Page 1

Jurisdiction Updates February 2019 Edition

In focus pg.26


Gaming’s new superpower


Genting grapples with lawsuits, taxes pg.18

CAMBODIA Junkets jump in pg.22


Banking on the bridge pg.8

South Korea Diversification reduces risks pg.12



Gaming’s golden goose


n the six years since the inception of Asia Gaming

the right product mix and Japanese favourite pachinko is

Briefings, we have seen Macau grow and mature, with

unlikely to feature highly.

the construction site that was the Cotai Strip blossoming

Outside of Japan, we continue our series of jurisdiction

with some of the world’s most impressive integrated

reports, looking at the key emerging themes. The first

resorts. The Philippines has evolved from a sleepy local

casino in Vietnam to allow locals to gamble opened its

gambling backwater into a thriving hub that is nudging on

doors in January as part of a closely watched three-year

the heels of Singapore for the title of Asia’s second-biggest

pilot program. If successful, operators are hoping the

gaming market, while casinos in Cambodia have boomed,

government will agree to allow other properties to join,

fuelled by massive inbound Chinese investment.

boosting the appeal of an already attractive market to

There has never been a dull moment and all of these

international investors.

jurisdictions are expected to continue to expand and

In neighbouring Cambodia, the number of new licenses

provide opportunities. However, it’s fair to say there has

granted expanded by 53 percent last year, attracting the

rarely been as much excitement about the prospects for a

attention of a growing number of junkets. We look at who

new market opening as there is for Japan. We can’t count

is doing what, why and where.

the times we have heard industry experts and analysts

In the Philippines there is concern the booming online

refer to it as “gaming’s golden goose.” Whether that

industry may be in Beijing’s crosshairs. The number of

turns out to be the case remains to be seen, however, the

Chinese nationals working in the industry has expanded

interest certainly justifies starting the 2019 editions of

to the extent that Manila’s office property market has

Asia Gaming Briefings with Japan as the focus.

been boosted by China-focused online firms. Some

During the course of the year, operators are expecting to get

analysts are speculating 2019 will be the year when the

finer details on how the bidding and selection process will

Chinese government seeks to put a stop to that.

be carried out. Many have been on the ground in Japan for

Lastly, we take a look at another potential new entrant.

years, building a base for when the market eventually opens,

Myanmar has introduced new legislation with a view to

but now they are stepping up their games in earnest.

boosting tourism numbers, which are suffering due to politics.

Our first piece in the focus section provides a state of play

AGB will be at ICE London and we look forward to catching

and maps out what to expect over the course of 2019, both

up with many of you at the show.

Rosalind Wade

Luis Pereira

in terms of legislation and the local politics that may play Connect with us:

a key role in where IRs will be located. We also ask the operators to tell us in their own words why they want to


develop a resort in Japan and why they should be chosen out of a field that includes the cream of the world’s

Asia Gaming Brief

Asia Gaming Brief

gaming crop. They explain their unique selling points.

On behalf of Asia Gaming Brief

We also consider some of the factors that will shape the future casino floor. Regulations, tourism preferences and

Rosalind Wade & Luis Pereira

the national psyche will all come into play when choosing



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Asia Gaming Briefings | Februay 2019


Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2019





A bridge too far? Four months after the opening of the Hong Kong–Zhuhai–Macau Bridge (HZMB), Macau’s casino sector is weighing up its immediate impact, with most analysts agreeing the benefits will only be felt in the longer term.

Asia Gaming Briefings | Februay 2019


he bridge, which cost almost $20 billion and was beset by delays since construction began in 2009, was finally opened by Chinese President Xi Jinping on October 23. But amid the fanfare was a sense that a project Beijing has been keen to stress will be transformative for the region may not substantially benefit Macau’s casino operators. Indeed, even before the bridge opened, there was confusion over whether casino shuttles would be permitted to use it, with a series of restrictions placed upon who is allowed to cross. Back in May, the Macau Transport Bureau said individual casino shuttles would not be allowed to use the bridge, but that it was open to the casinos providing a joint shuttle service to the Macau border. These have already begun to operate, via a third-party charter service, dropping off customers to Macau’s ferry terminals. “I would imagine that eventually there will be more casino traffic allowed as things smooth out and an even flow begins to settle in,” Richard P Loughlin, director of operations at the Asia Pacific Consultancy (Macau) Ltd., told AGB. Loughlin said that it is too early to draw conclusions on the bridge’s impact, a view shared by the Macau Government Tourism Office (MGTO), with director Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes noting that it would take “more time” to properly evaluate its impact. Nonetheless, others are more bullish. Melco Resorts and Entertainment chief government affairs officer Maggie Ma noted at the MGS Entertainment Show conference in the middle of November that both City of Dreams and Studio City have been witnessing


increasing traffic, which she accredited to a mix of the improved connectivity the bridge provides as well as events in Macau. Regardless of the numbers, an important consideration for operators is the profile of those additional visitors arriving via the bridge. “I think the profile of visitors coming across the bridge will be low end mass, if even that,” said Loughlin, who has used the bridge to travel from Macau to Hong Kong and back. “From a Hong Kong person’s perspective, they first need to get to the departure area.

I think the profile of visitors coming across the bridge will be low end mass, if even that.

Once that’s done they arrive in the Peninsula and then have to make their way back to Cotai, which pending traffic, would be a good 30 minutes or more. “Honestly, the novelty of driving on the bridge is a factor, plus it is cheaper, but if your intention as a player is to get from HK Central to Cotai ASAP, then the bus is not the way to go.” So far, there has been little to suggest that additional visitors arriving via the bridge will convert into table drop. There have even been some reports that the bridge has seen a noticeable increase in those

arriving in Macau as part of unlicensed tour groups, something de Senna Fernandes at the MGTO has said she is “highly concerned” about. Another issue is it could negatively impact the length of time visitors stay in Macau. “What I am unsure about is whether the bridge might hurt overnight occupancy rates in Macau,” David Green, former gaming practice director with PricewaterhouseCoopers in Macau and founder of gaming consultancy Newpage Consulting, told AGB. “If people can get to Macau early in the day, and go back to HK later that day, then hotel and F&B revenue will be lost. The issue is whether the bridge will change average length of stay for the worse,” Green said. One area where Macau’s casinos might see a more immediate uptick is international traffic. “Hong Kong gets a huge number of international travelers every year and with the novelty of crossing the longest sea bridge in the world along with avoiding ferries, Macau may be able to tap into more of this market,” Loughlin said. Before the bridge opened, the consensus among analysts was that it was unlikely to have a material GGR benefit for casino operators in the short term. Early indications appear to support the view. While the MGTO forecasts the bridge would contribute to a 7 percent year-onyear increase in visitor numbers to Macau in 2018, the profile of these visitors will not overly excite operators. “The possibility for this to be a positive to Macau is there for sure, but it may not be the casinos who solely reap the rewards,” said Loughlin.

Operators face increasing geopolitical risk in 2019 Macau’s gaming concessionaires face increased geopolitical risks in 2019, said Steve Vickers, a Hong Kong-based international risk expert in his annual risk outlook report for Asia. At most risk are US casino operators in Macau, including Sands, MGM, and Wynn Resorts, whom Vickers says sit at the “geopolitical fault line.” “Spiralling tensions with the US could spur Macau to dilute US casinos’ sectoral dominance, not least given the links between gaming tycoons and the Republican Party,” said Vickers. With Macau’s chief executive, Fernando Chui stepping down at the end of the year, what the Macau government does with its current gaming concessionaires will be influenced by who will take up the role as the new chief executive, said Vickers. Vickers believes that Ho Ian Seng, who currently chairs the legislative assembly, is the most likely replacement for Chui. Vickers believes that should Ho become chief executive, he could call for Chinese companies to buy into, or take over, existing gaming businesses, or simply refuse to grant new concessions to the current operators.

Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2019


MGM china

Sands China

MGM China (2282:HK) is operating two casinos, with its MGM Cotai IR opening in February. The IR, with its jewellry box design, is already contributing to group results. The HK$27 billion IR features 1,400 hotel rooms and suites, meeting space, high end spa, retail offerings and food and beverage outlets as well as the first international Mansion at MGM for the ultimate luxury experience. Two Macau junkets, SunCity Group and Guangdong Group, opened VIP rooms at MGM Cotai at the end of September. The company expected to add a further three before 2019. MGM’s license is due to expire in March 2020 and the government still has not offered any clarity on how it will handle the rebidding process. Some analysts have expressed concern the U.S. operators may be vulnerable to Sino-U.S. tensions. MGM Resorts International said it has appointed former Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval as president of global gaming development to spearhead the group’s global expansion, particularly in Japan. With the Governor joining the team, MGM Resorts President Bill Hornbuckle will now lead global casino marketing in particular to help drive growth in Macau.

