observers throw around terms loosely. To me, “proxy” betting is phone betting in which we do not participate. AGB: Are you seeing any emerging trends on the casino floor? The constant product innovation and guest impact in the EGM space is amazing. The slot manufacturers seemingly reinvent,

Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2018


improve and push the envelope a-la Apple. It is, though, so darn expensive; hard to keep up! As a sector, ETG’s continue to gain traction in most markets, including the Philippines. AGB: What do you see as being unique about the Philippine gamer? It’s perhaps not “unique” but rare. The Filipino gamer has a high incidence of going out and playing in groups—fellow family members; college friends; social circles, etc.; is highly social and has a good time; not quite as serious as the play you see in Macau. There’s a great balance between tables and slots; more crossover players as most other markets’ players are almost exclusively “table-dominant” or “slot dominant.” AGB: How much potential is there for non-gaming attractions? “Resort,” as we call non-gaming, has historically been relatively small but its growth rate has been even higher than the gaming revenue growth rate. As I mentioned, we are a Forbes 5 star and so Solaire’s quality is becoming more recognizable and more “institutionalized” and accepted and that has really been paying dividends. Five years ago, when we were marketing Resort-customer rooms and invited people to Entertainment City, we would get blank stares. Now—if we only had more rooms! Our restaurants have really picked up. Recently 3 of the top 5 Trip Advisor-ranked Metro-Manila restaurants (of more than 6,500 restaurants) were Solaire’s—Yakumi (numerous times #1); Finestra and Lucky Noodles. The Theater at Solaire is unquestionably the nicest Theater in the Philippines and one of the top in Asia. Our theater has huge momentum and is doing a lot to enrich Filipino culture while attracting both locals and foreigners to our programming. For example, Aliw Awards, the prestigious award-giving body for promoting Filipino music, has chosen The Theatre at Solaire to be the recipient of a special award for our efforts to support and promote OPM (Original Pilipino Music) In my opinion, we have the best collection of luxury shops in the Philippines at The Shoppes at Solaire. Our luxury collection is anchored by Louis Vuitton which we opened earlier this year and which is the first new Louis Vuitton in the Philippines in more than 20 years.

Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2018


Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2018


Gaining strength from adversity Resorts World Manila (RWM) is owned by Travellers International Hotel Group Inc. (TIHGI) – a publicly listed company wherein Alliance Global Group Inc. (AGI) and Genting Hong Kong (GHK) are majority shareholders. It was the first integrated resort (IR) to open in the Philippines and is the only one not located in Entertainment City, but opposite the country’s primary international airport. The property is currently in the third phase of its expansion, which will consist of a further three hotels, more gaming and other amenities, and is scheduled to be completed by 2018. Further down the road, it will open the fourth and final IR planned for Entertainment City. Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2018


what you see at the other IRs today is a result of what Travellers presented to PAGCOR. AGB: How close to completion is Phase 3? It looks like a massive construction site, but a lot of it is completed. The first to open will be the Hilton Hotel. We’re looking for that to open up by late May 2018. Then we are going to have the Sheraton Hotel Manila, which is now a Marriott brand, and lastly we are going to have Hotel Okura. Altogether, these are the three international hotel brands to add to what we already have. The first gaming component will be the ground floor, which will be as big as the floors we have here within the Garden Wing. It will, in a way, replace the capacity we lost on the second floor, and then we’ll also have the new second and third floors. We will phase them in rather than just open it all in one go. The gaming component will be open early in the first quarter. AGB: What about the plans for Westside City? It will open in 2020. When we look at Entertainment City and we see what everyone else has already done, we’ve found ways in which to create something that fits in the City, but also introduces a different experience. We have drafted the builds numerous times. We are going ahead and we’re doing it, but we’ve changed it many, many times to be something that’s quite unique. AGB: What is RWM’s unique selling point in the Philippines?


n June last year, the casino was attacked by a lone gunman, who set fire to casino facilities, resulting in the death of 37 guests and employees, as well as the gunman himself. Chief Operating Officer Stephen Reilly speaks to AGB about the recovery from the tragedy and optimism for the future. AGB: What security measures has RWM taken since the incident? PAGCOR came to us as they wanted to make sure that RWM was ready. We hired directly from the Philippine National Police and invited Generals to join our team. We have some of the biggest heads at the table

from a security and safety standpoint. We engaged Black Panda which is one of the best security firms worldwide. They are still with us and engaged for another year. A lot of our renovation work is to build security bunkers. We have had to redefine the industry standards as you can’t settle for just a regular door and dog sniffing the back of cars. We have to make it as pleasant as possible for the guest, but you also need to consider that the world is changing fast, therefore we try to do things with the end in mind. We now have security bunkers and a double layer of security around the property. It’s very expensive, but it’s something we must do. PAGCOR reviewed our plans and I believe

I think one of the things we have is that we understand the local market. If anyone understands business in the Philippines from a retail and property perspective that’s Dr. Andrew Tan (head of Alliance Global). He understands what the market really requires. His finger is on the pulse and he has taught us how to get it as well by opening our eyes and helping us think out of the box and focus on the consumer market. AGB: What segment of the market does RWM focus on? Premium mass was something we actually started. VIP business at the time was volatile with credit risk, though premium mass and mass were doing very, very well and was a stable base, so we are still focusing on this.

Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2018


We are not going to turn VIPs away and we are signing new junkets all the time. Of course, when there are new properties and it’s all shiny, the junkets like to shift, but we still have our base for our VIPs and it’s growing. We are very, very careful with our credit. The Philippine market is getting used to luxury goods, but sometimes things are too big and too quick. For some of the domestic market, they feel intimidated. You have to tap into that market and understand what they want. Some of the restaurants we opened up initially were fine dining, because we thought the market would adapt very quickly. But no, they want to have their rice with a fried egg on top. So we cater to demand. Locals are our core market. About 80 percent of our market is domestic. The revenue stream is different. Half of the revenue is international and 12 percent non-gaming. AGB: Where do you see the market five years from now? There is potential for growth. The market is growing at 12 to 15 percent per annum and the tourism industry is growing rapidly. The infrastructure is not quite in place, but people really want to come to the Philippines, even more so with the relationship between

the Philippines, China, and SE Asia having recently improved. AGB: How much potential is there for expansion outside of Manila? There are an awful lot of tourists coming in who do not go through Manila and go through Cebu instead. There are also direct flights to Caticlan which is the gateway to Boracay. They can come in from southern China and other parts of Southeast Asia. People don’t think of coming to the Philippines for gaming first. It’s a destination and people look at what the destination has to offer. The huge market here now is diving and surfing. Both have exploded and become extremely popular. A lot of our hotel rooms are taken by divers. If you look at the Korean market, they love golf and you can golf all year around. The Korean, Japanese, and now the Chinese market love to come to the Philippines for both golf and diving. There are not many places in Southeast Asia with pristine waters and multiple dive sites without overly developed islands. AGB: Does RWM entertain proxy betting? Not at this moment. We are studying it carefully since we acknowledge that this is an area that is growing around the world. But of course, we have a brand to protect and recognize the risks involved. AGB: What’s different about the Philippines in terms of gaming preferences? You have to make sure you keep the latest product line for slots. I love slot machines. They turn up to work on time, we don’t have to feed them too much, they don’t need much supervision. They are absolutely great, but make sure you have the latest technology. The Philippine market loves slot machines. The area for growth is big. Table games will shrink just like in Las Vegas eventually. It is only a matter of time. If you look at the middle income earners, it’s growing and they will go into the electronic side of gaming, so it will grow. We have added a sports book through MSW, and they have been extremely happy with Resorts World, where they have gotten a lot of traction. Tennis and basketball are big and people bet a lot. Also cock fighting, which is very popular here in the Philippines, and is just one of the many things that makes this country a unique destination not just in Southeast Asia, but the entire world.

Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2018


Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2018


Destination as a revenue driver Okada Manila, owned by Japan’s Universal Entertainment, is the new comer to Entertainment City, holding a soft opening for the resort in late 2016. At 44 hectares, the property is by far the biggest in the complex and the rollout of hotels and other facilities is continuing. At its completion of Phase One, Okada will have 994 hotel rooms and operate 500 tables and about 3,000 slots. Its centrepiece is the world’s largest coloured fountain, as well as a giant inner city beach complex, known as “Cove Manila”.


anaging Director Steve Wolstenholme spoke to AGB about the progress of the rollout and his optimism about nongaming opportunities in the Philippines.

AGB: Facilities at Okada Manila were gradually opened throughout 2017, how happy are you with progress so far? Okada Manila is an enormous multi-billion dollar resort, and when you develop a resort of that size there are always going to be some challenges when you first open. I’ve been involved in a number of pre-openings and this one no different, however in many respects it has been a very successful opening. We are extremely happy with the results. It is not only massive, the design is particularly intricate which needs to be continually refined to ensure the powerful statement that it clearly exudes. We are not fully operational. We have two towers with extremely large standard rooms that start at 55 sq meters. We have some villas that go up to 1,400 sq meters. Right now, we have most of one of those

Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2018

towers completed and we sell those rooms and also give complimentary rooms to our casino customers. For the other tower, the infrastructure is there and we are just doing some finishing touches. We expect to finish that tower during 2018. AG B : Wh at d o e s O k a d a Man i l a br i ng to Entertainment City? If you look at IRs, there are many around the world. Las Vegas is the birthplace, but we now see them in Asia -- in Macau and Singapore specifically. If you look at Okada we have taken it to the next level. This IR is not just a hotel and entertainment complex with a spa and retail and all the things you would expect to find. It has gone one step beyond and I think a testament to that is our Cove Manila. It’s not only colossal, I think it’s a game changer. With these kinds of amenities and this type of spend, it’s not just going to put Okada Manila on the map, but also Entertainment City and Manila in general as a global entertainment destination as well as a business destination.


AGB: How important will non-gaming be in the Philippines? There is a broader range of non-gaming amenities here. When designing this property, we built it with the future market in mind. We see great opportunities on the non-gaming side and Okada Manila was developed as an all-encompassing resort. If you look at the Philippines, the culture is quite western in many respects and if you look at that western model, visitors don’t just come for gaming. They come for great restaurants, world-class chefs, worldclass entertainment. We’re not suggesting that Okada or Manila will predominantly be a nongaming destination like Las Vegas, but from a local standpoint, non-gaming presents a huge

amount of opportunity. Whereas from a regional standpoint, gaming is a very important part of the entertainment. AGB: How is Manila evolving as a destination? If you think of Manila, the first thing that often comes to mind is congestion and traffic. But with all the infrastructure spending we’ve seen, such as the Skyway for example, you can get to Entertainment City from Makati or the airport in 15 minutes when previously it used to take an hour. The experience has changed and I think that will be very important for the development of Manila as a tourist destination. You don’t have to stay within Okada Manila. There are great shopping and cultural experiences

in Manila. With all the infrastructure spending that the administration is doing, there are great opportunities for people to come here and enjoy those things as well. The current administration is very probusiness. The relationship with Mainland China to ensure arrivals is going to make the destination more attractive to tourists. We have seen substantial increases in gaming revenue in the market, but we’ve also seen a strong rise in visitation. In Manila, we only have about 4.5 million tourists a year, and that is a big opportunity. If we look at some of the other more established regional destinations, such as Bangkok, they do many, many times more visitors and I think that alone is an enormous opportunity, as the brand perception of Manila

Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2018


continues to be refined. I think where we have established ourselves is that the Filipino people are associated with hospitality. We have hired 6,500 people and they are very aware of the unique Filipino hospitality that we strive to give. Manila in many respects is a stepping stone to some of the beautiful islands, but we want it to be more than a stepping stone. So, they come here and go to the islands, but they don’t just come here and wait at the airport. They come and spend two or three days here in Entertainment City before spending time in the islands. AGB: What about future expansion for Okada? Right now we have a lot of work still to do here at Okada Manila, and we have multiple phases, but having said that we are extremely bullish on the Philippine market in general and not just here in Manila. Japan is an interesting market for us. We have Japanese DNA, our parent is listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. However, we are very focused here, but it’s up to our parent company whether they want to participate in the Japanese market. One thing we see as a differentiator for us is not only our building, but that we do have that Japanese DNA. Japanese tourists will feel very comfortable in a Japanese-centric property

Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2018

with exceptional Filipino hospitality. Koreans are a definitely a big market here. We see a continued interest from S Korea, but where we see the biggest opportunity is promoting Japanese tourism and I don’t see any threat from Japanese IRs, as this is a very different experience. AGB: There has been talk of a market listing. Is this on the cards? That’s at the discretion of our parent company, which will decide when it’s the right thing to do, or if it’s the right thing to do. Certainly we are very bullish on the Philippines and we think it would be the right thing to list here should that decision be made. There’s no immediate plans to do that but ultimately, it would be likely to happen. AGB: What progress has been made in signing junkets? We have started junket operations. They are limited at this time, as we are building complete our offerings. We are not just opening the doors to any junket operator who wants to come here. We are very selective and want to ensure that we give a very good customer experience, so that we have longevity in that side

of the business. We have started and through Q1 we will continue to introduce new junkets. By the end of Q1, we will have established a good portion of our junket operations. AGB: What is the current split between VIP and mass? Right now our split is approx 60/40 in favour of mass because we don’t have the full complement of junket operations. In the course of 2018, as more junket operations come on board we expect that to reverse to be more like 60/40 in favour of VIP. Having said that, there is significant opportunity in that mass market and non-gaming market, which we see as being a great contributor to our bottom line. We are an enormous resort and if you look at it from investment size, it’s twice that of other IRs in Entertainment City. With that in mind our market segmentation is quite broad. We have the largest multi -coloured fountains in the world and that attracts a lot of foot traffic. A lot of those are local people, but we are also hoping to make the fountain a check box, must-see destination. Some of those people will game, some will just spend money on food and some quite honestly will just come to see the fountain and we’re ok


with that, because we want to ensure that our awareness is broad and it’s across all market segments both locally and internationally at all ranges of availability. AGB: What is the visitation mix between locals and tourists? If you look at foot traffic it’s going to be dominated by local guests and if you look at revenue it’s going to be the reverse. We expect 70 percent of our customers ultimately to be local, but we see approximately 70 percent of revenue being from international visitors. We see local as a great opportunity, but more of an entertainment opportunity. Whether that is to spend money on a slot machine or whether it is to dine, or visit the cove or just come and have a look. The real opportunity from a locals standpoint is the Philippines is growing at nearly 7 percent in terms of GDP and that has an enormous ripple effect throughout the whole population. We have 6,500 people and 98 percent are local and that too stimulates the economy. Those people have more money to spend on entertainment and we are going to continue to see that stimulation with regards to the economy and this kind of interest in entertainment. AGB: Has growth come at the expense of other resorts? Even since we’ve been open, we have seen growth in the market. It hasn’t been the cannibalization that everyone expected, so I think critical mass is important. AGB: What trends are you seeing on the floor? At this time we do not offer video streaming. Ultimately that is an area, under the direction of Pagcor, in which we see opportunities. However, I reiterate that we don’t want to be reliant on any sector of gaming or non-gaming. We have seen the experiences in the market and they are very positive when it comes to video streaming and as we evolve our junket business we will look at that with an open mind. We are here in Asia and traditionally that is a very table games-oriented market. We currently have 2,700 slot machines and we will have 3,000. That’s a lot of slot machines in an Asian market. We have a market here that is, from a local standpoint, quite Western-centric. Slot machines align themselves with the entertainment side of gaming. Having said that many of our regional clients like to experience that table games market.