Sands China (1928:HK) has five properties in Macau. The $3 billion The Parisian opened in September 2016 and is now a key driver of group results. It features a scale replica of the Eiffel Tower, nearly 13,000 hotel rooms, two million square feet of retailmall offerings and two million square feet of MICE capacity. The company also has the biggest room inventory in Macau, making it best positioned to benefit from expansion of the mass market. Bernstein Research says Sands China is likely to be the key driver for Las Vegas Sands group revenue for the next few years. Sands China makes up 58 percent of group profits and accounts for 23 percent of gross gambling revenue in Macau. Bernstein rates LVS an outperform with a price target of $65 a share. “Sands’ product offering is well positioned to capitalize Macau’s continued paradigm shift from VIP to Mass gaming over the long-run,” the research found. “We forecast net revenue for Sands China to grow ~9 percent CAGR from 2017 to 2022E, roughly in line with the Macau market.”

Galaxy Entertainment Group 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. It said recently it was investigating the unlawful use of its brand and name by a new Vietnamese resort in Cam Ranh Bay, Nha Trang. According to a company statement, GEG said it had found advertisements on social media marketing the upcoming opening of the resort – referred to has “Nha Trang Galaxy’s” bearing a mark extremely similar to that of GEG, with a similar Chinese name. GEG also said that photographs of the resort appear to be those of Duyen Ha Resort Cam Ranh. The group is seeking a license in Japan along with Societe des Bains de Mer and was awarded a license for a casino in the Philippines, although that project has stalled due to political opposition.

Asia Gaming Briefings | Februay 2019

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. The company’s Studio City International Holdings unit recently raised a total of $359.4 million in a U.S. Initial Public Offering, with a final offer price of US$12.50 per ADS. Bernstein said it views the IPO of Studio City as value accretive to Melco, setting the stage for a potential acquisition of the outstanding minority interest by Melco in the future. “The IPO effectively reduced net debt at MSC, while MLCO maintained majority ownership and bought into MSC with inexpensive debt,” explained Bernstein in the note. “The transaction provides for New Cotai a step toward monetizing its interest in Studio City and a potential path towards a future MLCO acquisition of Studio City. If Melco were to eventually buy out the minority interest in Melco, the IPO, and public market trading price also help set a price threshold,” it added.

SJM Holdings SJM Holdings (880:HK) has 22 casinos in Macau. The company recently announced the appointment of Paul Baker, a former Genting executive, to head its Lisboa Palace IR. The opening of the $4.6 billion resort has been delayed until the second half of 2019. Duty-free retail operator China Duty-Free Group will be


GROSS GAMING REVENUE 2017 MOP265.7b 2018 MOP302.85b December Bernstein 2019E Morgan Stanley 2019E

+19.1% +14% +16.6% +5% -2%

Greater China attracts most mainland tourists in 2018 The Greater China region — Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan — got the lion’s share of all outbound tourists from the mainland in 2018, according to the China Outbound Tourism Research Institute. Arrivals to Hong Kong and Macau rose 13 percent, to 50 million and 25 million respectively, it said. About three million visited Taiwan, meaning 48 percent of the total ended in the Greater China region. Overall outbound tourists rose stand at about 162 million, which is slightly ahead of COTRI’s forecasts and represents a year-on-year growth rate of 12 percent. However, the first half of the year saw the stronger growth of 15 percent, whereas for the second half of the year the growth rate fell to below 10 percent.

one of the anchor tenants of the retail space at the new resort, with 7,500 square meters of retail space on the first floor. The company held the original gaming monopoly in Macau, under founder Stanley Ho, although its market share has been slipping in favor of the newer properties on Cotai. Analysts don’t expect any significant improvement until after the opening of the Lisboa Palace. It has one of the first concessions to expire in March 2020, along with

MGM. The consensus view is the government will grant a two-year extension to bring expiry in line with the other concessionaires so they can be dealt with at once.

Wynn macau Wynn Macau (1128:HK) operates two resorts, with its $4 billion Wynn Palace opening in 2016. The company’s original property is

on the Macau Peninsula. The Wynn Palace has 1,700 hotel rooms and 90 percent of the resort will be non-gaming. The resort has two further plots of land available for development and the company is considering adding more non-gaming attractions. Analysts said the ramp up of the resort is accelerating, after a relatively slow start due to construction making access to the property difficult.

Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2019





Diversification, non-gaming help offset political hiccups South Korea’s foreigner-only casinos are entering 2019 in a more stable political environment than the past few years, though it remains to be seen whether this translates into a better performance from the operators after a mixed year in 2018.

Asia Gaming Briefings | Februay 2019


ensions between North and South Korea have eased and President Moon Jae-in is in a relatively strong position after the corruption convictions of two of his predecessors crippled the opposition. However, the regime of Kim Jong-un is unreliable and the trade war between the U.S. and China complicate the outlook, according to the 2019 Asia Risk Assessment from Steve Vickers & Associates. “Tensions with North Korea have fallen, but optimism could dissipate when talks reveal the vast distance between Pyongyang and Washington,” the report said. President Moon has sought closer ties with China after a frosty few years brought about by Seoul’s deployment of a U.S. missile system, though the trade war may make rapprochement with Beijing more difficult. The delicately balanced relations between the North Asian nations have proven to have a major impact on the bottom line of South Korea’s foreigner-only casinos. China banned tour groups to the country after the deployment of the missile system in March 2017, resulting in a strong hit to revenue. Such knocks, which followed shortly after the tourism plunge due to an outbreak of Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome in 2015, highlighted the risks of foreigner-only casino models and the need for the IRs to be able to attract a broader client base and woo locals with non-gaming attractions. The success in such initiatives appear to have been reflected in 2018 results, with Paradise Co. putting in a strong performance and its rival Grand Korea Leisure reporting weak revenue. Paradise Co. runs four casinos, including the country’s first true IR, Paradise City in Incheon, near Seoul’s international airport. The latter opened in April 2017 and is a venture with Japan’s Sega Sammy, which has helped draw in Japanese VIPs. The company reported an almost 16 percent gain in casino revenue for 2018, with both table games and machine revenue showing strong growth. Total revenue for the year was KRW638.3 billion ($570.6 million), with table revenue up 15.7 percent to KRW595.7 billion and machine revenue up 16.9 percent to KRW42.5 billion. For December alone, the operator reported an 8.4 percent increase in revenue to KRW55.5 billion, with table revenue up 8.4 percent and machine revenue gaining 32.2 percent. As of publication, the company has not provided a more detailed analysis of its


annual performance, though its Q3 earnings presentation suggests that performance is being driven by its Paradise City IR. The resort in Q3 reported a gain of 21.8 percent in casino drop, fuelled mainly by Japanese and other VIPs, while its hotel revenue surged 47.6 percent, driven by locals on mini-vacations, referred to as “hocances” in South Korea. Paradise rolled out further non-gaming amenities in September and added a duty free shopping store in December, marking the completion of the first phase of development. Paradise City is the first of several IRs planned for Incheon, including a project by Mohegan Gaming and Entertainment and

Caesars Entertainment. Executives have stressed the success of these multi-billion dollar initiatives will be in large part down to the ability to draw in the crowds from the vast Seoul area with non-gaming initiatives. Grand Korea Leisure, which is owned by the Korea Tourism Organisation and does not have the advantage of a full-scale IR, reported total casino revenue fell last year, brought about by a decline in machine sales. The company reported a total of $431.14 million in casino sales with a 14.4 percent year-over-year decline in machine revenue to $51.38 million. Table revenue was flat at $379.73 million. The company runs three casinos under the Seven Luck brand.

PARADISE GROSS GAMING REVENUE Drop by Nationality (S-Drop) (KRW bn)

Casino Sales by Site (KRW 00 mn)

VIP (China)

VIP (Japan)


Jeju Grand

VIP (others)


Paradise City






















(Source: Paradise Co.)

Former Kangwon Land head sentenced to three years The former head of state-run casino operator Kangwon Land was sentenced to three years prison for conducting illicit hiring practices between 2011-2014, local media reports. Choi Hung-jib, former CEO of Kangwon Land Co. was indicted for instructing his officials to favor candidates with ties to high-profile politicians during the hiring process. Last year, two lawmakers from the main opposition party in South Korea were also indicted in connection to the job placement scandal. Representatives Kweon Seong-dong and Yeom Dong-yeol were charged with abuse of power and business interference but were not detained.

N. Korea reportedly halts casino project North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has reportedly ordered the halt of casino-related projects in the country under pressure from Beijing. Radio Free Asia in December cited sources with connections to the secretive regime as saying that the order affects the construction of a hotel in Sinuiju, which was to have included a casino. Sinuiju is located across the Yalu River from China’s Dandung. “The main reason for halting the casino project is that it has been deemed that the project is a major hindrance to obtaining investment from other countries, particularly China,” RFA quoted the source as saying. “Kim appears to have made the decision upon hearing that the Chinese government is negative about North Korea’s casino project.”

Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2019




Online gaming in the firing line? There’s growing concern that China may launch a crackdown on the streaming of casino games into the country this year, potentially dealing a major blow to the booming industry in the Philippines and Cambodia.


he issue was highlighted by Spectrum Gaming Group, an independent research and professional services company, as the second most important trend that the global gaming industry needs to monitor in 2019 in the 15th edition of its annual rankings. Specifically, Spectrum predicts that the “online gaming industry… will begin to face scrutiny from China and international regulators.” A lack of transparency and regulation makes it “impossible to assess the financial consequences of such a crackdown, according to Spectrum’s managing director, Fredric Gushin. “The law in China is clear relating to casinos and streaming and proxy betting from casinos in Macau, but what is happening elsewhere would seem to fly in the face of existing law and policies in China,” he said. China has been increasingly active in tackling unregulated gambling, with some startling results. In July, police in Guangdong province broke up an alleged illegal gambling ring hosting more than $1.5 billion in cryptocurrency bets. Numerous other raids over recent months have led to hundreds of arrests. Streaming, proxy betting and other forms of gaming will eventually be the subject of a crackdown, Gushin said. “As the crackdown on corruption continues, it is likely that efforts to target Chinese citizens who participate in these forms of gaming will also be accelerated,” he added. That’s worrying news for both the Philippines and Cambodia, where online gaming is booming thanks mainly to an influx of Chinese firms. The property market in Manila for example has been fuelled this year by demand from Chinese nationals. JADE Entertainment and Gaming Technologies CEO Joe Pisano expects China to impose further enforcements through website-blocking and threatening citizens who are found to be involved with a reduction in their Social Credits System score. Under the system, Beijing plans to give all citizens a ranking by 2020 to standardize their social reputation, or “credit.” A lowly score can be used to punish citizens in a number of ways, from restricting travel movements through to blocking their children from joining prestigious educational institutions. China’s efforts have already extended beyond its borders though. “China has already conducted several actions over the past two years to rein in the more egregious segments of the online gaming industry in the Philippines and Cambodia


I expect that there will be closer “ coordination between Philippines and

Chinese governments and it is highly likely that the operators that are operating illegally will move to other jurisdictions.

through identifying their nationals involved, cancelling their passports and requesting their deportation from those countries,” said Ben Lee, the managing partner of IGamiX Management and Consulting. “With regards to the video-streaming component of a land-based casino, that is a little bit more complicated and to date, we have not seen any direct action there. However, we would imagine that pressure would be brought to bear on those jurisdictions to rein them in as well.” In order to make a significant difference in controlling online gambling, China requires the support and cooperation of its neighbours. Some observers believe that the headwinds facing providers in the Philippines – coupled with a political regime in the country that has, at times, been antagonistic towards gambling – has the potential to create a perfect storm. President Rodrigo Duterte said in October that online gambling should be “suppressed” in

the Philippines. It was the latest in a series of outbursts by the head of state on the issue over the past couple of years. As has previously been the case, advisers swiftly attempted to tone down the President’s rhetoric by briefing the media that it is only illegal online gambling that sits in his notorious line of fire. However, many believe that Duterte – who usually allows little room for such ambiguities in his statements – has a broader antipathy towards gambling as a whole. Such opposition could matter “a great deal, and in line with his strategic shift towards Beijing, that risk will increase [for providers] as Beijing increase its presence and influence over Manila,” according to Lee. “I expect that there will be closer coordination between Philippines and Chinese governments and it is highly likely that the operators that are operating illegally will move to other jurisdictions,” Pisano added.

Court orders PAGCOR to issue Entertainment City license The Philippine Court of Appeals has upheld a lower court ruling ordering the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. to issue a license for Waterfront Philippines to operate an IR in Manila’s Entertainment City. Waterfront filed a petition for mandamus in 2015 after Pagcor refused to act on its application, despite it having entered all relevant documentation. According to the 19-page ruling the trial court was correct in granting the petition as Waterfront completed all requirements for the project application, including paying a $100 million deposit. The CA also sustained the award of P100,000 as moral damages, as well as P100,000 as exemplary damages to Waterfront, which plans to build the Grand Waterfront Hotel and Casino. It stressed that the trial court’s decision should be implemented without delay, especially the issuance of a provisional license to operate in favor of Waterfront.

Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2019


City of Dreams The $1.3 billion City of Dreams Manila is owned by Belle Corp and Melco Crown Entertainment’s local unit. The shares were suspended from trading on the local exchange in December after stock outstanding dropped below the minimum levels required following a tender offer. Melco faced a backlash against the offer from minority investors who claimed it was unfair. City of Dreams Manila has six hotel towers with approximately 950 rooms in aggregate, including VIP and five-star luxury rooms and high-end boutique hotel rooms, a wide selection of restaurants and food & beverage outlets, a 4,612.44 square meters family entertainment center in collaboration with Dreamworks Animation, a live performance stage, two international nightclubs and a multi-level car park. In Q3, net revenue at City of Dreams Manila was $141.7 million compared to US$148.2 million a year earlier, while adjusted EBITDA fell to $55.2 million from $57.3 million. Rolling chip volume was flat at $3 billion, with a win rate of 2.7 percent compared with 2.5 percent a year earlier. Mass table drop rose to $204.9 million from $174.1 million in the third quarter of 2017.

Bloomberry Resorts Bloomberry Resorts’ Solaire was the first IR to open in Entertainment City and is now planning a second IR to the north of Manila to cater for the local mass market in Quezon City. The company has reported strong results

and in the nine months to end-Sept, GGR gained 10 percent to PHP38 billion. For Q3 alone, the company said its revenue hit record levels for both the mass sector and electronic gaming machines, although its VIP GGR was hit by a lower hold rate. Solaire is a 16-hectare integrated resort. The Bay Tower of Solaire consists of a casino with an aggregate gaming floor area of approximately 18,500 square meters (including 6,000 square meters of exclusive VIP gaming areas), with about 1,400 slot machines, 295 gaming tables and 88 electronic table games. Bay Tower has 488 hotel rooms and 15 specialty restaurants. Contiguous to the existing Solaire Resort and Casino, the Sky tower consists of a 312 allsuite hotel, additional ten VIP gaming salons with 66 gaming tables and 223 slot machines.

Resorts World Manila Travellers International Hotel Group, a joint venture between Genting Hong Kong and Alliance Global, is the owner and operator of Resorts World Manila. The group swung to a profit in the nine months to end Sept. of P1.8 billion (US$33.8 million). Gross revenue increased 8.2 percent to P17.0 billion, up from P15.7 billion in the prior year period, while gaming revenues were up 7.5 percent to P13.8 billion. Travellers said the increase was due primarily to the improvement in volume in both the VIP and non-VIP segments. The company also recorded an increase in revenue from hotel, food, and beverage-related business, increasing 14.9 percent year-on-year to P2.3 billion. The hotel room count for the group’s three hotels (Maxims Hotel, Remington Hotel, and

GROSS GAMING REVENUE TO end sept. 2018 Pagcor

(units in million PhP)


Thunder Bird

























Entertainment City 1Q 2Q 3Q

33,227 35,715 34,174


103,116 (Source: Pagcor)

Asia Gaming Briefings | Februay 2019

Marriott Hotel Manila) remains at 1,226. The property is currently in the third phase of its expansion. The new Grand Wing will have three international luxury hotels – Hilton Manila, Sheraton Manila Hotel, and Hotel Okura Manila, adding approximately 940 rooms. It will also include new gaming and retail spaces, as well as six basement parking decks. Further down the road, it will open the fourth and final IR planned for Entertainment City, which is scheduled for 2020.

Tiger Resort, Leisure and Entertainment Okada Manila, owned by Japan’s Universal Entertainment, is the largest resort in Entertainment City and the last to enter the market, with a soft opening in 2016. The property spans 44 hectares and at the 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.” Fitch Ratings says Okada Manila “has good potential to establish itself as a leading IR in Entertainment City thanks to its scale and high-end focus.” However, its former management have become embroiled in legal challenges. In January, the Philippines, issued an arrest warrant for the company’s founder, Kazuo Okada, in connection with embezzlement charges. A warrant was also issued for the former COO of Okada Manila, Takahiro Usui. Universal has said it doesn’t expect the legal action to affect its Philippine operations. Both men were dismissed from their posts in 2017.

GGR jumps 23 percent in Q3 Philippine gross gambling revenue gained 23 percent in Q3, with figures for the year to September already surpassing 2017’s total, according to figures released by the Philippine Gambling and Amusement Corp (PAGCOR). For the quarter, the total was PHP52.9 billion pesos, compared with PHP43 billion the same period the prior year. For the nine months to September, total GGR came in at PHP158.3 billion ($3 billion), which means the Philippines may be fast approaching the same levels of GGR as Singapore, Asia’s second-biggest market. In 2017, the Philippines generated GGR of PHP152.5 billion. The IRs operating in Entertainment City generated GGR of PHP34 billion in the quarter, up 27 percent from the prior year.


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Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2019



Lawsuits, tax hikes dim outlook A more than $1 billion legal dispute with Walt Disney Co. and Fox Entertainment over a planned theme park, legal action from Wynn Resorts and a nasty tax surprise made 2018 a roller coaster of a year for Genting Malaysia, with analysts slashing their forecasts for the group.


enting, one of the world’s largest casino operators, filed the lawsuit against its U.S. partner in a planned park at its Resorts World Genting property. The Malaysian company is seeking more than $1 billion in damages for breach of contract after 20th Century Fox, whose parent is being bought by entertainment giant Disney, pulled out of the theme park venture. “Unlike Fox, which was perfectly happy to have the Park situated a stone’s throw from the casinos of Resorts World Genting so long as it could continue to extract financial concessions from GENM, Disney wanted no association with a gaming company like GENM due to Disney’s “family-friendly” brand strategy, as

Asia Gaming Briefings | Februay 2019

evidenced by its well documented history of lobbying against the opening of gaming facilities near its parks,” the Genting lawsuit reads. “But seller’s remorse—first by Fox and later by Disney—is not a valid ground for terminating an agreement,” it adds. It was to have been the world’s first Fox theme park and was expected to be the crowning glory of an MYR10.4 billion ($2.4 billion), 10-year, masterplan to overhaul the Resorts World Genting property, with the hope of driving visitation both from home and abroad. Nomura now says it has cut its visitation forecasts by 6 percent for 2019 and 2020 and slashed its theme park revenue forecast by 65 percent, resulting in a cut to earnings of 20

percent next year and the year after. Maybank Kim Eng analyst Yin Shao Yang said he was cutting his earnings forecasts for Genting by 8 percent for 2019 and 10 percent for 2020. Though he added that the termination of the theme park accord is not the “end of the world” for Genting. “Although the theme park will no longer be Fox-branded, we understand that its construction will continue and eventually operate as an “in-house” OTP,” he said, adding the company already has experience in running such attractions. Genting has already invested $750 million of its own money in the park and is claiming additional damages. Maybank argues that if


the company wins its lawsuit, it will essentially has been growing helped by the rollout of new hotels and attractions under the Genting get the theme park for free. Still, Disney has said the case is without Integrated Tourism Plan. The company also owns properties in the merit and resolution is likely to be a long legal process. The 20th Century Fox name U.K., the Bahamas and New York. Genting was also expected to be the crowd puller, Malaysia is a unit of Genting Bhd, which owns Genting Singapore helping the company meet and Genting Hong Kong, its visitation targets of 30 which control properties million by 2020, from 20 But seller’s in Manila and Singapore, as million at present. remorse—first by well as a mega resort under This wasn’t the only construction in Las Vegas. setback for Genting this Fox and later by However, Genting year. The news followed Disney—is not a Malaysia has had mixed hot on the heels of tax fortunes in its forays overseas hikes announced in this valid ground for and analysts have generally year’s budget, which were terminating an been more upbeat about its double the level analysts prospects at home. had anticipated and which agreement. In December, Wynn had already triggered Resorts announced it had a round of downward filed suit against the Las revisions to earnings. Genting said it was reviewing its marketing Vegas resort, claiming the design was too similar strategy and cost structure to look for ways of to its own nearby property and was likely to offsetting the increases. The budget included mislead customers. Another of its planned projects in the U.S. a 10 percentage point increase in tax to 35 percent of gross gambling revenue, as well as ran into legal trouble earlier in the year, forcing hikes in annual license fees and dealer licenses. it to examine ways of recovering a $426.3 million Genting gets about 80 percent of its earnings investment into promissory notes issued by the from its Malaysian operations, where visitation Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe in Massachusetts.

Genting appoints CEO’s son as deputy in management shakeup Genting Bhd has announced a series of changes to its management structure, including the appointment of Lim Keong Hui, the son of Chairman and CEO Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay as deputy CEO. The younger Lim, 34, has been in various positions within the Genting Group since 2009 and most recently held the post of executive director. The changes also included the retirement of Deputy Chairman Tun Mohammed Hanif Bin Omar and Chief Financial Officer Chong Kin Leong. Wong Yee Fun, who was appointed as deputy CFO in January last year, will take on the role of CFO.

MQ Tech scraps $30m Cambodia project MQ Technology Bhd has scrapped its plans to develop a $30 million theme park, casino and hotel complex in Cambodia. The company had previously entered into a Memorandum of Agreement with Cambodian Resorts and Entertainment Co Ltd (CRE) to develop the resort – which would be situated in Banteay Chakrey in Prey Veng Province, in the southeast of Cambodia close to the Vietnam border. However, MQ Technology said the MOA with CRE has lapsed.

Genting 9-mo leisure & hospitality revenue Malaysia MYR4.8b


UK & Egypt MYR1.35b


US & Bahamas MYR1.04b


Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2019



Myanmar eyes IRs to boost tourism Myanmar looks set to be the next Asian jurisdiction to open its doors to IRs as the government seeks to attract much needed tourism dollars, with experts in the region predicting strong interest from potential investors.


he Gambling Bill 2018 has been passed by the Lower House of the Parliament and is now with the Upper House for revisions and will allow foreigner-only casinos to operate in the south-east Asian country, formerly known as Burma. Currently, gambling businesses are banned under the Gambling Law of 1986, although several small casinos operate on the coast of Tanintharyi and along the borders with China and Thailand, to which the government turns a blind eye. “Significant changes are being proposed in relation to gambling in Myanmar. The country has seen a paradigm shift in the last few years with more liberalised policies being pursued,” says William Greenlee, partner and managing director of the Myanmar unit of DFDL, a specialist law firm. “Once the proposed amendments enter into force, the landscape is set to change radically.” It is not a coincidence the casino liberalisation comes at a time when Myanmar’s currency is plummeting - the kyat has lost 12 percent of its value against the US dollar since June - and encouraging foreigners to spend will help draw important foreign reserves into the country. The government will also benefit from income on casino licenses and additional taxes on casino operations which will help offset the massive budget deficit, expected to hit K4.9 trillion ($3.1 billion) this year. The measures are also expected to attract more tourists, with some figures indicating only around 270,000 tourists visit the country annually. Political unrest and insurgent uprisings have hit visitor arrivals. Two legitimate casinos currently operate at island resorts Tha Htay Island and Yadana Island, near Kawthaung in the far south of Myanmar,

Asia Gaming Briefings | Februay 2019

which were set up under a pilot scheme by the military junta in the 1990s. “As a case in point, the casino operating in Grand Andaman Resort Hotel on Tha Htay Island has been functional for 20 years now, with over $12 million in tax receipts paid to the regional government,” Greenlee says. The new law envisages a situation where casinos operate alongside a hotel and are open to foreign nationals only. “Foreign casino investors have displayed notable enthusiasm and fervour over the past few years to invest in casino activities in Myanmar,” says Greenlee. “What the Government is perhaps looking towards is the development of Integrated Resorts or similar in Rangoon and potentially investment into its tourism centres along the coast and inland.” Casinos in border areas would easily attract clients from neighbouring Thailand and China, where gambling is illegal. The government has also said it is planning to upgrade Kawthaung airport to handle international flights to allow more tourists to visit the beautiful Myeik archipelago and Tanintharyi region in the south. “As far as locations are concerned, obviously, Rangoon would be the preferred location, and you can imagine a group trying to negotiate a NagaWorld-style monopoly in the commercial capital of Myanmar,” says Tim Shepherd, Director of Fortuna Investments, referring to the monopoly enjoyed by NagaCorp’s property in a 200km radius of the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh. “After that would come the resort towns both inland and coastal. Also Myanmar’s relations with China will be important to growth, anyone who has visited Sihanoukville (Cambodia) in the last 12 months knows the vast scape of the investment coming from China into

the resort and casino business supported by flights every day from Chinese cities.” Some 30 casinos operate in Sihanoukville and 70 more are under construction. The new legislation is not expected to affect the existing small, border hotel casinos, predominantly clustered near the Thai and Chinese borders, notably in towns such as Mong La and Muse in Shan State and Myawaddy in Kayin. These are operated on licenses granted at a local level by provincial government and security forces to operators from across Asia usually Thai and Chinese investors, and local businessmen. “A significant development in the amended law proposes that casinos may only be open to foreign nationals and not Myanmar citizens. It remains to be seen if this will hold true upon enactment of the law, and what kinds of implications this categorization may bring to bear on wider Myanmar society,” adds Greenlee.


Tourism/economy slow on Rohingya crisis

VISITOR ARRIVALS BY NATIONALITY Comparison between 2017 and 2018 up to November

America -4.68% Canada


West Europe


Asia China



+10.91% +38.08% (Source: Ministry of Hotels and Tourism)

China boosts flights with Myanmar The city of Guiyang, capital of the southwestern Chinese province of Guizhou, has begun direct flights with Mandalay, providing a service three times a week. The route is being operated by China low-cost airline 9 Air and the flying time is about 40 minutes. China has been a growing source of tourism arrivals for Myanmar, helped by the government’s decision to allow visa on arrival for Chinese visitors from October last year.

The worldwide outcry against Myanmar’s treatment of its Rohingya muslim minority is a key reason behind the World Bank’s decision to cut economic growth forecasts for the country. It now estimates growth at 6.2 percent for 2018, compared with 6.8 percent the prior year. Tourism, which accounts for about 2.7 percent of gross domestic product, saw arrivals drop to 0.7 percent in the first nine months of 2018, compared with 7.1 percent growth the prior year. Tourism from non-Asian regions have dropped between 15 and 25 percent offsetting a gain in Asian arrivals of 10 percent. The crisis in Rakhine has also prompted the European Union to consider revoking trade benefits awarded to Myanmar exporters under the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP).

Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2019





Casino boom attracts junket interest Cambodia’s casino boom is continuing, with a 53 percent increase in licenses granted during 2018 and growing interest from Macau-based operators and junkets as Chinese tourism and investment surges.