AGB: How has the smoking ban affected business?

AGB: Have you adjusted security after the June RWM attack?

There was an era when the industry looked at smoking and gaming and how a ban affected revenue, and it was quite drastic. I think that quite honestly that has changed. There is definitely an adverse effect on revenue, but it is certainly not as drastic as has been seen in the past. Our casino is a smoking casino...there are non-smoking areas. Our property is non-smoking property in alignment with the regulation. Coming here people can at least understand that we are being respectful to our employees and to those who don’t smoke, but we also recognize that some people like to smoke and we have areas where people can smoke.

We have the largest complement of security personnel of any IR anywhere in the world. We are very cognizant of our obligation to ensure that anyone coming here or working here feels safe. We are also very cognizant of the fact that our reputation is paramount. It involves security, it involves surveillance and monitoring and diligence. While we have to be aware of our bottom line and our business, we are not going to do anything that will compromise that security. It’s not the easiest building to come into. It is similar in many ways to going through airport security. There is a perception out there that doesn’t meet the reality. When someone asks me from the U.S or Europe is it safe in the Philippines, I tell them I feel extremely safe here and enjoy living here.

AGB: How comfortable are you with the current regulatory environment? Pagcor is an operator and a regulator that gives them a broad understanding. There is some suggestion that they may privatize, but even if they go through the privatization process, the fact they have been an operator gives them a different perspective and it’s a very positive perspective from an operator’s standpoint. We have, as do the other IRs, a good relationship and it’s a working relationship. We meet with them on a regular basis. We want to be competitive from a regulatory standpoint and we feel we are competitive from a regulatory standpoint, predominantly for the reason mentioned. The environment we are in right now is extremely workable. One thing we do very well, is that we do work together and if we propose some refinement to our business processes we do it collectively as an industry as opposed to individually.

AGB: How do you see the market in five years? I have lived and worked in the Philippines for two and a half years has been an interesting and culturally rewarding time. We have seen a lot of growth in the market. If we can fast forward five years I think the destination will be the primary driver of that continued growth. While gaming will always be an important sector of this market, it’s more about entertainment and gaming as it relates to entertainment as opposed to bringing in that high roller. The high roller is going to be important but...also that local component of entertainment seeker is going to thrive. I’m expat so will not be here forever? My responsibility is to ensure going forward there are more Filipinos in senior positions and quite honestly more Filipino women in those senior roles, as I am a firm believer that diversity builds strength and character.

Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2018


VIPs drive revenue growth Melco Resorts & Entertainment launched its first property outside of Macau in December 2014 with the opening of the $1 billion City of Dreams Manila.


t was the second IR to open in the capital’s Entertainment City zone. The resort complex, located on an approximately 6.2-hectare site at the gateway to EC. features about 380 gaming tables, 1,700 slot machines and 1,700 electronic table games. The resort also has three luxury hotel brands

Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2018

- Nuwa, Nobu Manila and the Grand Hyatt and includes a family entertainment zone developed with DreamWorks. The DreamPlay center is a first-of-its-kind environment where kids can play and participate in a wide range of creative activities and experiences with


the characters of DreamWorks Animation’s world-famous films, including “Kung Fu Panda,” “Shrek,” “Madagascar” and “How to Train Your Dragon.” Q3,2017 results showed strong growth momentum at the property despite the additional competition from the opening of Okada Manila. Adjusted property EBITDA in the period rose 27 percent. Net revenue at City of Dreams Manila was $148.2 million compared to US$131.0 million in the third quarter of 2016, driven primarily by the VIP sector. Rolling chip volume almost doubled to $3.0 billion benefiting from a rolling chip win rate of 2.5 percent, compared with 4.0 percent in the third quarter of 2016. The expected rolling chip win rate range is 2.7 percent-3.0 percent. Mass market table games drop increased

to $174.1 million for the third quarter of 2017, compared with US$146.8 million in the third quarter of 2016, while the gaming machine handle was $757.3 million, compared with $597.0 million in the third quarter of 2016. Total non-gaming revenue at City of Dreams Manila was $29.2 million, compared with $26.3 million in the third quarter of 2016. Analysts at Morgan Stanley are optimistic about the company’s future growth prospects and maintain an overweight rating on the local stock. The firm sees gross gambling revenue in the Philippines growing by 32 percent this year, up from 27 percent in 2017, outstripping other regional markets. “We think investors are overly concerned about Okada; the market is underpenetrated in our view, and existing casinos (excluding Okada) were still tracking 17 percent GGR

growth in the first 11 months of 2017,” it said in a recent note. Belle Corp, Melco’s joint venture partner in the Philippines, has indicated that the company may be considering expansion. On the sidelines of a shareholder meeting last year, Vice Chairman Willy Ocier said the resort was operating at full capacity and had begun to look for additional land, though Melco played down the remarks. Analysts say any such move would likely be a good catalyst for further growth. Melco itself is lobbying hard for a license in Japan and also has plans to open a City of Dreams Mediterranean on the island of Cyprus by 2021. It will be the company’s first foray outside of Asia and the complex it’s proposing will be the biggest of its kind in Europe.

Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2018





Tiger opening marks new phase for Nepal’s casinos Tiger Palace Resort Bhairahawa, Nepal’s first large-scale IR, won its casino license at the end of December, marking a major step forward in the country’s gaming sector, which now appears poised for expansion.

Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2018


he resort, which is operated by Australia-listed Silver Heritage Group, hosted its first major event on New Year’s Eve and plans a “grand launch” in March. It says it expects to commence its VIP business in the fourth quarter of 2018, with a total of eight tables open in its private gaming area, along with the opening of its fine dining venue and some additional expansion. The company and other investors are counting on the lure of untapped demand in neighbouring India and increased business traffic. The industry is one of the oldest in Asia, but has been through a transitional period, with new international standard gaming regulations introduced in 2013. Tourism in the country was also hit hard by an earthquake and temporary border issues in 2015. However, the picture is now brightening. Nepal recorded a 31 percent gain in tourist arrivals for 2016 to 729,550, although these numbers don’t include those crossing by land from India. The economy has also rebounded, recording growth of 7.2 percent in the fiscal year ending mid-July, its highest rate in more than 20 years, though momentum is expected to slow slightly this year. The foreign investment pipeline into the country also looks healthy, bringing in a steady flow of business travelers, which is seen as benefiting the casino industry. Silver Heritage has led the charge among foreign investors, opening the Millionaire’s Club and Casino at Shangri-La Hotel in Kathmandu in 2015. It was one of the first under the new regulatory regime, known as the Casino Rules 2070. The group is convinced the growing Indian middle-class population will be a major driver for Nepal’s tourism industry and has already bought land to build another IR along the border in eastern Nepal. The Indian province of Uttar Pradesh, just across the border, has a population of more than 215 million, with a burgeoning middle class and Indians are able to travel freely to Nepal across a porous border. India is forecast to have the world’s largest middle class consumption of about $12.8 trillion annually by 2030, compared with $10 trillion in China. “The resort and its location appeals to all of India and in fact to all international travellers, for example our Northern neighbour China, Thailand, and the rest of Asia. Where else can you visit the birthplace of Buddha, go on safari with tigers, elephants and rhinos and see Everest all in one day, let alone on one holiday?,” Silver Heritage CEO Mike Bolsover said. Sri Lanka’s largest casino operator, Bally’s


The resort and its location appeals to all of India and in fact to all international travellers, for example our Northern neighbour China, Thailand, and the rest of Asia. Where else can you visit the birthplace of Buddha, go on safari with tigers, elephants and rhinos and see Everest all in one day, let alone on one holiday?

Casino Colombo, is also entering the market with the launch of the Casino Venus at Hotel Malla in Kathmandu. While the newest entrant will be Deltin Group, which is owned by Delta Corp Ltd, operator of India’s largest offshore casinos. On Oct. 25, the group released a statement saying it will build a world-class casino at the five-star Marriott Hotel in Naxal, Kathmandu. Everest Hospitality and Hotel Private Limited, which owns the four-star Fairfield by Marriott in the tourist district of Thamel, signed an agreement to build the luxury casino. “We are very exhilarated to bring a luxury hotel together with a world class casino entertainment to Nepal and eager and excited to welcome high profile international tourists and casino clientele,” Gaurav Agarwal, the company’s managing director said in the press statement.



$1.6b (7.5% of GDP) $2.7b (8.3% of GDP)

(Source: World Travel & Tourism Council)

The hotel is scheduled to launch in June 2018. With the completion of these three new casinos, the number of casino currently operating in Nepal will reach 8. Prior to the introduction of Casino Regulations in July, 2013, there were 8 casinos in the capital Kathmandu and two in resort town of Pokhara in western Nepal. The new rules stipulate that casinos should have paid-up capital of at least 250 million Nepali rupees ($2.41 million), with the minimum set at 150 million Nepali rupees for mini-casinos. The royalty alone is set at 30 million ­Nepali rupees per casino a year and 7.5 million rupees for mini-casinos, payable by the end of each fiscal year. An annual fee for renewal of license, to be paid to the tourism ministry, is set at 500,000 Nepali rupees for both casinos and mini-casinos.

Communists win elections, promise political stability Nepalis went to the polls in late 2017 in a two-phase legislative election, the first since the abolition of the monarchy. The elections returned the Left Alliance, a coalition of Maoist and Marxist Leninist parties, to power, although a formal government isn’t expected to be established until March. They won nearly 70 percent of seats, replacing the ruling centerleft Nepali Congress. The alliance is promising economic growth and political stability.

Nepal growth seen steady at 4.5 percent Nepal’s gross domestic product is expected to grow at 4.6 percent in the current fiscal year, ending in July, before slowing to maintain a 4.5 percent rate for each of the next three years, according to the World Bank in its Global Economic Prospects report. The bank says the slight moderation is due to the winding down of reconstruction work following the 2015 earthquake. Floods held back growth in the second half of 2017 and adverse weather will continue to be a risk for the economy, the report said.

Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2018



Goa casinos await “transformational” policy changes Goa’s offshore casinos, which currently float in the Mandovi River, are waiting for the government to finalize legislation that will force them to shift onshore, which may prove a game changer for the industry in India.


he government has said it wants all six of the casino boats to move to an area zoned for entertainment within the next four years. Details of the policy are not yet available, though the area is expected to be near the new international airport in Mopa. Goa and Sikkim are the only two states in India that allow casino gambling. The Union Territory of Daman in theory also permits casinos, though a license application from India’s biggest operator, Delta Corp, has been pending for several years. Moving to onshore locations will allow investment into a more sophisticated product offering, more similar to the IRs seen elsewhere in Asia and that may help to satisfy pent up

Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2018

demand. According to Delta, the industry in Goa has been growing at about 30 percent a year, even with the current limited supply and that growth is likely to continue, fuelled by an expanding middle class seeking a wider variety of entertainment options. “Operators should use the move onshore as an opportunity to redefine the gaming experience and industry in Goa,” said Kit Szybala, Partner and Executive Director of Operations at Global Market Advisors. “If they take the right development and regulatory steps, the boost in market revenue and regional economic impact could be considerable.” According to a report by Union Gaming Securities Asia Managing Director, Grant Govertsen, Goa has the potential to rapidly

become a $1 billion market, up sharply from the $150 million that the boats are estimated to generate at present. Overall, Govertsen says India’s casino industry has the potential to generate GGR of $10 billion to $17 billion. The move onshore is “transformational,” he notes. “We compare the Goa transition from riverboat to land-based as like the Midwest riverboat transition story on steroids.” Szybala, who has conducted in-depth research into the potential for India’s gambling market, notes that the current offering in Goa appeals to more gaming focused patrons. Introducing IRs with a wide variety of amenities, including attractive hotels, food & beverage outlets, entertainment, and retail options, will help to attract a broader audience and perhaps shift



horse racing $250m - $400m

Lottery $12b - $14b

casino $100m - $125m (Source: ICRA)

perceptions in India when it comes to what legalized gaming can offer. Delta, which operates three of Goa’s floating casinos, has welcomed the proposed changes and said it’s positioning itself to take full advantage. Chief Financial Officer Hardik Dhebar told analysts on a recent conference call that the company has already identified land parcels and is at an advanced stage in the acquisition process on some of them. “By the time the final policy and the framework will be out, we would have been able to complete or we would be nearing the completion of the acquisition of the land parcels,” he said. “While in the past, we have made very clear that Delta will continue to focus on the asset light model and will not invest any capital into any ancillary businesses such as hotels or water parks or retail or theme parks or anything, but yes we will facilitate the development of an entire township entertainment zone, which basically will not only be the supporting infrastructure but also will complement the gaming and the casinos that we would be coming up within the entertainment zone.” Union Gaming notes Delta currently has a 70 percent share of the Goa market and is likely

Golden Play awarded Sikkim online license

Gujarat deals blow to skill-based games

Golden Play Pvt. Ltd, an operator of online gaming in India’s northern state of Sikkim, plans to start casino operations and is eyeing further expansion in the region. The company has won a provisional license to operate out of the the five-star Hotel D’Wang Residency in the Deorali area of Gangtok. It will be the fourth casino in the state. Golden Play is linked to the Mumbaibased Golden Gaming and Lottery Group, according to GLaws India. The provisional license is meant to enable the company to set up the necessary infrastructure for commencement of casino games in the hotel and is valid for six months.