Asia Gaming Briefings | Februay 2019




ccording to the government, there The resort is expected to have a gross floor are now 150 licenses, up from 98 area of 650,000 sqm with “certain gaming the prior year. The majority of facilities” and is to open by the end of 2019. the activity was centered on the Amax International has two Cambodian coastal town of Sihanoukville, which now ventures. It recently reached a HK$9 million has 88 licenses granted, fuelled by inbound ($1.1 million) accord to provide technical and Chinese investment. pre-opening services to a casino in Sihanoukville. Local media cited the deputy director The casino is owned by British Virgin general of the ministry’s financial industry Islands-incorporated Cheung Shing Global office, Ros Phirun, as saying authorities Travel Entertainment. Amax will provide the aimed to collect $56 million for 2018. “We are design, development and implementation of actively drafting a law to govern casino and information technology systems; the overall gambling businesses, and when it is finalized casino design; the establishment of operational and ready to be activated, we hope revenue and internal control structures and the provision from the sector will be bigger,” Phirun said. of headhunting and recruitment services. The long-awaited legislation is expected The company since Dec. 2017 has also been to attract further investment by creating a operating a VIP room at the Genting Crown regulated market, which will allow for the Casino in Poipet on the border with Thailand. entry of larger, international players. It is Thai nationals have long been the major expected to introduce customers of the a new tax regime, casino, however, in the mid-single recently, with the digit range, as well economic growth We are actively as set minimum of Cambodia driven capital levels. Local drafting a law to govern by the close business industry experts relationship with casino and gambling have also said it’s China, mainland businesses, and when likely to weed out visitors have become some of the smaller thenewgrowthdriver it is finalized and ready border operations. for the VIP room, to be activated, we The interest in Amax says. Cambodia is being Tak Chun, the hope revenue from the driven mainly by second-largest Macau sector will be bigger. inbound Chinese junket, is targeting to tourism arrivals and open its VIP hall at investment under Naga2 early this year, China’s “One Belt, as is the Guangdong One Road,” initiative. More than 1.27 million Group, while SunCity opened its rooms at the Chinese tourists visited the country in the first resort in March last year. eight months last year, a 72-percent increase “The increasing number of Macau-based over the same period in 2017. operators bringing in quality players who spend Figures for the amount of gross gambling longer hours in the property especially in Naga2 revenue being generated are difficult to calculate, as has helped elevating the business volume,” the they are not provided by the government. However, company said. “Suncity physical space and the the country’s only listed operator, NagaCorp, number of tables will be enlarged and its Naga2 has reported stellar growth, becoming one of based operation has already been ranked as one the world’s most profitable casino companies. of the top operations in the Asia Pacific region For the first nine months of last year, GGR since commencing business on 1 March 2018.” rose 94 percent to $1.07 billion, with mass table Macau-based operator Macau Legend buy ins up 57 percent and VIP rollings jumping also plans an operation in Cambodia, recently 128 percent. agreeing to buy land in Siem Reap province The growth in the market is attracting for $90 million, on which it intends to build interest from Macau’s junket operators. an integrated resort. SunCity Group late last year announced The company said it was buying the entire a strategic partnership agreement to provide issued share capital of private Cambodian consultancy services to a $360 million integrated company Howing, which in turn will hold the resort in Cambodia, which is to be opened by land, which comprises several parcels with a local company Golden Sun Sky. total area of approximately 1,200 hectares.

GROSS GAMING REVENUE Nagacorp 9-mo $1.07 b VIP rollings $25.03b mass table buy-ins $887

+94% +128% +57%

Six injured in Poipet casino fire Six people were injured after a fire broke out at an 18-floor casino building in Poipet in early January, according to a statement from a senior police official. Major General Ath Khem, police chief of Banteay Meanchey province, said the fire broke out at 9:30 pm at the complex known as Golden Casino – starting at the casino’s elevator on the fourth floor before spreading to the 13th floor. “No one died in the flames. However, six men got injured due to smoke inhalation while they got trapped in the lift,” said the police chief in comments to Xinhua. Ath Khem added that all those in the casino were successfully evacuated from the casino through an emergency exit. It is understood that the majority of the visitors to the casino were from China.

Amax says Cambodia drives VIP revenue Amax International Holdings said its revenue in the six months to end September surged more than 493 percent to HK$62.3 million ($7.9 million), driven mainly by its VIP room business in Cambodia. The company has been operating a VIP Room with 13 baccarat tables in Cambodia via Victor Mind Global Limited (VMG), a wholly-owned subsidiary, since December 1, 2017. Revenue generated from the VIP Room was approximately HK$50.3 million, the company said. Looking ahead, Amax said it is optimistic for prospects in Cambodia, given the growth of Chinese tourists to the country.

Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2019



Luring in the locals Vietnam’s steadily expanding gaming industry is seen as having among the best potential in Asia, with a pilot scheme allowing locals to gamble for the first time expected to further spur investor interest.


owards the end of 2018, the government gave the final nod for a three-year experiment that will allow Vietnamese into a casino resort on Phu Quoc island in the far south of the country. The casino will form part of a US$2.1 billion hotel and entertainment complex and opened its doors on January 19. The main investor is Phu Quoc Tourism Investment and Development Jsc, a company in which Vingroup, the country’s largest conglomerate, holds a 50 percent stake. In May 2017, Netherlands-based Upffinity Gaming Management signed an exclusive agreement to manage the casino at the Corona

Asia Gaming Briefings | Februay 2019

Integrated Resort, which includes a Radisson Blue hotel, a Vin Oasis hotel, a Safari and Amusement park, convention center, theater and shopping experience. The casino itself was designed by Steelman Partners and includes 18,800 square meters of gaming floor made up of 100 tables and 1000 electronic gaming machines, 3 restaurants, 2 specialty bars & lounges. Vietnam officially lifted its long-standing ban on gambling in 2017, allowing Vietnamese locals to gamble at approved local casinos through a trial program lasting three years. A second project in the far north of the country is also expected to be given approval for local gambling.

The $2 billion integrated resort planned for Quang Ninh province on Vietnam’s northern coast is expected to begin its first phase of construction in the first quarter of 2019 and be fully completed by 2022, according to local news reports. The Van Don project will cover 2,500 hectares and will have a 50-year license if it receives final approval, local media cited Nguyen Duc Long, chairman of the municipal People’s Committee in the province as saying. According to Long, the project is under the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI)’s consideration and he said he hoped the process would be concluded soon.




Korea Japan Taiwan USA

Once completed, the entertainment complex is expected to contribute VND250 billion per year to the state budget. However, to gamble, citizens must be over 21 years of age, and have a monthly income of at least VND10 million ($445). Vietnam has overhauled its casino legislation in the past few years creating a stable framework for the industry. However, the lifting of the locals ban was the clause that attracted the most investor attention, providing access to Vietnam’s developing economy and population of more than 95 million. At present the experiment is highly limited to two fairly remote resorts, however, industry experts expect the pilot scheme to be gradually rolled out to other projects in the country. “Vietnam is the hottest land based gaming destination in Asia right now and it will remain so into 2019,” says Tim Shepherd, a director with Fortuna Investments. “On the demand side, a mixture of proximity to China, safe environment and a wonderful destination for

3,485,406 826,674





+3.6% +15.9%


Chinese arrested in illegal gambling bust

Tourism numbers seen up 16 percent in 2019

More than 20 Chinese nationals were arrested in Vietnam’s southern coastal province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau in December for organizing illegal gambling, local media reports. More than 100 police officers stormed three villas and a hotel in Vung Tau City, seizing 41 computers, 13 laptops, 300 mobile phones, one card reader machine, one machine for producing fake bank cards, 33 ATM cards issued by a Chinese bank and 200 card prototypes. The suspects, which include 20 males and two females, were detained for organizing gambling and producing fake bank cards. Computers and laptops seized contained data showing they were logging into online gambling websites on behalf of Chinese citizens.

Vietnam estimates a 16 percent increase in international visitors to the country in 2019 after posting strong tourism growth last year. The country expects to welcome about 18 million visitors and also forecasts 6 percent growth in domestic tourists to 85 million. Total international arrivals in 2018 reached 15,497,791, up almost 20 percent over the prior year. China was the top source market with more than 4.9 million visitors, up almost 24 percent from 2017, though South Korea was by far the fastest growing market, with tourism numbers up 44 percent to more than 3.4 million, according to government figures.

tourists means plenty of guests. On the supply side strong (and stable) gaming regulation, a large slice of the population which can speak Mandarin, tied to an industrious “can – do” from architects and builders, mean fewer headaches, less capex and greater ROIC on a like for like basis with places like the Philippines.” Vietnam welcomed 15.4 million tourists in 2018, a gain of more than 20 percent and sees growth of 16 percent this year. Mainland China was the biggest source market, though last year, South Korea was the fastest growing with visitor arrivals up 44 percent. Other projects are also moving ahead. The first phase of a multi-billion US dollar casino resort on Vietnam’s central coast, backed by Macau junket Suncity Group, is expected to be completed by the end of this year. Suncity has a 34 percent stake in the HOIANA IR development, which will include a casino with 140 tables and 1,000 slot machines, a golf course clubhouse, a mass market hotel with 313 hotel rooms, an all-suite hotel with

136 suites, a hotel villa resort with 70 units, as well as 30 villa units for sale and timeshare rental, and a condo-hotel with 236 rooms for sale and timeshare rental. As part of the first phase of the Hoiana gaming resort, two towers will provide 270 units of condominium and hotel space. However, it’s not all plain sailing. Australialisted Donaco said the performance of its Aristo International property, bordering Yunnan province, had been hit by a Chinese crime syndicate targeting VIP junkets and customers on the China side of the border. “This had a serious impact on the Aristo in July and August 2018, but following management actions to address the situation, including working with law enforcement agencies on both sides of the border, the results improved in September and again in October,” the company said. Management noted that it’s confident authorities now have the situation under control and business at the resort would return to normal.

Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2019


Betting big on Japan It’s been just over six months since the final passage of a bill establishing the framework for legal casinos in Japan and operators are steadily building their ground games in the race to win perhaps the most coveted license in the world.


large and wealthy middle-class population, an expanding tourism industry in proximity to China and South Korea and a strong propensity to gamble have made Japan the key focal point for most of the largest casino operators. The market is expected to become the second-biggest in Asia in its first year of operation, though estimates for gross gambling revenue vary widely depending on the locations that are chosen for the initial round of resorts. Perhaps not surprisingly, operators have pledged to invest billions to create unique and world-class IRs and have already spent heavily on establishing a presence on the ground. The focus section for our first Asia Gaming Briefing magazine of 2019 is therefore Japan. We will look at the current state of play and what we can expect over the course of this year, both from a regulatory point of view and political. Although the IR Implementation Bill has been passed, there is still strong opposition to

Asia Gaming Briefings | Februay 2019

IRs from the Japanese public and the outcome of many local elections to be held across the country, including Hokkaido, could well play a key role in determining where resorts will ultimately be located. We also publish a map to provide visual representation of the key prefectures hoping to a host an IR, the sites they are proposing and an idea of the local economy. A major part of the focus will be on the operators themselves. In a mini-survey we ask which locations they are studying and why, and what they think it is about their company and proposal that will given them the edge in such a competitive race. Lastly, once these IRs are up and running they will need to fill their casinos. We take a look at what the gaming floor of a Japanese IR might look like and consider some of the factors that may help shape decisions. Alongside the ubiquitous baccarat tables, there is optimism Japan may drive a new generation of high-tech electronic gaming.


Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2019


2019: The Year of Clarity 2018 was the year that settled the question of whether or not casino gambling would be legalized in Japan. The answer was affirmative. 2019 will be the year when the rules of game will be clarified.


hile not precisely connected to the IR industry, the fact that Osaka won its bid to host the 2025 World Expo will create a sense of urgency within the Japanese government to establish the specific national policies as quickly as possible. The clock is now ticking. It is universally understood that if the anticipated Osaka IR cannot open its doors in 2024, ahead of the World Expo, that an irreplaceable opportunity will have been lost. Other than Osaka, it is still a wide open question as to where the other two IRs will be located. Will the gargantuan Kanto region—Tokyo or Yokohama— become host to a major urban IR? Or will the other two be in smaller markets across the country? 2019 will likely not hold the final answer to that question, but by the end of year all the serious local government candidates should have clearly emerged. July 1 will be a key date because that is when the Casino Management Board (or whatever its English name will be), an independent agency under the

Asia Gaming Briefings | Februay 2019

auspices of the Cabinet Office, will be launched with almost a hundred staff members. It will have a budget of about JPY6 billion ($54 million). It remains to be seen whether the Casino Management Board intends to regulate Japan’s casinos in a direct, handson manner, or if other mediating organizations will be employed for that purpose. It will likely be in advance of that event—perhaps in the spring—when the Cabinet Office provides local governments and IR operators a much clearer set of rules about the bidding process, taxation rates, and whole host of other specific regulations that will allow concrete estimates and proposals to be compiled. It seems unlikely that the Cabinet Office officials will be able to answer all the remaining questions, and it would be true to form that some rules continue to be filled out in the months and years ahead, with occasional changes in their policies as problems are pointed out to the bureaucrats. They are, after all, trying to design an entirely new system for an industry with which they have no actual experience.


For the local municipalities, the Unified Local Elections in April will be a critical point on the political calendar for many of them. The elections will include highly IR bid-relevant gubernatorial elections in Hokkaido and Kanagawa prefectures. Also, the Aichi gubernatorial election is in February. Key prefectural assembly elections—these

assemblies must approve an IR bid under the terms of the IR Implementation Act—will be held in Hokkaido, Osaka, Kanagawa, Chiba, Aichi, Wakayama, and Nagasaki. Possibly impactful city council elections are scheduled for Osaka, Nagoya, Chiba, and Kawasaki. It is unfortunately the case that the IR Implementation Act was passed last July

without any genuine public consent. Newspaper opinion polls regularly showed 2-to-1 public opposition to legalizing casino gambling out of concerns such as the possible spread of gambling addiction, organized crime, and youth delinquency. The legislation was nevertheless pushed through because the government has a supermajority in both houses of the national legislature. This will have electoral consequences in 2019. A peculiarity is that support for casino legalization in Japan in almost all cases corresponds precisely to the right-left ideological spectrum in the country. Those on the far right are the most enthusiastic advocates of the IR industry, while those on the far left are the most bitter opponents. Those in the middle are more in the middle. There’s remarkably little deviation from this ideological trend. The upshot is that political support for IRs in every location depends upon conser vative or rightwing governors, mayors, and assemblies being elected, and on liberals and the left being consistently defeats at the polls. In time, this political pattern may change, but it is highly likely to hold true at least through 2019. As the year closes, concrete and reasonably accurate estimates about the economic size of the Japanese IR market will begin to become available. It will be only then that Japan’s gaming future can credibly be measured against the more mature IR markets such as that of Macau.

Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2019


Japan IR location candidates PREFECTURAL GDP

Aichi Prefecture 36.0 trillion yen






Osaka Prefecture



Airport Island

37.9 trillion yen




Mie Prefecture 8.0 trillion yen


Wakayama Prefecture

KUWANA CITY Nagashima Spa Land


18.5 trillion yen



RFI 7 10 11

Nagasaki Prefecture 4.3 trillion yen


SASEBO CITY Huis Ten Bosch


Asia Gaming Briefings | Februay 2019

8 9



Hokkaido Prefecture 18.5 trillion yen









Rusutsu Resort Hotel and Convention Centre

Japan Regions Hokkaido Tohoku








Kansai Chugoku Shikoku Kyushu

Tokyo Prefecture 94.9 trillion yen




TOKYO Undetermined



Kanagawa Prefecture 30.3 trillion yen


KAWASAKI CITY Near Haneda Airport



YOKOHAMA CITY Yamashita Pier


Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2019


GROUPE BARRIERE Jonathan Strock, president Barriere Japan


here is your preferred location and why? We are interested in the regional locations, that is to say not Osaka, Tokyo nor Yokohama.

What do you think is unique about your proposal? Barriere has a very long standing Responsible Gambling program in place, with concrete measures to protect our customers and the population. In addition, we have over a century of history of working with municipalities and regions, which is exactly what is required in Japan. Are you holding talks with potential Japanese partners and what will any consortium look like? We are talking with a lot of potential partners, all of whom are Japanese. We believe that most of the economic benefits of the IR Implementation law should remain in Japan, our consortium will reflect this. What is the biggest draw of the Japan market? The incredible culture, the population, the food, such a fascinating place, and the size of the market. What has surprised you/concerned you the most about the process so far? The length of the concession is a concern. The

Asia Gaming Briefings | Februay 2019

entry fee is at a rate that might incite people to play a little more than they would have done otherwise, a monthly or yearly entrance fee would be welcomed. Taxes are at a good level. The efficiency of governmental administrations is reassuring. No surprises to be honest. How are you working to win the hearts and minds of the Japanese? By talking, and getting to understand the culture. By visiting as many places and people as possible. By reassuring over gambling addiction worries, people are afraid of the unknown, we try to explain the situation to them, so it is better understood, and thus less feared. What do you expect from the coming year? Secondary legislation that will give us the legal certainty to move forward, form our consortium, and reply to any interesting tender processes. If you are not successful, would you be interested in expansion elsewhere in Asia? Yes, very much so, we believe that the next century, at least, is Asian. We intend to be present in this market soon, irrespective of what happens in Japan, though obviously, we want to be in Japan.


Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2019




here is your preferred location and why? We have spent the past few years travelling all over Japan, meeting with and building relationships with many people in the community and government as well as visiting and assessing potential sites for IR. We have learned that many candidate cities offer great potential for IR development and each has unique characteristics that will attract both domestic and international guests. We have actively participated in seven Request for Information (RFI) exercises to assist local governments to better understand what a sustainably operated IR can achieve in their communities. It is clear that the major urban locations within Kansai (Osaka) and Kanto (Yokohama or Tokyo) offer the greatest potential to make the biggest economic impacts. However, regional cities also offer great potential to highlight different aspects of Japan culture, open new tourism channels as well as contribute significant benefits to local economies. What do you think is unique about your proposal? GEG and SBM, along with and our Japanese partners, look forward to bringing our unique brand of World Class Japan Inspired IRs to the country. Together, we represent the Best of Asia

and the Best of Europe and when combined with the Best of Japan we hope to create a compelling and unique IR experience that the citizens of Japan will be very proud of and tourists from all over the world will want to visit. Are you holding talks with potential Japanese partners and what will any consortium look like? GEG has built a very successful IR business through the strength of many long-standing partnerships and we will pursue the same strategy here in Japan. We are happy to partner with any local company that shares our values for quality and excellence, with a commitment to the communities we serve, to ensure a sustainable and profitable businesses with the mission to be the best. In fact, we already have a strong track record of partnership with Japanese companies, including a highly successful 10-year relationship with Okura Hotels and Resorts. What is the biggest draw of the Japan market? Japan is the last major developed GDP nation in the world to legalize IR style gaming. We also recognize that the very same tourists we welcome into our properties in the tens of millions each year from across East Asia and specifically Hong Kong, Taiwan, Mainland China and South Korea are the same tourists that contribute approximately 75 percent of

all in-bound tourists to Japan. As such with our intimate knowledge of these markets and audiences – combined with the appeal of Japan as a unique and sophisticated travel destination, we feel we can make a significant and successful impact in Japan and create an IR that all citizens of Japan are very proud of. What has surprised you/concerned you the most about the process so far? IR implementation in any market is always a lengthy and complicated process – with many issues and questions needing to be addressed with stakeholders throughout society to ensure the smooth passage of legislation, regulation, license bidding, development and operation. This is normal in any new market which is introducing IR’s for the very first time and GEG were fully prepared for this process to take time when we set up our Japan office in late 2014. How are you working to win the hearts and minds of the Japanese? We envisage the development and operation of world-class IR’s that will have a positive, transformative impact on the Japanese economy as well as the communities and city in which the IR is located. Working with local Japanese partners, we will create a World Class Japan Inspired entertainment destination – appealing to both Japanese and International guests, promising an authentic experience that will be unlike anything ever seen in any other market worldwide. To achieve this, we will combine the Best of Europe, the Best of Asia and the Best of Japan, in one spectacular Integrated Resort experience, creating a truly unique destination that will leverage the brands, events, gastronomic and hospitality experiences, management teams, global marketing and financial strengths of all parties involved. What do you expect from the coming year? We look forward to continuing on the road of exploration across Japan – sharing our story for sustainable and responsible IR development with the communities and stakeholders we meet and learning more about the aspirations and expectations of the citizens of Japan, so we can fully address these in our future bidding proposals and IR concepts.

Asia Gaming Briefings | Februay 2019


Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2019


Las Vegas Sands George Tanasijevich, Managing Director for Global Development for Las Vegas Sands, CEO and President of Marina Bay Sands.


here is your preferre d location and why? Our anticipated investment amount and scale of the Integrated Resort that we will propose calls for the IR to be situated in a large, global city like Tokyo, Yokohama and Osaka. These locations are easily accessible to international tourists and have positive reputations among both business and leisure tourists. In addition, each of these cities would benefit substantially from the Entertainment and MICE-focused Integrated Resort that we hope to develop in Japan. They also serve as gateways to regional areas that will benefit from the spillover effects of the Integrated Resort. What do you think is unique about your proposal? Las Vegas Sands offers the strongest development track record among all IR operators in Asia, and also has the strongest balance sheet in the industry. Are you holding talks with potential Japanese partners and what will any consortium look like? We have been meeting potential Japanese partners for years and continue to do so.

Asia Gaming Briefings | Februay 2019

What is the biggest draw of the Japan market? We see substantial upside in the development of Japan’s tourism industry: Japan already has a positive reputation as an international tourism destination; its government recognizes the role and ability of tourism to drive economic growth, and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is personally providing support and leadership on the introduction of IRs. An LVS Entertainment and MICE-focused Integrated Resort will help Japan overcome existing tourism infrastructure constraints and boost Japan’s tourism growth in substantial and sustainable ways. What has surprised you/concerned you the most about the process so far? Because we have carefully studied Japan for over a decade, not much has surprised us. As we expected, the Japanese government and business communities are very studious, meticulous and methodical in the way that they approach the IR opportunity. We are concerned that some in Japan still have misperceptions about IRs, casinos and problem gambling. Accordingly, we continue to help educate the public and address any concerns. How are you working to win the hearts and minds of the Japanese? The best way for the Japanese people to

truly understand what an LVS IR can do for their country is for them to experience one of our properties. Many Japanese are familiar with and have a positive impression of Marina Bay Sands and our other properties. In fact, Japanese guests occupy a greater share of our rooms at Marina Bay Sands than foreign guests from any other country. But as we cannot possibly have all Japanese people experience an LVS property, we have been visiting Japan for more than a decade, concentrating our efforts in explaining the concept of Integrated Resorts to Japanese governments, business communities and the general public. What do you expect from the coming year? We expect to learn more details about the IR opportunity and process with the release of policy guidelines and the establishment of the casino regulator. We also expect to learn whether the three licenses will be issued in one or two tracks, and which cities are prepared to pursue a licence. If you are not successful, would you be interested in expansion elsewhere in Asia? We are always keen on expansion opportunities where we can help countries meet their tourism, economic and labor market goals, and generate sufficient returns for our shareholders.


Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2019


Wynn Resorts


here is your preferred location and why? Wynn Resorts has looked at over twenty sites in Japan and is deeply impressed by the development opportunities. At this time we are focused on the major metropolitan areas such as Osaka, Yokohama, and Tokyo, as these seem the best fit for our approach to large integrated resorts. What do you think is unique about your proposal? Wynn Resorts is focused on high quality offerings, including a unique approach to entertainment, MICE, and hospitality - all driven by a constant focus on customer service. We see our type of resort as an excellent fit for Japan where high quality and customer service are valued. Are you holding talks with potential Japanese partners and what will any consortium look like? While we can’t provide details at this time, we are very pleased with the status of our discussions with Japanese companies. What is the biggest draw of the Japan market? The demand in Japan for a high quality resort providing a wide range of entertainment, hospitality, meeting and exhibition space, and dining options makes Japan an ideal location for a Wynn integrated resort. We feel our company approach to providing a unique resort experience and our strong interest in being part of the local tourism economy are a good fit for Japan. What has surprised you/concerned you the most about the process so far? We have been very pleased with the careful approach taken by the government in regard to establishing an integrated resort industry. This thoughtful preparation will provide a solid foundation for proper selection and operation of the three resorts. How are you working to win the hearts and minds of the Japanese? We are very excited to be learning about the unique Japanese culture and to think about how to blend it with our unique approach to resort development. Every day we have the opportunity to both learn more about

Asia Gaming Briefings | Februay 2019

the expectations of Japan and to discuss our other resorts elsewhere in the world and how those concepts might be customized for Japan. What do you expect from the coming year? We will be opening our office in Japan,

continuing to increase the breadth of our team, advancing our design, and building strong partnerships. We expect to engage with the government by providing input on the regulation drafting and with the cities on their planning efforts.


Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2019


Foxwoods Resort & Casino


here is your preferred location and why? At Foxwoods, we are interested in developing an Integrated Resort in an area of smaller population such as Tomakomai in Hokkaido Prefecture which is similar to the location we have in Connecticut. We have great experience in developing, operating, and attracting guests to an integrated resort in a rural location.

Are you holding talks with potential Japanese partners and what will any consortium look like? We think it is very import to have a Japanese development and investment partner that is familiar with local codes and customs. During our trips to Japan, we have been actively speaking with potential Japanese partners who feel that Foxwoods Resort Casino is the type of brand they would be interested in working with.

What do you think is unique about your proposal? Our Foxwoods Resort Casino was recently voted the Best Casino Outside of Las Vegas by the readers of USA Today. We will create a unique and memorable destination resort. For our conceptual design for Hokkaido, we presented an Integrated Resort that truly respects the environment and its beautiful surroundings. First, at the entrance to the $2 billion resort is an authentic Japanese garden opposite a large equestrian center. Second, as you continue driving into the resort, you will experience unique retail stores, an indoor/outdoor water park, an events arena with amphitheater, and movie theaters. Next, in the center of the resort, is a 1,200 room hotel with indoor/outdoor pool and spa, a world class casino, state of the art convention space, and a winter pavilion with ice skating. Finally, we also propose a research center for Alzheimer’s/Dementia to assist the prefecture with providing treatment solutions for its senior population. Also unique about our proposal, we are one of the few submissions from a Native American tribe.

How are you working to win the hearts and minds of the Japanese? Foxwoods has been doing a number of things to get both government and people in Japan familiar with us. We have been making a number of trips to Japan to meet with local developers and landowners to share the story of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation and Foxwoods Resort Casino. In addition, we have been attending the Japan Gaming Congress every year and having our CEO actively participate in panel discussions to discuss our IR concept. We have done a number of presentations about our IR concept to government agencies and the Chamber of Commerce in Tomakomai and Hokkaido this past year. What do you expect from the coming year? We expect the Japanese Government to provide more details and guidance regarding the regulatory framework for implementing the IR Act. We also plan to remain active and engaged in seeking Japanese partners interested in working with us.