The Gujarat High Court has rejected a petition from poker clubs seeking for poker to be recognized as a skill game, ruling it as a game of chance. Justice Rajesh H. Shukla of the Gujarat High Court dismissed the special civil petition filed earlier this year by KN Suresh of the Indian Poker Association and other poker clubs. The decision is being seen as a major setback for the online and skill games industry in India. The petitioner clubs have indicated that they will be soon challenging the decision before a division bench of the High Court.

to become the leading land-based player. “We expect the ROI story on the company’s ~$300 million Goa IR to be reminiscent of Sands Macao when it first opened.” it said. The policy is expected to be formally announced early this year, though it may get caught up in political infighting. The government

promise to shut down the casinos altogether. “When (Chief Minister Manohar) Parrikar was in the opposition, he led protests against casinos and promised to get rid of them completely after coming to power. However under the BJP government, the casinos have flourished in Goa. Rather than get rid of them the number of casinos increased. Against this background, moving the casinos to Mopa seems to be a way to claim to have done something about them, while the casino owners would be happy to get entrenched on land,” said a Goa based activist, connected with the pressure group, Aam Aadmi and Aurat Against Gambling (AAAAG). Goa has a long history of governments claiming to be serious about regulating the industry but such intentions rarely get executed, said senior journalist Prakash Kamat, based out of Goa. Kamat added that subsequent governments have come up with various plans regarding the casinos, which remained on paper. “They had earlier said a Gaming Commissioner would be appointed to keep a check on the activities of the casinos but it never happened,” he said. As well as the six floating casinos, electronic gaming is permitted in some five-star hotels in Goa.

Operators should use the move onshore as an opportunity to redefine the gaming experience and industry in Goa.

has been threatening for years to force the boats to move out of the Mandovi River, though has not yet followed through. The opposition Congress party is already targeting the government for reneging on a

Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2018


ICE 2018

Welcome to parad-ICE! The 2018 edition of ICE London is set for its sixth consecutive year of growth, with new show-floor sections promising to give attendees an even more comprehensive insight into the ever-evolving industry.


n 2017, a record 30,213 visitors from 151 countries made it to London for the three-day event. Organizers are expecting this number to jump up yet again in 2018. The 2018 show will introduce two brand new sections to their 43,500 sqm show floor, the ICE Payment Solutions Section and the Consumer Protection Zone, both of which are ICE London firsts. The payments zone, comprising 4,000sqm of space, will provide a focal point for international visitors wanting to meet and engage with the key innovators and thought leaders in the sector. Greg Saint, event director responsible for ICE London, believes the new area will be high on the list of ‘must see’ features for gaming professionals during their time in London. “The purpose of ICE is to showcase and reflect the dominant trends in gaming and payments is a case in point. We were approached by a number of leading players wanting to utilize ICE as a platform to reflect innovations in the sector and to create a meeting point for all those international visitors with an interest in the latest technologies and advances. I am delighted that we have been able to respond to the needs of the industry in this way and I am confident the resource that we are putting behind the ICE Payment Solutions Section will be well received by visitors.” Organizers will also be promoting the social responsibility message with the launch of the Consumer Protection Zone at ICE London. The Zone will provide a focus for the social responsibility message and feature key organizations that are promoting social responsibility, as well as being a platform for presentations. Ewa Bakun, Clarion Gaming’s head of industry insight & engagement, and the person responsible for organising the Zone, explained: “ICE London is not only the biggest gaming event in the world, but many industry observers regard it as the most influential. Wherever Clarion operates,

Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2018

social responsibility is one of the most important topics and that’s across both emergent and mature gaming markets. Although we are not part of the operating community we also have a responsibility to serve as a forum for discussion and knowledge exchange.” Meanwhile, delegates looking to gain the latest industry insights will be able to hear from impressive lineup of speakers at ICE VOX 2018, the show’s official conference. Hard Rock Chairman Jim Allen, UK Gambling Commission CEO Sarah Harrison and M&C Saatchi Sport & Entertainment head of entertainment, Jodie Fullagar will be among the 100+ speakers sharing their insight and knowledge over eight insightful tracks. Previewing ICE VOX, Clarion Gaming’s Sadie Walters said: “Co-locating gaming’s most comprehensive learning event with the world’s most influential gaming technology exhibition provides delegates with an opportunity to understand more about a particular strand of gaming and go on to meet the leading exponents within that sector on the ICE show floor. This is an opportunity which is unique to ICE London and one which ranks highly in our post-event market research.” The eight tracks of ICE VOX 2018 comprise of World Regulatory Briefing & The International Casino Conference held on Monday, World Regulatory Briefing (2); Data Science & Personalization and The eSports Conference on Tuesday, and Blockchain; Modernizing Lotteries; and Cybercrime & Security on Wednesday. Clarion Gaming’s Managing Director Kate Chambers summarizes: “The simple fact is that industry professionals can book their tickets to London with total confidence that every feature of the gaming universe will be represented amongst the 43,500sqm of innovation that is ICE. Other events can provide a comprehensive regional take on the industry, but ICE is the only one that showcases innovation from throughout the world.” The 2018 edition of ICE London runs at the ExCel London on February 6-8, 2018.

ICEVOX Paradiso


ExCeL London, UK 5-7 February 2018


For more information on ICE VOX visit Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2018



Elevating gaming intelligence

Alderney eGambling


dvantech’s theme of “Elevating Gaming Intelligence” will be highlighted at ICE this year, with the company poised to introduce its gamer-changing solutions, including LCD monitors, advanced storage systems, highperformance graphics cards and a revolutionary new gaming platform. “This year’s ICE 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. “Armed with the latest technology for the intelligent heart of today’s sophisticated slot machines, our range of software solutions are set to boost performance, efficiency and security for the highly competitive world of commercial gaming. We could not be more excited to attend.” Products featured include the DPX-S445, Advantech-Innocore’s groundbreaking motherboard for the gaming industry. It features the very latest Intel top-end embedded platform, giving customers field-proven reliability with the peace of mind of massive scalability and future upgradeability. LCD Monitors will also be on display, with screen sizes available from 7” to 55” and beyond, offering high-visibility, touch screen, sunlight view ability and ruggedization. Curved screen models will be on display, featuring concave and convex curved LCDs, and even S-shaped curve screens. For customers needing more screens or high performance discrete graphics card performance, Advantech-Innocore graphics cards only use the latest AMD and Nvidia GPUs.

eGambling regulation


Customers can experience a 3D performance with extended availability needed for gaming. The SQFlash Range Storage is set to be on display in multiple formats, offering power fail detection and protection, as well as flush manager and voltage stabilization. It has been approved by the most demanding ODMs in gaming and lottery. For customers requiring specialized hardware, Advantech-Innocore can add intelligence in the form of custom FPGA and additional micro-controllers with custom firmware for sophisticated security, control and supervisory functions.

ollowing an incredibly successful 2017 which saw the jurisdiction expand its global network even further and welcome new licensees from all over the world, Alderney eGambling returns to exhibit at ICE 2018. A global leader in eGambling regulation with an international reputation for excellence and over 17 years licensing the biggest names in the industry, Alderney’s approach to licensing and its unique regulatory framework are recognized and respected the world over. As one of the biggest shows in the industry calendar, Alderney is delighted to be able to use ICE as a platform to showcase all that it has to offer and meet with new and existing licensees. Alderney eGambling is joined at ICE by the Alderney Gambling Control Commission (AGCC) and a host of industry specialists making up ‘Team Alderney’ on stand N7-310. Team Alderney comprises technical, hosting, telecommunications and corporate services providers, all with years of experience in the eGambling sector. In addition, a team of regulatory experts from the AGCC will be on hand to meet with visitors to the stand to discuss how Alderney’s flexible framework and innovative, risk-based approach to regulation provides a proven, strategic solution for eGambling organisations looking to thrive. Meet ‘Team Alderney’ on stand N7-310.

The portfolio on offer covers different verticals - game development, Sportsbook and Live Casino. The fully managed sportsbook solution is powered by Betting Promotion. Betting Promotion trades its own odds, setting it apart from other providers in the business who aggregate and fetch the odds from other providers rather than generating their own. On top of this, the team has been working on introducing new engaging features, better market coverage and what is probably the best E-Sport offering on the market to date. Amazing Gaming has also partnered with Portomaso Casino to host its own live

tables in Malta and will couple these with a live casino feed from Manila, increasing the number of tables to 20 and giving it an overall international feel and making it appealing to players from different cultural backgrounds. The development team has developed new Blackjack, Roulette and Baccarat games, two new traditional slot games and an innovative game, the type of which has not yet been seen in the European market and is expected to blow the audience out of the water! Amazing Gaming will be officially launched during ICE Totally Gaming 2018, and the whole suite of products will be showcased at the Amazing Gaming stand at N1-530.

AMAZING gaming

Ticking all the boxes


mazing Gaming is the latest brand within the Tain group of companies, aimed at developing and offering a full suite of engaging player-facing products.

Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2018


Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2018


Expansion plans


ith its latest venture into slot machine production, Alfastreet says it expects to achieve important results in 2018. 2017 was a stellar year for the company, says Alfastreet, with the introduction of the brand new single terminal Felix T, which incorporates the company’s extensive experience and optimized user interface with an attractive design solution, optimized space usage and flawless ergonomic position for the player. It is around this product that new applications will be unveiled, such as the odd numbered 7-station automated roulette, the

revolutionary Car Race, that introduces a rally racing theme to the familiar platform, and Royal Derby horse racing. A number of interesting design and functionality features are guaranteed to be one of the main attractions at ICE this year, says the company. However, there are more important upgrades and novelties coming: such as upgraded cylinders for the company’s Roulette and Dice products, known for their immaculate performance and bullet-proof reliability. The new solutions will retain all of the strong points, but will include some added improvements. Of course there will be newly designed setups with our extensive range of single terminals to present some of the many possible configurations. Wiky single terminal, that won the title of most successful single terminal in 2017 will also get a slight upgrade, accompanied by a very sleek and versatile Coffee table and Table Top terminals,

adding flair for a sophisticated casino design. Multi Touch and Lucky 8 machines were the highest performing new machines in 2017, so Alfastreet is bringing optimized editions to the show as well. The Felix S slot machines are set to be upgraded with a contemporary curved screen solution as well as other technical features, adding to the versatility and performance of the product. All the machines feature full inter-connectivity to any number of automated electronic or live sources (Roulette, Blackjack, Poker, Baccarat, Sic Bo, Dragon vs Tiger, Derby horse-racing and plenty more). A slightly different concept stands behind the Alibi box cabin, that is getting more and more appreciated not only in casino venues, but provides various alternative applications outside the industry. All to be tried and tested at the upcoming ICE show in February 2018. See them at stand S6-130.

The entire AMANET game portfolio has been tested for play in all major browsers and on most common devices. It is multilingual and has already been approved by multiple jurisdictions, which means that game integration for online gaming providers is very simple and flexible. The number of people who can enjoy AMANET games has risen sharply in 2017 as AMATIC Industries was awarded with the rights to market its online games in a number of jurisdictions, including the UK, Malta, Romania, Spain and Colombia. MULTI GAME stands at the heart of the company and explains its enduring success throughout the 25 years. A range of new and completely in-house developed games will be introduced to the global gaming market at ICE. As ever, these games cover a wide range of tastes to ensure that all kinds of players can continue to enjoy the new AMATIC games. AMATIC enjoys the reputation of being a strong innovator in the industry – with the foresight and the willingness to create new solutions, based on future needs. This explains

the popularity of the AMATIC gaming machines, the Performer Grand Arc (PGA) slant top and the AMAROX C24 upright. Both stand out through their exquisite, curved features. AMATIC Industries is also renowned for its electronic multiplayers. Indeed, with many years experience and innovation in the development and production of electronic roulette solutions – the Roulette Grand Jeu 24HX will be taking centre place as well at ICE. 2017 was a very special year for this division as AMATIC celebrated selling its 1000th Roulette Grand Jeu in Spain. Mrs. Tatjana Bauer-Engstberger states, “Our track record proves that our strategy is correct. We naturally have a strong foundation in landbased given that we have been in business for a quarter of a century. Many players know our games and are very pleased when they can play them online as well. The ICE is the perfect chance for anyone interested in our online games to get to know the opportunities when working with AMANET. We are here to advise you!” AMATIC Industries will be exhibiting at ICE 2018 from the new stand location S4-240.


The future is online


isitors to the forthcoming ICE will be able to get first hand information on AMANET, AMATIC’s online gaming division. This strength in the land-based sector has become a clear reason for success in the online gaming market. All AMATIC online games have proven themselves in the land-based segment in the first step. This experience and clear flair for games design (all are created in-house) has led to the natural progression in online gaming. Thus, AMANET brings the renowned AMATIC game library online. All games are in HTML5 format – meaning that they can be played on online and mobile devices. Each game has been tried and tested in the landbased gaming segment before entering the online market. This vast experience, based on the flair for design and proven mathematics within MULTI GAME, gives those games the benefit over games designed purely for the online market. Only successful games from the AMATIC land-based segment find their way to the online portfolio. This includes many favourites, such as Arising Phoenix, All Ways Fruits, Billy’s Game, Bells On Fire and the ‘Hot’ series like Hot Neon, Hot Scatter and Hot 27. Naturally the game content is regularly updated with further new exciting titles.

Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2018



STAND N3-140

DRIVE TRAFFIC TO YOUR CASINO SITE WITH OUR CHINESE NEW YEAR RACE To celebrate the Chinese New Year, Yggdrasil invites operators in Asia to a Mystery Cash Race promotion full of hidden prizes! This will run from the 15th - 19th February.

Learn more at Yggdrasil Gaming is an innovative casino game supplier providing games for some of the world’s biggest operators.

Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2018


What’s inside


ristocrat Technologies will be unveiling a new portfolio for the EMEA markets on stand S3-250 under the all-encompassing theme, ‘It’s all about what’s inside’. Leading the charge of new licensed concepts on display at the London show is the Flame55 cabinet, a sleek and elegant large format cabinet featuring a 55-inch portrait double-curved screen. Available in standalone and beacon carousels, the launch title is themed on the three-time Grammy award winning pop music superstar brand, Mariah Carey. The Flame55 pipeline includes a sequel to the highly successful title Game of Thrones and a new title based on the HBO powerhouse series, Westworld. Also showcased will be Dragon Link, an Arc Single portrait-screen form factor evolution of Lightning Link with 1€ and 2€ added to the player-selectable multi-denomination options. Dragon Link will launch in Europe with four Asian-themed base games – Autumn Moon, Golden Century, Happy & Prosperous and Panda Magic – and a choice of LED sign packages. Amongst several other Aristocrat titles, the Mighty Cash game library spearheaded by Zorro will be joined by another licensed

brand, Ted, with both existing standalone progressive games also being featured in the new multi-licensed Mighty Cash Link, along with complementary base game themes Elvira and Pan-Am. More Mighty Cash mastery comes in the form of Crazy Ca$h Big Money, a 4-level linked progressive game on the Helix platform incorporating 55-inch portrait toppers, synchronised to create a giant video wall dubbed ‘Helix Tower’. Base game flavors include Big Money Green and Big Money Gold. With a firm and growing footprint in major European and South African casinos, the towering dual curved portrait screen Arc Double platform is being given a further boost in 2018 with the addition of more premium licensed and proprietary game content. New games on the scene include the filmthemed My Cousin Vinny, one of Aristocrat’s most successful game theme franchises, Tarzan, the Buffalo-inspired Timber Wolf Grand and hit sci-fi brand, The X-Files, which features a unique X-shaped reel layout. Further licensed releases include Gold Stacks 88 Link, an Asian-themed progressive link, and Fast Cash 100, a multi-/single-site multi game progressive link with frequent jackpot

prizes, which is now optimised to perform across smaller wide area progressive networks. Aristocrat and their products can be found at stand S3-250 at the show.

content packs to be available with some of the hottest licensed games. Branching out to other gaming products, Aruze is the only slot manufacturer that sells Radio-frequency identification (RFID) casino chips. RFID embedded chips offer multiple benefits to casino operators. The new Thor cabinet that debuted at the 2017 Global Gaming Expo in Las Vegas, Nevada, will also be showcased at Aruze’s booth. Thor is a striking video slot that has been carefully engineered to give Players the ultimate gaming experience. The cabinet includes a curved 55” HD monitor with a 21.5” tablet touchscreen. Aruze has installed a dual USB charging station for the convenience of the player and to increase revenue for the Casino Operator. Leading the way in customer support, Aruze has instituted industry-leading guarantees on their products. Aruze is guaranteeing any new Cube-X cabinet purchase will have hardware, software and service support for six-years from

the date of purchase. This six-year guarantee applies to any new purchase of Aruze’s Cube-X electronic table games, Cube-X video products and Cube-X stepper products. In addition, Aruze also established a two-year performance guarantee on all new purchases of APX video products and other new video products at no additional cost to the customer. Aruze also adds on more titles to their recently launched Cube-X Innovator Deluxe. This exceptional slot machine encompasses a custom LED topper to compliment the cabinet lighting and dynamic LCD buttons. The new model has an attention-grabbing vertically integrated 42-inch HD display. It also features Aruze’s popular Radiant Reels which are illuminated by multicolored LED lights and variable spin speeds that build anticipation during play. The future of gaming is here in the exciting new content exhibited at Aruze’s stand S3-205 at ICE 2018.


One-of-a-kind products


ruze Gaming is set to have a benchmark year, as they will be presenting more new and one-of-a-kind products in 2018. Aruze’s diverse portfolio continues to expand year after year and their new products will be on full display at ICE 2018. Casino operators and players will be amazed with the one-of-a-kind Omni-Table, a patented LED video display table with a felt surface and a live dealer. Hot-swappable LED panels and an easily changeable felt surface let operators gain flexibility while keeping the traditional feel of a table game. Operators can increase revenue using the mounted touchscreen to change table limits, increase or decrease available spots, or swap games all in seconds. The Omni-Table also provides casino operators marketing opportunities by displaying advertisements right on the table during game play or when the table is inactive. Four popular common table games will be available at launch, with additional premium

Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2018



the world’s betting services provider BETTING SERVICES






STAND S1-150

Visit us at or contact us at betradar is a brand of sportradar Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2018




Step up into Asia


n 2018, with the concept of “Step Up into Asia”, BBIN will continue to show the advantages of its brand competitiveness and continuous innovation. With 20 years of experience in the Asian market, BBIN has provided over 500 clients with 2 partnership programs: “White Label Solution” and “Game API”. Its services are provided throughout East Asia, Southeast Asia, China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, and Malaysia. This year, the BBIN stand will feature a vermillion staircase brushed with golden ink, demonstrating the brand’s service diversification in the international market and resource integration capabilities. With international standards, BBIN provides the market with a more comprehensive range of entertainment options. BBIN understands that product differentiation and localization are key

elements to expand in the Asian market. In addition to introducing local cultures and festivities into game development, BBIN now successfully provides the market with 13 types of live casino, 30 games of BB Luck, over 100 kinds of casino games, and more than 40,000 sports betting products monthly. The company has also been actively collaborating with international brands. BBIN’s platform includes over 10 renowned brands such as Microgaming, Asia Gaming, HABANERO, iSoftBet, Genesis, and Playtech; its product volume is the highest in Asia. In addition, with world-leading R&D technology, BBIN also has the development advantage of being able to influence the industry. It not only has the ability to update its products with HTML5 tech more efficiently than other brands, but also specialize in management system innovation and diversified regional financial support. With 24-hour online customer service, BBIN provides the most competitive service support in the market. Through the ICE, BBIN expects to express the core value of “building on the Asian market and achieving success together” to the international community. BBIN will continue to cooperate with other countries to realize its mission as an iGaming portal in Asia. See BBIN at stand N7-350 at ICE 2018.

BMM Testlabs

Focusing on quality services


MM Testlabs is expected to have its largest presence ever at this year’s ICE Totally Gaming show. EVP, Europe and South America, Gene Chayevsky commented, “BMM is looking forward to another exciting ICE in 2018. We will be showcasing our expanded range of services, with a special focus on BMM’s online certification and audit services, and a unique new IT security offering that we will be introducing to our customers.” Chayevsky continued, “BMM plays a leading role in the rapidly expanding European gaming industry ensuring the quality and integrity of all segments of products in regulated gaming markets. We provide the highest quality test

Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2018

lab services in Europe and around the world, and this is recognized by the growing number of customers BMM partners with.” “At this year’s ICE show we will also be formally introducing ICE attendees to BMM’s new European Management and Business Development team. The new team includes, Marzia Turrini as SVP Business Development, Marc Lee as SVP of Operations, Filippo Ferri as Director of Online Gaming and New Products and Francesco Bianchi as Operations Manager.” Chayevsky concluded. BMM professional staff and executives will be on-hand at ICE 2018 to discuss technical and regulatory compliance services. Visit them at N3-420.

A year to remember


etConstruct’s solid performance the last twelve months speaks volumes as to why 2017 was a year to remember. On the product side only, the provider has increased the data feed, as well as sports betting and casino offerings by securing deals with several sports content providers, introduced new live casino games and launched a few new projects including BookieApp, SpringBME, Fast Shift and BetonPolitics, and threw down the gauntlet on VR and AR. Stand S1-350 will welcome the visitors with a stunning design and demo zones for these latest additions. The provider will showcase SpringBME (Business Management Environment) that is designed to give operators full control over their business and an unprecedented flexibility through a single platform. With SpringBME, they enable all-inclusive solutions for gaming and betting businesses with a single click, as well as order marketing, legal or other services. With this marketplace, becoming a reseller can be a lot easier than ever! Another addition is BetonPolitics, a global platform for exchange of news, opinions, political analyses and predictions. Open for public discussions on a broad range of global issues, it provides the subscribers information about latest local, regional and global news and events encouraging people for dialogue and political debate. Along with these major projects, the visitors will have an opportunity to learn more about BookieApp, Megafeed and other initiatives. Megafeed will present its fourin-one offering. Now, for the first time, it provides an all-in-one platform where several products are deployed together – live video streaming, odds feed, statistics and scouting data. The provider is at the forefront of integrating cryptocurrencies into the online gaming industry. Visitors will have an opportunity to learn more about this product, as well as have an access to an impressive range of VR and AR solutions for online and land-based gaming properties and the technologies behind them. ICE Totally Gaming exhibition is where BetConstruct make the promise to their partners and to the industry to continue challenging the status quo and coming up with products and solutions that will be beneficial for everyone in the industry and beyond. See the team at stand S1-350 at ICE 2018.


booming games



Legend of the nile

etsoft Gaming will be using the 2018 ICE Totally Gaming Trade Expo to reveal their most ground-breaking year to date. Utilising their SHIFT platform to its full potential, Betsoft continues to deliver captivating 3D animations, while introducing some innovations that could redefine the online landscape. During the show, Betsoft will be showcasing their most recent success – LEGEND OF THE NILE. The newly introduced “trail system”, designed to take advantage of the SHIFT platform, allows players to collect certain Gods during play, and to earn special rewards for doing so. The dynamic Ra trail offers significant wins in a single turn, while the static Isis and Anubis trails allow players to collect symbols from spin to spin, meaning that players are rewarded the longer they play. In a glimpse of what the future has to offer, Betsoft is unveiling the muchanticipated sequel to the fan-favorite Sugar Pop. The follow up, dubbed SUGARPOP 2: DOUBLE DIPPED, will be packed with fun new features, Sugar Pop 2 will incorporate Free Spins and Wilds, with new events like a Candy Bomb, and special effect candies including a Jelly Bean Cannon and Sweet Hammer. It’s a fast-paced feast for the eyes and a rewarding slot from start to finish. Dan Cooper, Betsoft’s CTO, summarizes the careful planning and thorough consideration that go into every Betsoft title: “Betsoft believes in a game’s flow: the way the mathematics function, the sounds and animations, the speed in which things happen and the order in which things happen. All of these various elements play a synergistic part in the creation of a game… the closer to perfection each element becomes, the better the resulting game performance can be.” In addition to the blockbusters Betsoft has in store for 2018, there is the promise of a monumental release of what is being called “evolutionary gaming technology” later this year. Currently in prototype with our R&D department, this innovative development in iGaming will open the industry up to entirely new demographics. Visit stand S3-312 for a demonstration of Betsoft products and for further reveals of a ground breaking 2018.

Golden Royals his year’s ICE sees Booming Games debut a new flagship release, along with their distinguished portfolio of lauded titles and a taster of planned future company developments. One their most hotly anticipated titles yet, Golden Royals, presents two revolutionary new features and unparalleled new functionality. Golden Royals features a sumptuous game board bordered in golden filigree. Based on a pack of cards the symbols have been designed with painstaking attention to detail, with jacks, queens, and kings all adorned in full regalia. Jumping from the game board they shimmer and scintillate enchantingly with every win, displaying plenty of entertaining pomp and circumstance that won’t disappoint. Golden Royals debuts the Kings on the Corners feature which awards a very special win if players achieve a king in 3 or 4 corners of the gameboard. The Random Wild Multipliers will transform into a mini reel that

will spin before settling on a multiplier value of either x2 or x3. During Free Spins there is the chance to achieve additional Free Spins and the Random Wild Multipliers increase in value to x2, x3, x5, and x7. Booming Games will showcase Golden Royals on mobile and desktop devices. Come by the Booming Games stand to enjoy a drink from the Bitcoin Bar, and give their games a spin at stand N3-336.


Racing is the word


olossus Bets, provider of the world’s biggest sports jackpots, returns to ICE Totally Gaming with a worldwide partner network of over 50 operators and the industry’s most coveted horse racing partnership under its belt. From this summer, Colossus Bets will be running an innovative portfolio of betting products for British Racing’s consortium of 54+ racetracks. The offering will include signature Colossus features, such as lottery-sized minimum guarantees, Cash Out and Syndicates, upgrading the racing bettor experience to an unprecedented level of engagement and sophistication. Betting types will include multi-leg and correct finishing order pools, as well as full functionality FreePlay entries to entice new and existing players. Visitors at ICE 2018 will have the chance

to experience Colossus’ expanded sports pools portfolio with the addition of new football (Asian Handicap, Over/Under, Both Teams To Score) and NBA pools. All pools are delivered via Colossus’ fully localised frontend interface that has been significantly revamped in the past few months to enable a faster, more modern and streamlined user experience. Colossus Syndicates, first introduced to the public at ICE 2017 and winner of the 2017 EGR Operator Award for in-house product, has been enhanced with a Captain Leaderboard and additional social media sharing functionality for a truly effective social betting solution. The Colossus FreePlay platform has also evolved further to now include flexible token functionality (multi-pool, multi-line) and several new delivery methods that seamlessly translate into frontend campaigns, making it the most comprehensive free-to-play platform in the industry. Last but not least, after pioneering the world’s first cash-out slot, the Colossus Fracpot, Colossus Bets continues to expand its Cash Out-as-a-service offering in the slots space and beyond. For additional insight on all products and live demos, meet the team at stand S1-312.

Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2018


Omni-channel environment


omtrade Gaming has announced that it will reveal its highly integrated gaming systems environment at ICE Totally Gaming 2018. By optimizing multiple channels, devices and player touch-points, Comtrade Gaming’s product portfolio engages customers while generating improved revenue for clients and partners. The advancements in 360° player view and life-cycle management strategies better serve gaming operations across multiple products and channels. Adjustments to system capabilities now allow configuration and scalability along any operator size, business preferences, requirements and regulatory conditions. With these enhancements, iCore optimizes every aspect of the multi-

channel operation by identifying key player segments, automating marketing campaigns and managing operations with its business intelligence back office. Comtrade Gaming will also debut a new extension to its sCore product line: an operatorcontrolled player messaging and media presentation engine. The sCore Media Engine upgrades slot machines into a promotional channel that communicates personalized incentives, venue promotions and player account information on the game screen. The sCore Media Engine enriches the player experience on G2S standardized gaming machines using an award engine with predictive modeling to evaluate and communicate eligibility in real-time. “Convergence brings a number of key strategic benefits, including the ability to create

competitive advantages through exceptional customer experience,” explains Aleš Gornjec, General Manager of Comtrade Gaming. “Our omni-channel environment provides a straightforward and elegant way for operators to engage, acquire and reactivate all player segments. Comtrade Gaming’s technology continues to enable agile solutions for a hypercompetitive market.” To learn more, visit Comtrade Gaming at stand N4 – 340





Live smart cashbox system rane Payment Innovations (CPI) is exhibiting at ICE 2018 with a powerful suite of products that are revolutionizing the way operators connect with their players, their business process and, ultimately, their revenue. A full range of currency validation and cash management solutions will be on display, including the all-new SCR Advance MDR banknote recycler and the forthcoming EASITRAX Live smart cashbox system. EASITRAX Live is the next generation of CPI’s winning EASITRAX product, which has been embraced by operators for providing the critical insight needed to drive faster, smarter and more profitable cash management efficiencies from the gaming floor to the back room. It works by collecting transaction and performance data directly from the note acceptor and then generating reports that can be used to streamline the drop process, facilitate asset evaluations, optimize asset performance and improve maintenance programs. Also on display will be the newest model of the SCR Advance banknote recycler, called SCR Advance MDR. SCR Advance already offers the fastest transaction speeds, tightest security and lowest jam rate in the industry – but now, thanks to its new MDR (Mixed-Denomination Recycling) functionality, it can also recycle more than two denominations of banknotes. In fact, it can recycle up to four – all from the same compact form factor and 2-drum architecture. The ability to recycle more than two denominations of banknotes is especially critical to the German AWP market, where new legislation next year will reduce the maximum credit allowed on machines from 20 to 10. Meanwhile, players will continue to use high denomination notes like the 50, forcing machines to give more change. This would normally starve the hoppers in very little time, but thankfully SCR Advance MDR can help prevent this problem. It enables the recycling of lower denomination notes like 5s and 10s in addition to 20s and even 50s when players use higher denomination notes – allowing machines to run efficiently for longer periods of time, saving operators the costs associated with downtime and service calls. To learn more about SCR Advance MDR and EASITRAX Live, along with the rest of CPI’s winning product portfolio, visit CPI on stand N3-320 at ICE.

Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2018

New online platform LV is set to introduce a new online platform with the company’s most popular games at ICE 2018. Unforgettable player experience has always been DLV’s priority and this online development is a step towards improving the experience and offering greater flexibility to the player. The huge advantage of this game package comes from the fact the games it features are already popular and have been tested in land-based operations across numerous world markets. These are, for example, Burning Fruits, King Tut, Royal Jewels, Lucky 7 among others, and the list will keep on growing. The gaming platform is built on HTML5, making games available on any mobile devices with any screen resolution. Both games and RNG are certified in accordance with GLI-19, therefore, DLV can guarantee not only successful performance of the games, but also their operational reliability. DLV is looking forward to seeing ICE guests at the presentation of DLV’s online release, see them at stand N5-250.


Reactivating the churned


Continuing momentum in 2018


igitain, the leading multi-channel sportsbook and casino platform provider, will display its latest best-of-breed products (turn-key and white-label solutions) at ICE 2018. The company’s primary focus is on the regulated European market, with ambitious plans to expand its geographical footprint into the Americas and Asia. It has recently made some bold steps into Russia (notably a tie-up with the CIS’ number-one poker site, Pokerdom) and employs more than 800 of the brightest minds and creative talents in the gaming industry, progressively providing a one-stop-shop for its customers. The omni-channel Digitain Gaming Platform allows operators to plug-in sports betting, casino, live dealer and virtual sports modules, and includes an integrated payment gateway, bonus engine, CRM system and dedicated customer support. Its sportsbook covers 65 sports, taking in 7,500 leagues, and offers more than 3,000 betting markets. It also offers odds on 30,000 live events each month, while its casino solution has 1000-plus games. In 2017, Digitain launched into the scene

with a ground-breaking suite of products that encompass every aspect of the gaming sector. From its world-class sportsbook, Digitain is empowering its operators with the progressive functionality of proven easy-to-integrate platforms and turnkey solutions. Digitain has effortlessly expanded its global reach with interfaces whose design delivers deep user engagement. Its ability to seamlessly diversify existing offerings has allowed Digitain to expand its reach across eastern Europe and central Asia, with the forthcoming World Cup 2018 in Russia this summer very much in mind. Digitain solutions include providing technological support and products, allowing its partners to concentrate on licensing, management, and payment systems; a fully-managed sportsbook with two options: iFrame integration with Digitain’s own sports navigation that can be skinned and adapted to any partner’s preferences; and a bespoke API that enables partners to create their own exclusive and proprietary sports-navigation interface. See what Digitain has to offer at stand S1-344 & Meeting Room SG3 at ICE 2018.


Seductive trends


or the fourth time in a row, Endorphina will be joining the ICE Totally Gaming show. Last year, the company presented their cool and fresh Diamond Vapor slot game (the first game ever incorporating the trendy vaping theme). This year, however, rumor has it that they are going to spice things up even more with something very, very hot. At Endorphina´s stand everyone will be breaking the ice with game talk and discovering the latest seductive trends. All visitors should get ready to push their boundaries with a completely unique and

sizzling show that will accompany the release of Endorphina´s mysterious new slot game. The company prepared a provocative show that will push all taboos to the corner of the room. All of the daring visitors will get a special experience and an option to win sophisticated gifts that they will want to share. Plus there will be an exclusive release of the new game that will allow you to be the first to put your hands on “it” to experience what it truly means to destroy taboos in this igaming world. See Endorphina at ICE 2018, stand number N6-230.

eading player retention solutions provider Enteractive will be attending this year’s ICE Totally Gaming show, on hand to explain how its (Re)activation service can help operators turn churned players back into active users. Enteractive’s unique method sees trained agents undertake one-toone personal phone calls with lost players with a view to offering them an enhanced gaming experience and guide them back into playing. The benefit of this solution for operators is that they can learn exactly what these individuals want from their gaming experience and guide players accordingly. In addition, the personalised method has a proven track record, as it can reactivate more than 50 percent of an operator’s inactive players, with no risk at all to the operator given that we operate on a revenue share basis. The company will also be showcasing its activation service, which targets registered non-depositing players and converts them into active users. The supplier’s services are fully compliant with the Global Gaming Guidance Group, and can alert operators to potentially vulnerable players ensuring they are handled quickly and responsibly. Responsible measures, such as the solutions Enteractive offer, will become increasingly important in the year ahead, as the ever-changing regulatory landscape means operators are under increased scrutiny to become socially responsible in order to avoid hefty fines. Enteractive are looking to build on the momentum it generated in 2017, where it secured long-term deals with Gaming Innovation Group and a number of other key operators, while also strengthening its senior management team with the appointment of former Cherry Group CEO Fredrik Burvall to its board of directors. Find out more about Enteractive’s solutions at ICE 2018.

Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2018


DFS and poker products


nline gaming software developer EvenBet Gaming will display the latest in innovative daily fantasy sports (DFS) and poker products at ICE 2018. Among the products on show will be EvenBet Daily Fantasy Sports, a featurepacked new turnkey solution that allows operators to seamlessly integrate a marketleading DFS product. It has been designed and developed to guarantee deep user engagement, offering a range of features including the ability to manage fantasy teams during events, communicate with friends and other players via a social layer and create customized matches based on real events.

New at ICE will be a dedicated 2018 FIFA World Cup DFS package, featuring teams, players and a data feed focused on the World Cup, which kicks off in Russia on June 14. Also on display will be EvenBet’s worldclass poker product, which is updated on a weekly basis to ensure it remains at the cutting edge of the industry. This includes new functionality allowing the integration of slots into EvenBet’s HTML5 poker client for the first time, providing a significant boost to cross-selling. Both EvenBet’s DFS and poker products can substantially improve retention and user engagement, particularly for online





voplay will present a disruptive slot game at ICE 2018 – Necromancer. Necromancer is a slot based on unique Full HTML5 3D technology, allowing players to experience total immersion in the 3D world, namely free camera rotation, full VR on your smartphone’s browser without any additional downloads, unique gameplay mechanics and a completely new level of 360-degree game experience. According to the gameplay, Necromancer raises warriors on regular spins. When scoring a winning combination, he sacrifices the warrior in the name of black magic. This action activates a re-spin with a ‘raise of the army’ feature, which increases the chance of raising these warriors. Carrying out a ritual, Necromancer may find an ancient treasure, which in turn activates five free spins. Each free spin unlocks the ‘raise of the army’ feature. Necromancer allows for full 3D on any

Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2018

operators in Asia during an all-important World Cup year, and the products are quickly and seamlessly integrated into existing sportsbooks and casinos. “In an increasingly competitive field, even within the emerging jurisdictions of Asia, it has never been more important to offer a strong product mix that keeps players engaged,” said EvenBet Gaming CEO Dmitry Starostenkov. “I look forward to meeting operators at ICE to discuss how EvenBet’s products can help boost engagement, retention, and revenues.” To find out more about EvenBet’s products and to see them in action, visit stand S3-200.

device; the possibility to move the camera to change the view and enjoy the gaming process in the most comfortable way. It not only allows players to experience a realistic 3D environment, but the chance to also interact with it, by clicking on different objects during the game. The slot seamlessly combines captivating plot with userfriendly mechanics. Necromancer will launch in February and run on all platforms, including mobile, VR, tablets, desktop and smart TV, in most regions of the world. The integration with the Evoplay game platform is simple and takes one week. There are two types of integration: clients integration after Evoplay API; and Evoplay integration into the client’s API. The entire Evoplay portfolio supports all ISO currencies, popular cryptocurrencies and is open for localization into European and Asian languages. Find Evoplay at stand S6-108 at ICE.

Sports, casino and payment offerings


veryMatrix has expanded greatly since its entrance to the market, reaching new milestones in growing its Sports, Casino and Payment offerings to clients and partners. From sportsbook and casino to payments and affiliate systems, EveryMatrix’s products work independently and can be easily integrated with existing platforms or can be offered as White Label, where clients can choose to operate under their own gaming licence or use one of theirs. This year, clients will be able to experience EveryMatrix’s latest Frontend Technology & Content Management System for building responsive mobile first gaming websites, get access to more than 5,000 casino games from over 60 game providers with CasinoEngine Direct, get introduced to the Unified Bonus System, and check out the new Odds Processing Component. Attendees at ICE 2018 can enjoy a wide selection of free premium beverages, taste various drinks from around the world, and listen to quality LIVE DJ music. Don’t miss the 10 years anniversary cake and champagne on Feb 6 at 16:00 local time at stand N6-310.


Make success the only option


n an ever-changing world of new technologies, at ICE 2018 Gaming Laboratories International (GLI®) will have a team of collaborative industry experts on its stand to help regulators, operators, and suppliers to pave a way for success. GLI will be on stand N3-210, where its team of global experts will meet with attendees and present the many ways GLI can help regulators, operators, and suppliers in land-based gaming, iGaming, and lottery make success the only option. Additionally, GLI President/CEO James Maida will address ICE attendees on the panel “Business Leaders: Doing Business in Indian Country” at 14:30 on 6 February. Tribal gaming is a $32 billion a year industry, and GLI has been working with Tribal leaders, operators, and regulators since the beginning. Maida will help attendees understand the similarities and

differences between Tribal gaming and the global market. “Each of the 1,000 employees at GLI is committed to delivering the highest levels of quality and accuracy, rapid testing times, and supreme resource capacity to our clients in landbased, online, and lottery. We are thrilled with the opportunity to present our leading services at ICE, and we look forward to welcoming the industry to this outstanding event,” said GLI EMEA Managing Director Martin Britton. GLI’s experts also provide a wide range of testing, certification and professional services for operations of all sizes, including lotteries who are upgrading systems. Additionally, GLI Cybersecurity Services will discuss tools to help regulators, operators, and suppliers shore up their cybersecurity defenses to be better prepared to

detect and react to a cyberattack. Earlier this year, GLI acquired NMi Gaming, providing NMi’s clients with instant global reach through GLI’s accredited 475 jurisdictions. NMi will be on stand N4-122. Both GLI and NMi representatives can discuss all available services. Visit GLI at ICE 2018, stand N3-210.


Currency and SMART RFID solutions


aming Partners International returns to ICE in 2018 with an extensive suite of table game products including chips, plaques, jetons, layouts, dice and more. GPI will be showcasing its full collection of table game products with substantial emphasis on cutting-edge currency features, a range of playing cards and RFID solutions. With the most comprehensive gaming currency options available in the industry, GPI delivers options to its customers including the popular BG V-Series chips. The V-Series was developed using a new, 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 alongside GPI’s available unparalleled security features. Those who order the V-Series with four or more color shots, will have included an infrared security feature exclusive to GPI customers. GPI has also added newly developed and advanced options to its vast suite of currency security features. Its BG customers can now include a new Focus feature into their injection molded chips. Focus is an advanced covert security feature that will be demonstrated to some of their select customers. In addition, BG V-Series customers can also incorporate GPI’s unique Hollow Shot in their chips. The Hollow Shot is an indentation in the chip’s

outer ring and serves a dual purpose in the chip’s design and counterfeit deterrence. Customers will be able to see firsthand demonstrations of GPI’s exclusive highfrequency SMART RFID products and solutions. SMART offers the latest advancement in casino currency RFID technology and is available on all of its currency brands. When used with the Casino Inventory System (CIS) software, SMART delivers a complete currency tracking and authentication solution and one of the most robust, anti-counterfeit security solutions available. GPI offers all the necessary components from SMART RFID currency, to antennas and readers. The company has developed new and advanced solutions using SMART to provide its customers some of the highest-level currency security options available. GPI is excited to introduce a new line of premium paper playing cards under the Paulson brand, Paulson Aces. Paulson Aces are manufactured using a heavier, high-grade paper stock and offers superior snap, feel and durability. Also on hand, will be the full line of its Gemaco brand of playing cards which includes both paper and plastic card types. With a variety of stocks and finishes, GPI’s card lines provide ideal handling and dealing for all types of table game play. For more information, visit stand S7-230 at ICE 2018.

Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2018


Connecting digital with the real world


olden Race is kicking off 2018 at ICE with the company’s first public appearance since it won the 2017 SBC Award for Best Virtual Football Product. . Golden Race will exhibit their newest games: 3x3 Basket and Horse Racing in 3D, which features a superior level of graphic excellence, making games almost identical to flesh-and-blood. Going one step ahead in connecting the digital and real world, beautiful human hostesses pick the numbers in virtual surroundings through the fun Spinmatic slot games, that include classics such as Keno and in-house developed ones, such as Bet on Numbers. Fast-paced and thrilling, players are not the only ones that enjoy high quality and success. Operators too. Offering the most cost-effective solutions, Golden Race has top-notch terminals and the industry’s first one-of-a-kind online and direct-to-mobile platform, the industry’s first all-in-one virtual betting sportsbook. Without a doubt, ICE will cause a revolution in the industry, since Golden Race will host many more surprises at their stand S2-322.

Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2018


London Hunter


lots and table games provider Habanero is set to unveil its latest blockbuster title, London Hunter, when it exhibits at ICE for the third time. The appropriately-named product is the supplier’s very own take on Victorian London, but with a Steam Punk feel, a rogue T-Rex on the loose, and a Sherlock Holmes-style character on hand to save the day. Visitors to Habanero’s stand (N3-243) will be able to check it out in a game-themed area, which will be decked out as a traditional cobbled street complete with old-fashioned street lamps. The company’s newly-appointed European head of business development, Arcangelo Lonoce, believes stimulating new content such as London Hunter will help them spearhead an expansion into western Europe during 2018. He said: “We are beginning to expand globally having established a portfolio of exciting games that have become great revenuegenerators for our operator partners. “The next stage is definitely to make the breakthrough into western Europe and I am very confident that our games will be equally popular among these audiences. “Games like London Hunter, with its great

graphics and brilliant maths features, can act as ambassadors for Habanero and we are very excited about showing them off.” Over the last year, Habanero has been working to ensure its games are certified across a number of jurisdictions, including, the UK, Gibraltar, Malta, and the Isle of Man. 33 titles developed by the supplier in 2016 and 2017 have also now met the requirements of the Italian regulator (AAMS), with the remaining ones in their catalogue and all new releases to follow in future. Habanero is currently in advanced discussions to take the games live with several leading operators in Italy, and is set to announce a partnership deal during the conference. The company agreed a number of operator and game aggregator integrations in 2017, most-recently signing with multichannel casino platform provider Digitain in December. The supplier now offers over 80 video slots titles, 10 table games, and 10 video poker titles, which are integrated with over 60 operators and aggregators and available in 24 European and Asian languages. See Habanero at stand N3-243 at ICE 2018.


Designed to entertain


GT’s ICE stand will feature a range of gaming solutions that will bring to life the company’s trade show theme, “Designed to Entertain.” From content and cabinets, and from systems to interactive solutions, IGT invites its gaming, lottery, and interactive customers from throughout the world to enjoy the innovations within its ICE stand N3-160. IGT will shine a spotlight on the Company’s commitment to innovation through products such as SPHINX 4D, Ghostbusters 4D, and the Sex and the City Video Slots game featuring PowerSight technology. SPHINX 4D and Ghostbusters 4D combine TRUE 3D, gesture recognition and mid-air haptic technologies to create an immersive multi-sensory gaming experience. PowerSight technology enables a player to stare at on-screen objects to unlock them in pick bonuses and other player-selectable components of gameplay. Many of IGT’s internationally celebrated multi-level progressives such as Fort Knox Video Slots, Hyper Hits, Fortune Gong and CASH CLIMB will be on display, along with new TRUE 3D titles such as Phoenix Rising 3D, and the Company’s new mechanical reel linked progressive, Money Storm on the S3000 cabinet. The company will demonstrate its commitment to localized, playertested content through its robust and diverse video core portfolio. The CrystalCurve cabinet with its ultra-HD, 4K, 43-inch curved display will showcase in-demand games such as Wild Fury Jackpots, Star Rise and Dreams of Egypt. IGT will also showcase the depth and breadth of its dual-screen core video portfolio with games such as Guardians of the Rose, Mistress of Egypt and Temple of Fire on the CrystalSlant cabinet, and diversity HD game bundles on the AXXIS 23/23 cabinet. IGT will also spotlight its multi-faceted offering for its interactive customers by showcasing the content and features within its Remote Game Server (rgs). The company will highlight its new, omni-channel games such as Ocean Magic, hot licensed brand such as BAYWATCH, new Casual Games, and recently introduced game features from its Gaming Services solution. The Company’s award-winning mobile solutions, PlaySpot and Cardless Connect, will be in the IGT stand and will illustrate how innovative mobile technology can enhance the land-based casino environment.

A mix of Electronic Table Games (ETG), Video Lottery Terminals (VLT), skill-based products, bingo content, video poker games, and tournament solutions will round out the more than two hundred innovations that ICE show-goers can enjoy in IGT’s ICE stand. IGT can be found at stand N3-160 at the show.


iSoftBet ready to rock at ICE


nline and mobile casino content provider, iSoftBet, is set to pull back the curtain on a raft of new products and innovations at ICE Totally Gaming. After the success of its most recent title, Eye of the Amulet, the supplier will launch three new blockbuster slots – Legend of Loki, The Dalai Panda in Europe and Mystery of Long Wei – over the three-day exhibit. Each of its new games boasts sleek graphics, authentic sound and innovative gameplay. The supplier’s latest slots are developed in its state-of-the-art Pulse framework, launching simultaneously across

desktop and mobile. iSoftBet will also be showcasing a new marketing tool that allows operators to better engage players via in-game competitions, leaderboards and unlockable achievements based on actions or symbol combinations. The new tool is available across iSoftBet’s portfolio of original and branded content, as well as the third-party games offered via its powerful Game Aggregation Platform, which includes slots from the likes of Ainsworth, Habanero and Elk Games. Michael Probert, head of business development at iSoftBet, said: “We are

thrilled to be returning to ICE once again, and to be launching three new games and our latest marketing tool to delegates. “Our new slots pack a punch through bold graphics, innovative math and mechanics, and new and exciting in-game features. We can’t wait to show them to operators, who will also have the chance to spin the reels themselves.” Visit iSoftBet at stand N5-240 – where delegates can chat with senior members of the iSoftBet team, try the supplier’s games and products, and sip cocktails named after its latest game releases.

Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2018


Strong representation


he Department for Enterprise, representatives from the Gambling Supervision Commission and a large delegation from the Isle of Man’s e-Gaming sector will be attending ICE this year to promote the Isle of Man as a world-class destination for e-Gaming business. Tony Ure, head of e-Gaming at the Department for Enterprise, commented: “The Isle of Man is one of the top centres for e-Gaming in the world and shows like ICE give us and our stand partners an opportunity to promote the Island’s holistic offering and meet with new and existing companies who are looking to start, grow or relocate. “In the Isle of Man we are building a world-class e-Gaming ecosystem that offers operators and entrepreneurs the full suite of

services for their business, with professional support services to guide every potential new licensee through the process and beyond. “This year we have a total of 15 stand partners that are all local companies looking to promote the Isle of Man and secure quality leads for their businesses. It’s encouraging to see such strong engagement from the private sector as we work towards our shared goal of creating an environment that allows businesses to thrive and flourish.” Local companies Sure, Manx Telecom, Domicilium, C8, Wi-Manx, Affinity, SMP, Cavendish Trust, Boston, TGP, Appleby, KPMG, Casinocoin, ManxFX, and Capital International Group will all be joining the Department for Enterprise at stand N6-220.

James Cunningham-Davis, managing director of Cavendish Trust Company, commented; “ICE is a hugely important show in the e-Gaming calendar and as such Cavendish Trust has chosen to partner with the Department for Enterprise on their stand at ICE for a number of years. We believe the Isle of Man continues to offer an internationally respected, responsible, secure, and stable home for remote gambling companies of any size. We look forward to another successful show and to working with the Department’s e-Gaming Team to help advise and facilitate more remote gambling businesses to call the Island their home.” Visit IOM and their stand partners at stand N6-220.

JCM global

Award-winning transaction solutions


CM is set to present its broad portfolio of award-winning solutions, arranged in four distinct areas on the stand: casino, arcade, sports betting, and back office. “We are excited for ICE 2018 and for the excellent opportunity the show provides us to interact with our customers,” said JCM EMEA general manager Payam Zadeh. “We have divided our stand into four unique sections, and that modular configuration will help make it easy for our customers to find the perfect solution for their specific needs.” In the casino section, attendees will find JCM’s iVIZION bill validator. Field-proven worldwide with more than 250,000 units shipped to date, its CIS technology scans the entire note or ticket, reading more than 9.5 million data points on every note, more than twice that of the nearest competitor. The UBA bill validator accepts currencies up to 85mm wide and protects operators with a powerful combination of superior magnetic and optical sensing technology coupled with superior anti-pullback technology and an automatic retry feature. JCM’s TBV accepts single note and bulk note transactions, accepts multiple denominations and currencies simultaneously, and its bulk note feeder accepts up to 50 notes for quick processing of large stacks. Printing solutions begin with the GEN5, with its faster CPU and faster print speed,

Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2018

flexibility to print TITO and promotional tickets, and various wager tickets and templated promo coupons, and JCM’s CouponXpress desktop TITO/coupon printer brings the functions and flexibility from the game to the cashier’s cage, hotel front desk, unattended kiosks and other transaction points. The ICB 3.0 drop management system is field-proven to save operators 100s of 1000s of dollars annually and can provide real-time health monitoring data and predictive drop and maintenance scheduling to dramatically increase operational efficiency. Also showing in the Casino Section is JCM’s FUZION technology. When combined with iVIZION and GEN5, FUZION unleashes the possibility for each slot machine could become a multi-line profit center. In the Sports Betting Area are the Vega, VegaRC, Vega-RC Twin and DBV-500 bill acceptors. The Vega line’s combination of bill acceptor and the optional recycling unit makes the it an attractive choice, and the DBV-500’s universal design supports most major currencies without any hardware modification. Additionally, the Nippon Printer’s super compact design makes it the perfect solution for kiosks. In the Arcade section, attendees will find the EBA-40 acceptor and the Fujitsu F53/F56 acceptors/dispenser. The EBA can accept notes up to 85 mm wide, and has integrated mechanical anti-stringing technology, while the Fujitsu F53/

F56 can dispense up to 6 denominations at a speed of two banknotes per second. JCM’s Ticket2Go retrofit ticketing solution for gaming and AWP devices offers a safe, secure and easy to use solution that has been deployed with a variety of AGC, Bingo and Pub Retailers that is multilingual and multi-currency. The Back Office section features the highspeed deposit RDM 100, short-edge banknote validation module, which can dramatically increase efficiency and security. Its full-width image scanning allows for superior banknote validation, dye stain note detection and serial number reading. It processes notes at an incredible 6 notes per second, and its 250-note capacity reduces load frequency. Plus, it can be easily integrated to the top or inside of an intelligent deposit safe. Visit JCM at ICE 2018 at stand N3-220.


Original slot releases


onami Gaming, Inc. has announced a diverse array of original progressive games and video slot themes featured at the ICE Totally Gaming show. This year, guests will have the opportunity to explore a record variety of progressive game styles spanning symbol-trigger, linked, wheel-spin, mystery-trigger, pick ‘em, and more—with leading flexibility and adaptable configurations for different market conditions. Konami stand S6-110 will have a full lineup of SeleXion multi-game cabinets, including the ICE debut of SeleXion on its 43-inch curved Concerto Crescent with games such as Lotus Land Deluxe Wild, China Shores Great Stacks, and Dragon Fury together on one machine. Power Boost Inferno will be among the centerpiece progressive game attractions. This all-new linked progressive for Concerto upright and Slant allows players to activate more prize opportunities on a 3-round wheel-spin bonus at higher extra bet amounts. Similarly, Konami’s fiesta-themed Smash Smash Festival will also be a featured linked game at ICE and allows players to select their own extra bet amount, with greater bonus odds at higher extra bet levels. Power Boost Inferno and Smash Smash Festival both offer advanced compatibility with SeleXion multi-game and combine with most KP3+ platform base games, including Chili Chili Fire and Dragon’s Law Twin Fever. Konami’s Cai Lai Si Ji pick ‘em style progressive series has proven top performance for markets around the world and has quickly become a player favorite with its 5-figure mega jackpot chance. The series spans several custom base game titles and is available for Concerto upright and Concerto Slant. Directly neighboring Cai Lai Si Ji at ICE is another new bonus series launching with debut titles Celestial Sun Riches and Celestial Moon Riches. In addition to its multi-denomination capabilities and bet multipliers, this series invites players to increase their bet level in order to expand a special reel area called the Strike Zone for additional bonus opportunities. Konami’s Castlevania themed slots are arriving to ICE for the first time this February. The game’s debut launch titles have a 4-level standalone progressive bonus in which players battle against fierce monsters and Dracula himself for a chance at the jackpot. Lucky O’Leary Jackpots is another exciting release on Crescent, bringing Leprechaun’s magic to the machine’s elegant HD curved display for a rainbow of symbol-based jackpot adventure. During ICE 2018, Concert Crescent will feature SeleXion multi-game functionality for the first time. Operators can custom select a mix of player-favorite Konami Crescent games for each machine, with the option to add a standalone or linked progressive. It offers a versatile solution to feature a rapidly expanding library of single screen game releases from Konami. Guests at ICE Totally Gaming are encouraged to visit Konami stand S6-110.


Playboy Gold


icrogaming is adding another branded title to its portfolio with Playboy Gold. The new title joins Playboy’s enormously popular original Playboy online slot which launched five years ago, as well as the revolutionary Playboy Live Dealer, the industry’s first branded Live Dealer studio. The game delivers a new 6-reel slot format with a host of base game and bonus features to keep players entertained, while embracing the iconic and global brand to the fullest. It is set to launch on March 7, 2018. Playboy Gold has been developed by Triple Edge Studios, a new independent studio that is providing exclusive content to Microgaming. Officially launching at ICE in February, the studio will be creating original, high quality games which will be available exclusively to Microgaming and Quickfire operators. “For decades, gaming has been one of the most popular and iconic parts of the Playboy Lifestyle,” said Valerie Golson, Playboy’s senior vice president of gaming and location based entertainment. “From our successful Playboy Clubs and Casinos and landbased games to our VIP player events and our online gaming properties, Playboy’s unique and exciting take on the world of gaming have been some of the most successful in the industry. We’re thrilled to be working with Microgaming to expand our partnership and introduce a new gaming experience for players around the world.” David Reynolds, games publisher at Microgaming, comments: “To work with Playboy again has been a real pleasure. They are one of the most recognised and popular consumer brands in the world and Triple Edge Studios has worked tirelessly to bring the brand to life in Playboy Gold. The game is hosted by Playmates Raquel and Audrey and delivers non-stop action. We are excited for the game’s launch and to be unveiling the title at the industry’s biggest trade show!” Microgaming is set to exhibit at stand N5-220 at ICE 2018.

Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2018


Taking guests on an enchanted journey


ccupying a giant footprint on the ICE show floor, NOVOMATIC will take guests on an enchanted journey through the world of gaming, from land-based to interactive – and around Europe – with innovations for each key market. “After completion of the Ainsworth transaction in January, our participation at ICE is another important milestone for NOVOMATIC at the beginning of this year,” said Harald Neumann, NOVOMATIC CEO. “Our ICE portfolio covers the industry’s entire range of gaming products and solutions with innovative content for delivering new player experiences and developing next- generation gaming solutions.” NOVOMATIC Gaming Industries (NGI) is proud to reveal brand new cabinets, exposing the latest in gaming technologies. The new cabinets will present a wide selection of single games and multi-games, including the launch of new focused game mixes. The ENCHANTED FORTUNES Linked Progressive presents NOVOMATIC games on a linked progressive jackpot – with special

titles such as Book of Ra Mystic Fortunes, Treasure of Tut and Goddess Rising, as well as new games like Pyramid Fortunes and Vampire Fortunes. After its introduction to the US market at G2E last year, the licensed title From Dusk Till Dawn makes its international, omni-channel debut at ICE – presented on the NOVOSTAR V.I.P. III and V.I.P. Lounge cabinets, as well as tablet and mobile devices. Exciting new slots will take players on an action-packed US adventure in the 4K version of Great American Wilds or into the playful realm of Viking & Dragon with Extra Wild Entertainment. The Ainsworth Game Technology (AGT) line-up of cabinets – A640, A600 and A600 Slant Top – presents compelling content such as the standout Pac-Man Dynamic Edition, as well as new games Desert Dusk and Rio Riches. Highlights also include HAO YUN DAO, an Asian-themed linked progressive, the MEGA CHOICE TREASURES mystery progressive, as well as new brands Fire Power, Big Hit

Bonanza and Raging Roosters Reloaded. See what’s on display this year at Novomatic’s stands S5-110, S5-130, S5-140 and S5-150.


Pragmatic Play



A single touch goes a long way

neTouch will arrive at ICE 2018 armed with its industry-leading online and mobile roulette, blackjack and baccarat products as well as exciting new titles including Hold’em Poker, Russian Poker and Sic Bo. OneTouch prides themselves on providing an intuitive user experience across all of its titles via a single touch on all modern handheld devices thanks to its cutting-edge JavaScript framework and mobile-first approach to layout design. OneTouch Roulette presents a regular and zoomed-in view of the betting table, ensuring players can quickly and accurately place their bets with the use of just their thumb. When the spin button is pushed, the view then focuses on the ball as the wheel turns, while desktop players can watch close-up images of the ball’s final bounces before it comes to a rest. It recently released a ground-breaking new version of baccarat featuring its signature “squeeze” feature, where players can gradually roll any edge of the card to reveal. The decks are also shuffled using a Provably Fair RNG, allowing players to verify the integrity of the shuffling and cards dealt to them, creating a gaming experience which is both exciting, enjoyable and fair. Both titles will be available to play on stand S9-112 at ICE 2018, as will OneTouch’s new range of exciting table games that appeal to markets all around the world. OneTouch also had its first slot game in development: Sumo Showdown. True to form, OneTouch has continued its mobile-first approach to design and has plenty more slot games to add to its fast-growing portfolio later this year. To see the OneTouch portfolio in action, visit stand S9-112 at ICE 2018.

Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2018

Games to experience ast-growing casino games developer Pragmatic Play is set to showcase its multi-award winning slot portfolio at ICE. The provider has boosted its portfolio of more than 80 slot games with a standout series of quality additions in recent months, debuting Vegas Nights, Panda’s Fortune and Diamond Strike to a skyrocketing number of fans in regulated markets around the world. Releasing two new games a month, Pragmatic Play is able to deliver exciting, tightly modelled games swiftly and without any sacrifices in quality. This commitment to speed and quality is reflected in the efficiency of the company’s technical integrations, many of which have taken place within less than two months of the initial meeting. The company has also embarked on a concerted recruitment drive in the last 12 months, and many members of its experienced and accomplished team will be on hand at ICE to discuss its leading offering to online casino players. Gearing up to unleash a selection of impressive new products, Pragmatic Play can be found at booth N8-120 throughout the show.


Unleashing OMNY


lots specialist Play’n GO is to showcase its omni-channel capabilities with its new platform, OMNY, on stand N3-460 at ICE 2018. The pioneering platform, which enables players to transfer game progress across

any land-based or digital device, will be demonstrated by the Play’n GO team over the three days. Capable of driving retention through a straightforward interface for users and detailed back-end for operators, OMNY is a truly omni-channel casino tool. Play’n GO will also feature its latest games on stand, with the recent launches of gridslots Viking Runecraft and Reactoonz confirming its position as the leading, premium slots supplier, confirmed by numerous award wins in 2017 for its casino content. All of its gaming and platform provisions tie in with its casino (GAT) and games (GMT) back-office systems and operator platforms seamlessly. Johan Törnqvist, CEO of Play’n GO, said: “Our product range at this year’s ICE will be stronger than ever, with the past few months seeing us launch several successful games, develop our platform provisions and confirm our position as the leading omnichannel supplier. “I’m proud to showcase our progress at the show, and I encourage all delegates looking to improve on their casino operations to visit our stand where we’ll demonstrate how our extensive products can enhance your player satisfaction and drive revenues.” Play’n GO will use stand N3-460 at ICE 2018 as a platform to exhibit its pioneering product range to new and existing partners alike.

R. Franco Group

Showcasing global solutions


he R. Franco Group will display a full range of retail and online products for global markets at ICE 2018. The supplier has been exhibiting at ICE for more than two decades, and brings more than 50 years of gaming experience to the show. Its team of more than 300 members combines creativity with cutting-edge technology to deliver a world-class leisure and entertainment experience to clients. In attendance this year will be the group’s president, Jesús Franco, and a full showcase of the company’s products, including its largest portfolio of games, products, solutions and content for AWP,

bingos, arcades and casinos, both for the land-based and online sectors. This extensive catalogue of solutions has a proven record of success, which were designed by and for the operator to ensure they meet every need. The 500-square metre stand, the biggest of any Spanish company at the show, will also include a display of products from the group’s online arm, R. Franco Digital. These include the open, omni-channel IRIS platform, an extensive range of HTML5 games, and Kolyseo, a remote microservices-based games server scalable to an unlimited capability. Rubén Loeches, chief marketing officer of the R. Franco Group, said: “ICE 2018

promises to be one of the most exciting shows for years, and the R. Franco Group will be showcasing a truly world-class collection of products. “The gaming industry is presented with a huge range of opportunities across global markets, from Europe’s mature jurisdictions to emerging regions such as Latin America and beyond. To capitalize on these opportunities, operators need to partner with suppliers which possess technological, service and local expertise. “With that in mind, we look forward to discussing how the R. Franco Group can help businesses grow in global markets at ICE.” Visit R. Franco at stand S6-210.

Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2018


Innovation to the mobile market


ast-growing casino game developer ReelNRG enjoyed great commercial success through 2017 on the back of the company’s commitment to driving mobile differentiation. Highlights of the provider’s portfolio, including Goddess of Asia and Ella’s Riches delivered innovation to the marketplace through optimized mobile display and celebration messaging, alongside expertlymodelled, story-driven gameplay. Adept and seamless localization are at the core of ReelNRG’s proposition. The developer’s video slots are all fine-tuned for

success in igaming’s varied markets, all with their own unique demands, and everything from language and visual presentation to volatility and bonus games are expertly calibrated to meet the requirements of each audience. Signing with BetVictor in October 2017, the company saw its games go live in the Asian market for the first time. Forthcoming in 2018 is the reveal of ReelNRG’s remote gaming server (RGS), enabling faster and comprehensive implementation of the company’s gaming technology with

its growing array of operating partners. Reducing both the time spent and cost of integrations, and providing operators with the benefits of true scalability and flexibility, the introduction of ReelNRG’s RGS underlines the provider’s commitment to technologically adept solutions. CEO Calvin Kent and CTO Amit Majumdar are actively engaged in discussions with operators, and will be on hand at ICE to discuss the provider’s uniquely mobiledriven solutions. See them around the show floor at ICE 2018.

with the likes of leading instant-win games provider IWG, RISQ is empowering its operators with the progressive functionality of proven easy-to-integrate models. RISQ also offers hedge bets and insurance on the outcomes of over 50 international lotteries. Their technology runs off the very latest software, which safeguards data with automated timestamps and the most robust anti-tampering systems.

The products improve clients’ margins and the bottom line, alongside engagement and retention. To find out more about RISQ and see them in action, visit stand S8-255.


Jackpot RNG


ISQ, the technology company offering high-level precision and data analytics in jackpot risk-management, will showcase its latest products at ICE 2018. The company provides insurance on international lotteries and has access to the largest insurance limits in the industry. The revolutionary Jackpot RNG is suited to a wide range of applications, tailoring odds, jackpot-size, and frequency. These scalable solutions stimulate traffic, acquisitions, and retention in the global-gaming and digitalmarketing sectors. RISQ offer the first-ever insured RNG solution, with the scope to grow limits up to GBP250 million per play. RISQ have leapt on to the scene over the past year, with a game-changing random number generator (RNG) platform which boosts client jackpots by up to GBP25 million. The industry-specific generator is a gaming first, and can be attached to a number of client games including slots, tables games, lottery, keno, bingo, and instant win. Furthermore, its landmark launch can also tailor the generator to individual needs for game development, operations and marketing. Optimizing margins and revenueperformance have never been more salient in today’s ever-changing gaming landscape, and the market is crying out for huge, scalable jackpots. RISQ are accordingly raising the bar to new heights for cutting-edge systems, customized development, and sophisticated risk management. As evidenced by the recent partnerships

Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2018


Fastest payments in the business


PNPay is a Payment Service Provider (PSP) that supports the fastest payments in the business. RPNPay accepts all industries, however high-risk, and will assist clients by any means necessary to ensure they consistently achieve the maximum amount of growth from their service. The company regularly shares its knowledge of global and local markets while also advising on a wide range of business matters. RPNPay can process payments on behalf of all of our merchants and vendors.

The company prides itself on its outstanding retention rate. The company says it has built its business on reliability, referrals and delivery. RPNpay will arm any business with the online and mobile payment giants of Asia improving chances of success exponentially. Asia payments expertize, guaranteed same day settlements, high quality payment processing at competitive rates, the ability to handle massive growth in your transaction volume and 24/7 support are reasons to look at RPNpay as a Asia PSP. See RPNPay at stand N8-238.


Introducing Nanoptix printers


ash handling equipment is a prominent offering in the SUZOHAPP portfolio and a broad range of components will be showcased at ICE. These include Comestero coin validators (RM5 HD) and banknote validators (MFL and SC Advance), and coin hoppers (Flow, Cube and Evolution). For complete coin recycling, SUZOHAPP recommends the ICS for its multi-denomination coin pay-out technology. This Intelligent Coin System represents eight hoppers and a sorter all in one product. The compact design makes is easier for manufacturers to incorporate. Banknote recycling is increasing in importance in the global gaming business and the Bill-toBill is already well established in a number of different markets with its unique benefits such as a multi-note escrow and large note recycling capacity. SUZOHAPP also offers complete solutions for operators, such as Comestero change

machines and SCAN COIN back-office coin and note sorters. ICE attendees will have the opportunity to learn more about the Dual Coin Pro and Easy Pro change machines and the SC-8220 banknote sorter. Significant focus will also be placed on the new SCAN COIN ICX Active-9 coin sorter. Through years of research, development, testing and industry trials, the ICX Active-9 is engineered to be the best at delivering what any coin sorter should accuracy and consistency. The ICX Active-9 is a brand new mid-range Coin Sorter which has 9 coin outlets and a reject outlet, with a count speed of 2,700 coins per minute. At ICE, SUZOHAPP will be introducing Nanoptix as their new global printer partner. SUZOHAPP will proudly display the Paycheck NextGen and further solutions which are the ideal ticket printers for the gaming market. Display technology is a focus for SUZOHAPP and there will be a wide selection on the stand. As long-serving partner for ELO, visitors can

look forward to seeing the latest ELO solutions for touchscreen technology that includes Open Frame, Desktop Monitors and IDS. SUZOHAPP will be showing its own range of monitors as well under the VisionPRO brand. A vast selection of toppers will be displayed, including the top-selling SH1950 LCD Video Topper. SUZOHAPP offers a great variety of pushbuttons as well. The highlight here is the PKT (Picture Key Technology) that is the leading-edge technology in tactile controls, combining SUZOHAPP’s key capabilities in push buttons, displays and RGB LED design to create an innovative all-in-one solution. They are fiber optic glass push buttons that present any graphic content from a display underneath the surface, with the tactile feel of mechanical pushbuttons. Further examples of components on display include AudioPRO speakers, locks, Newland barcode scanners and switches. SUZOHAPP can be found at stand N4-110.

Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2018


Celebrating its 45th anniversary


018 is a milestone year for TCSJOHNHUXLEY, with the family owned and operated company celebrating its 45th anniversary as the premier manufacturer and supplier of live table gaming products and services. Tristan Sjöberg, executive chairman comments, “We are delighted to be celebrating this milestone event in our corporate history. We continue to focus on expanding our global brand but it is important to reflect on our humble origins and the contribution our customers and staff have played in the success of the company. Our 45th anniversary year will be a time to acknowledge our stakeholders but also look to the future as we continue to innovate and lead the industry with our strong portfolio of products.” To coincide with this important anniversary, one of the company’s most significant products sees a new model being launched at the show. The latest Chipper Champ will be unveiled at ICE, featuring a range of key upgrades that will provide operators with improved productivity, security and reliability. All fundamental in keeping this benchmark product ahead of the competition and still the ultimate ‘Champ’. ICE 2018 also sees a new addition to the Qorex Electronic Gaming Solutions range. First debuted at G2E in October, the ergonomically designed Qorex Terminal now has a smaller 23” cabinet in addition to the existing 27” version. Powered by the GFL Gaming module which provides exciting live and automated game

content, the new 23” cabinet incorporates all the features of the original larger terminal, but has been designed to provide a more compact footprint – ideal when space is at a premium or there’s a restriction on the number of tables. Also for the first time, visitors to ICE will see a range of products tailored to meet the needs of the igaming sector.

With the ability to reach hundreds of thousands of players across the globe on a daily basis, operators of online live casinos demand the reliability and security that TCSJOHNHUXLEY products provide. To see all these new offerings and the full TCSJOHNHUXLEY product portfolio visit stand S6-250.

Amsterdam on the hunt for bonus feature beauties and the big prizes they carry. Ondrej Lapides, Tom Horn Gaming’s CEO, will be in attendance this year, as will several other senior members of the team, as the supplier shows off its gaming solutions and portfolio of titles. Much like its gaming solutions, Tom Horn’s slots portfolio is designed to appeal to a range of demographics and territories in order to offer something for everybody. It recently agreed a deal with games aggregator Solid Gaming to supply its unique and exclusive content to its network of operators. Included in its portfolio are Geisha’s Fan, Thrones of Persia, Feng Fu, Dragon Egg and Shaolin’s Tiger, which are sure to appeal to

Asian-focused operators. Tom Horn was also awarded its UK licence and is looking to attract more UK-facing operators and aggregators in 2018 as it continues to push ahead in the industry. Ondrej Lapides, Tom Horn Gaming’s CEO, said: “ICE is always the highlight of the gaming calendar and we can’t wait to show the industry what we have to offer. “It’s always great to meet new people and get a glimpse of what the industry has to offer as providers and operators alike continue to push ahead with new ideas and concepts. All delegates looking to improve their casino offerings and see the latest in games content and platform provision are encouraged to visit Tom Horn Gaming on its stand N7-410 at ICE 2018.

Tom Horn Gaming

New titles


om Horn Gaming will debut two brand new slots and showcase its full portfolio of titles at ICE 2018. The supplier is looking to build on a successful 12 months having launched games such as 243 Crystal Fruits and Dragon Riches, Tom Horn’s first ever progressive video slot. Tom Horn Gaming will unveil two brand new titles – Wild Weather and Red Lights – both of which are designed to perform seamlessly on both desktop and mobile platforms. Wild Weather features scorching skies, rattling thunder and pouring rain, as well as a free spin feature triggered by landing between three and five scatter symbols in any one game. Tom Horn Gaming’s Red Lights will also debut, with players immersed in downtown

Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2018


Complete fintech solutions


fter more than a year of continuous technological developments, TraderSoft is ready to reveal its latest addition to its innovative line of next-generation trading platforms, backoffice systems and professional services: a fullyrounded crypto brokerage solution, customized MT4 Plugin and exclusive CRM additions. To stay competitive in the Fintech services industry, the company offers an all-inclusive solution that goes together with today’s most essential financial industry sector demands from the get go. With a complete focus on equipping both brokers and traders with premium technologies and intuitive tools to maximize revenues, TraderSoft seeks to further develop its boutique tailored services while continuing to expand globally. Some of the products, solutions and services the company provides include top-tier web-based trading platforms for CFDs/FX, fit for all devices; Android, iOS & tablet dedicated apps; back office

solutions, such as CRM, CMS, affiliate program and marketing tools; and personalized services, such as account management, technical support, affiliation support, web and dev services, sales & marketing training and business consulting.

The latest additions provided by TraderSoft introduces some of the most innovative solutions in the fields of seamless crypto trading technology, chart analysis and customer relations. Tradersoft can be found at stand N6-233.


Esports and blockchain unite


dvanced betting solutions provider UltraPlay will present its premium eSports betting suite during the upcoming ICE Totally Gaming in London. With its 7 years at the iGaming frontline, UltraPlay presents its latest products and expanded portfolio to all delegates who are invited to the company’s stand at S1-110. The company’s extended offerings and highlights this year to catch the attendees’ interest include: Esports betting solutions – The revolutionary match-predicting system offering the widest odds feed on the market right now - odds. gg will be presented with the latest add-ons and upgrades made by the company in the last 12 months. Besides the most popular game titles, UltraPlay has expanded its odds feed with Heroes of the Storm Live, Kind of Glory also covering live betting as well as FIFA Interactive World Cup and GWENT. Along with the diversified coverage of 25 competitive games, UltraPlay offers 3000+ eSports events monthly as well as 1500+ in-play events. UltraPlay’s team will answer why eSports betting holds great potential, and

how the iGaming brands can benefit from it. Trading services – The advanced risk management and trading panel empowers larger operators with trading teams to fully control their pre-match and live offer leading to a successful iGaming operation. Advanced betting platform and world-class iframe solution – Turnkey solution powered by UltraPlay will meet all requirements of operators searching to expand their betting options in order to elevate players’ experience. Growth is only possible with a reliable partner such as UltraPlay with a platform backed up with a wide range of functionalities and cutting-edge technology. The figures don’t lie – 50+ sports, more than 30,000 live events per month as well as 2000+ betting markets. eGold – the ultimate eSports betting cryptocurrency will be presented during its crowdsale. Blockchain technology for eSports betting will be shown on Buff88, an eSports dedicated platform, which is going to be released this month. As a crypto and eSports dedicated brand, a number of cryptocurrencies will be

available on Buff88, starting with Bitcoin as well as eGold. Attendees will be acquainted with the project’s goals and advantages of the Blockchain-based betting. UltraPlay has been in Bitcoin since 2013 and will share its in-depth knowledge on how iGaming brands can lead the Blockchain technology wave and benefit from the advanced betting solutions.

Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2018


Gold Club roulette


in Systems is set to introduce its Win Systems’ Casino Management System, as well as its Gold Club electronic roulette and GameStar slot machines at ICE this year. Its powerful casino management system WIGOS, together with its innovative tools Intellia and WinUp will be demonstrated by senior personnel, along with its new-to-market WinStats, which allows the management to monitor key casino real-time figures at a glance in the mobile phone. 2017 saw Win Systems introduce its new electronic roulette and gaming cabinets under the Gold Club and GameStar brands respectively, with a variety of both on this year’s stand. Gold Club’s various multiplayer roulette machines will be on stand, including the new Gold Club Ventura of 6 positions, the most compact (therefore profitable) in the market. Win Systems will also introduce its innovative Chinese roulette system, a world premiere targeting the numerous Asian players in casinos.

GoldStar gaming cabinets, including the new AWP for the Spanish market will also be on display, as well as its extensive portfolio of new proprietary games. Eric Benchimol, CEO of Win Systems, said: “The last year has seen us fully integrate Gold Club, and we’ve reaped the benefits in recent months as we demonstrate our end-to-end casino solutions to existing and prospective operators across the world. “ICE 2018 will give us the platform to showcase our expanded product range, including the new electronic roulette with 6 positions, our new AWP solutions for the Spanish market or WinStats, which I’m confident will receive very positive feedback from delegates. “We’d like to welcome any current and potential partners to visit our stand, where we’ll be delighted to demonstrate how our flexible and scalable casino solutions can benefit their casino estates.”

Win Systems will be at stand S6-150 at ICE 2018.

to its portfolio of table games, all utilizing a highly-detailed 3D dealer and innovative social experiences, which will allow players to sit and communicate with other players at the gaming table. Yggdrasil table games will initially go live with operators Vera&John and Intercasino, both part of the Jackpotjoy Group, in a beta partnership with a view to being fully operational later this year. Yggdrasil CPO Krzysztof Opałka, said: “Our table games provision, starting with Blackjack, is set to break new ground in online casino gaming. The table games vertical has been fairly static in recent years. But our product’s combination of social interaction and high-end playability is unlike any other currently on the market. “It won’t just be a single player trying to beat the house, but instead thousands of real players from all over the world, who are all able to join the game simultaneously with the aim of hitting big hands and bigger wins. “We have a packed roadmap of innovative new games and features. Our aim is to innovate table games in a similar fashion to slots, where a constant product cycle of new variations

built on familiar mechanics drives growth.” Jackpotjoy Group head of gaming at Victor Olinger, said: “Yggdrasil is a well-known name across the industry that has become a byword for innovation in the slots sector. It is fantastic news to hear they are turning their attention to table games. “It is a major coup to be the first operator to go live with Yggdrasil’s table games, and we look forward to bringing this exciting new product to our full customer base this year.” The table games’ proprietary 3D engine, REDUX, has been developed internally from scratch and uses the latest technologies to ensure seamless performance and rapid loading. The product will open extensive crossselling possibilities for operators, and will also sync with Yggdrasil’s collection of ingame promotional tools, BOOST, facilitating network campaigns. Yggdrasil’s table games will complement its expansive product range, which has recently seen the addition of bingo alongside its extensive collection of slots titles. The first table game will be demonstrated at ICE Totally Gaming in February 6-8 in London at the Yggdrasil stand N3-140.


Table games entry


ggdrasil Gaming is set to revolutionize the table games sector when it enters the vertical during the first quarter of 2018 with a game-changing new collection of products. The supplier is developing several popular multiplayer table games, with Blackjack the first to go live, using its progressive, in-house technology, REDUX. The product will also include popular sidebets and a range of powers unique to each dealer. REDUX combines the best aspects of both live and RNG casino, providing the perfect platform for players to fully immerse themselves in a 3D casino environment, which uses motion capture technology to model the movements of the dealer. Several different, high-quality dealer characters are being developed using the technology, and each will be programmed with detailed hand movements and facial expressions to interact and communicate with the player. Alongside a standard branding package, there will also be the option for exclusive, customized tables and dealers. Operators will be able to dress up the game according to their visual identity or special themes. Roulette and Baccarat will then be added

Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2018



Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2018

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Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2018


Gaining critical mass Sharon Singleton

Managing Editor, AGB

Asia’s gambling industry is heading into 2018 on a firmer footing than it has for several years, with most major markets having chalked up strong growth in 2017, though China and its policies will continue to be the main driver when it comes to performance.


acau, the region’s gambling capital, saw gaming are concerned. However, elsewhere, most still gross gambling revenue jump 19.1 percent need to court that mainland visitor. To be sure, Asia’s in 2017, rising for the first time in three middle class is expanding, with Thailand and India in years. The growth was unexpectedly led particular, showing promise as source markets, but the by the VIP market, which many analysts had given numbers are still eclipsed by China. So what are the latest trends and what are the risk? up for dead following Beijing’s anti-corruption drive. According to figures from the Gaming Inspection According to analysts, in the most recent quarter, and Coordination Bureau (DICJ), VIP revenue in the mass market sector in Macau performed better the final three months of the year, rose 21.9 percent, than expected. Although some surveys have indicated that the moderating from the 35 percent clip 17Q3, but still outstripping the 17.1 percent growth rate recorded by more savvy China tourist may be looking further afield than Macau, Morgan Stanley contends that the the mass market. Analysts are expecting another year of growth, with visitation base has spread to second-tier cities… and Morgan Stanley upping its estimates to 16 percent for that bodes well for the outlook. It says it expects these cities to become bigger and overall GGR, while Bernstein wealthier, with their residents sees an increase of 10 percent. more willing to spend. The Philippines also In the first 11 months of recorded a strong year, despite To be sure, last year visitation to Macau coping with the fallout from Asia’s middle class from second-tier cities was up a major attack on the Resorts 13 percent, while visitation World Manila casino in June, is expanding, with from Tier 1 cities, such as which killed 37 people. The Thailand and India in Shanghai and Beijing, was IRs in Entertainment City up only 3 percent, it said. chalked up 27 percent growth particular, showing And according to a survey, and that is likely to extend promise as source residents of these cities to a 32 percent increase this indicated a strong propensity year, according to Morgan markets, but the to want to travel this year. As Stanley estimates. numbers are still a result, Morgan Stanley has Likewise, Singapore’s IRs upped its 2022 estimate for showed a steady recovery, eclipsed by China. Macau GGR to $60 billion helped by the VIP business, from $53 billion previously. while casinos in Cambodia This renewed focus on and Vietnam also powered ahead. Although overall market figures are not available, mass will be a positive for the Macau market, especially NagaCorp, Cambodia’s biggest operator, posted a 40 as VIP is forecast to slow again this year. According to Bernstein, the sector will face renewed headwinds from percent gain in interim GGR. While VIPs were the main story in 2017, the focus cooling measures on Chinese real estate, credit tightening is expected to switch back to the mass market this year. in China and a continued focus on capital outflows. In the short term, other regional destinations are China will continue to be the dominating factor due to the sheer strength of numbers. It is the world’s largest unlikely to get such as lift from China’s new travellers, outbound travel market, with figures projected to top who judging by prior patterns will likely opt for familiar 200 million by 2020, according to CLSA estimates. destinations such as Macau for their first foray abroad. Gaming venues will be key beneficiaries, the firm said. However, lessons from the past have also shown that Operators in the Philippines, which does allow locals these travellers are prepared to spread their wings to play in casinos, can boast decent support from the relatively quickly. If they do the pie is big enough to domestic market, at least as far as visitation and non- go around Asia’s IRs.

Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2018

AGBriefings February 2018  

Operator viewpoint: expansion, revenue and trends AGB brings you extensive coverage across all types of gaming, across 22 Asia jurisdiction...

AGBriefings February 2018  

Operator viewpoint: expansion, revenue and trends AGB brings you extensive coverage across all types of gaming, across 22 Asia jurisdiction...