Hard Rock International


ard Rock International showcased its plans for an IR at January’s Hokkaido IR showcase. Chairman Jim Allen presented a building model of their proposed property, making sure

Asia Gaming Briefings | Februay 2019

to namedrop Japanese electronics heavyweight NEC for their facial recognition technology and luxury hospitality brand Four Seasons for their high-end hotels. According to Allen’s presentation, the property will offer over 1500 rooms and 200,000 square feet of retail, a cultural exhibit for the Ainu people, a Broadway Show experience hall, a Hard Rock Live concert arena seating 10,000 in attendance, a music Hall of Fame honoring international and Japanese artists, a Yankees Baseball area, cherry-blossom parks, winter wonderland entertainment areas, an international wellness center, and a direct train route to the resort. The Seminole-owned resort, casino and restaurant operator has been aggressive in their pursuit of an IR license in Hokkaido. Last November, they became a top partner of the J1 Football League team Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo. This was soon followed by an official sponsorship for an ice sculpture exhibit at the popular Sapporo Snow Festival slated for early February.


Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2019


MGM Resorts International


here is your preferred location and why? Japan is seeking to develop the world’s best IRs that will include very large MICE space, spectacular new entertainment and the opportunity to showcase the best of Japan. MGM has years of experience in the development of large-scale integrated resorts in multiple jurisdictions across the world and are exploring opportunities in the large cities, where we could create something compelling. At the moment, the stars have aligned in Osaka/Kansai. The local government is keen to develop an integrated resort on Yumeshima located in the Osaka bay area. Local businesses and groups, namely Kansai Keizai Doyukai and Osaka Chamber of Commerce & Industry, are also extremely positive and quite active in exploring the idea of integrated resorts in Osaka. This level of buy-in from both the public and private sectors are conducive to creating an IR that the people of Kansai can be proud of. Given the current environment in Osaka, we recently announced our Osaka First policy. This policy is focused on dedicating significant resources and activities to the development of an IR in Osaka over other candidate sites. There are other large cities that are also attractive. Yokohama recently issued a request for information (“RFI”) to measure interest in the development of an IR there. As it has been reported, MGM has responded to their RFI. What do you think is unique about your proposal? Japan is one of the most unique markets

Asia Gaming Briefings | Februay 2019

in the world. Business success here requires long-term investment of time and resources. MGM’s Japan development team has actively been on the ground for years creating relationships, learning Japanese business and culture, and preparing to create a compelling proposal for the candidate cities. We believe the significant amount of time and resources invested, and the greater amount we intend to invest from now, will result in a uniquely Japanese integrated resort that the people of Japan will appreciate. Are you holding talks with potential Japanese partners and what will any consortium look like? MGM is a company that listens. We believe an IR in Japan will not succeed without significant input from Japanese partners, not limited to those who participate in the resort but also the surrounding businesses of an IR that we operate in. MGM will continue to work closely with its partners as the process and our plans evolve. We look for companies that share our values, high integrity, financial wherewithal, and passion in creating a uniquely Japanese resort with us. What is the biggest draw of the Japan market? MGM believes Japan has the potential of hosting an IR that would be a global hub of entertainment and MICE, on top of being an engine of growth for the Japanese economy because Japan has a wealth of unique historical and cultural tourism assets, one

of the world’s most adored cuisines, one of the best infrastructures in the world, and last but not the least, Japan is one of the safest countries in the world. What has surprised you/concerned you the most about the process so far? We have been very impressed by the level of detail that the central and local Japanese governments are paying attention to when doing their studies of the IR business overseas. There is no doubt that the industry will be well regulated, given the amount of work all stakeholders are putting into this endeavor. How are you working to win the hearts and minds of the Japanese? By upholding our strong belief in partnerships, especially with the local communities. We have been involved in community-hosted festivals and events, building relationships and nurturing trust. We plan to offer as many opportunities as possible to the people, communities, and SMEs in Osaka where they get to listen to our case, learn about MGM, as well as voicing their views on an IR in Osaka. What do you expect from the coming year? This year we plan to be more active in Osaka and engage with local communities to inform people about integrated resorts and MGM. Specifically, we intend to engage with the citizens of Osaka through Town Hall type events that give the general public the opportunity to engage with us and address questions they may have about the business.


Melco Resorts & Entertainment


awrence Ho, chairman and CEO of Melco Resorts & Entertainment, held a press conference in Tokyo in December 2017 in which he unveiled his “City of the Future” concept. Ho emphasized his life-long interest in Japan and Japanese culture: “There are so many elements that I love about Japanese architecture, Japanese landscaping, the culture, tea ceremony… If we were able to build an IR here, it would truly be a dream come true,” he stated. According to Ho, the main characteristic which sets Melco apart from other IR operators is its genuine commitment to elite quality as opposed to scale: “You want the right, affluent tourism—people who can actually contribute. More affluent tourists are more sophisticated. They can appreciate and understand the culture a lot more than just the masses.” Melco has focused its efforts on the two major urban markets of the Kanto and the Kansai, and in fact has established offices in both Tokyo and Osaka. Ho made a series of statements suggesting that he was prepared to spend “whatever it takes” to win his Japan bid, and that he would move his company headquarters to Japan if successful in gaining an IR license. In 2018, it was also revealed that an eSports stadium would “very likely” be a “key component” of any major market IR that Melco Resorts & Entertainment would build in Japan.

Melco also spent a considerable amount of effort promoting its “MelGuard” system, which promises to provide secure entry to Melco casinos utilizing biometric technology. It was intended to demonstrate the seriousness with which Melco approaches the issue of problem gambling.

Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment


ohegan Gaming & Entertainment, the Connecticutbased gaming operator owned by the Mohegan tribe, is counting on its experience within locations similar to Hokkaido, their strong commitments to local communities and their database advantage of opening an IR in Incheon, Korea in 2022 as the main factors that differentiate them from their competitors. SVP Corporate Finance Christopher Jones further described what makes Mohegan unique. “We are in the Northeast, so we understand what it’s like to operate in a 4-season environment” explained Jones. The climate around their Connecticut property, Mohegun Sun, is much like Hokkaido where heavy snow falls in the winter. Location-wise the property is 3 hours from New York City and 2 hours from Boston, which is very similar to the situation that would present itself in a IR in Tomakomai city. “We’re used to working in an isolated environment,” says Jones. “At the very least you’re going to have to draw that customer from Sapporo which is 45 minutes away. You really need to draw that customer

from Tokyo, Osaka and other parts from Japan, and even more so you need to draw that customer from international markets like Korea and China.” Jones believes that Mohegan’s IR project in Incheon, Korea named Inspire, set to open in the early part of 2022, will give them an advantage by the time the first IR opens in Japan. “We are going to be able to build a database of Korean and Chinese customers. This massive database will allow for timely marketing to international customers within short traveling distance from here (in Japan). “ Jones also emphasizes community commitments such as local hiring, contributions to local education and charity, and alliances with local businesses. He also stressed the importance of life support systems an IR will bring to an isolated location. “The police and fire safety forces within the property can cover up to a 50-80 miles away. We are able help save 15-20 people’s lives per year, because we have one of the most advanced life-support systems in all of the state of Connecticut” he added.

Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2019


Rush Street Gaming


here is your preferred location and why? We have chosen Japan for our first gaming-related expansion into Asia due to the strong alignment between our expertise in the regional IR model and Japan’s goal of building a worldclass regional IR. We are only interested in a regional IR and are not considering Osaka, Tokyo or Yokahama. We are currently focused on Tomakomai as our preferred location in this project. We believe that Tomakomai is ripe for economic revival and driven to become a technologically-advanced city, and already currently serves as the gateway to Hokkaido with easy access to the airport and existing tourism destinations within the prefecture. Our experience in opening new markets and culture of compliance will play a defining role in bringing a regional IR to Japan and in shaping the future of Tomakomai. What do you think is unique about your proposal? We are a real estate developer with experience in developing high-quality projects, built from the ground up on time and on budget. Our unique approach ensures that each and every development is created following an ongoing dialogue with the local community so that the facility serves as a strong economic engine and proud community partner. Our experience in gaming is almost exclusively opening in markets where gaming did not previously exist. This experience is unique and will be valuable in Japan.

Asia Gaming Briefings | Februay 2019

Are you holding talks with potential Japanese partners and what will any consortium look like? We have conducted thorough research in the Japan market, and we have been and still remain actively engaged with local stakeholders, including potential partners in Japan. We believe this will result in the formation of a healthy consortium aligning our interest, Japanese interests and those interests of the local community. What is the biggest draw of the Japan market? Japan is a market of high potential, with a great culture of respect and compliance. As a real estate developer, we specialize in creating customized IRs that integrate seamlessly and function as a part of the local community in which we operate while drawing substantial visitation. The opportunity to build a worldclass IR in Japan, and thereby gaining access to the entire Asian market while maintaining a strict culture of compliance is our biggest draw. What has surprised you/concerned you the most about the process so far? One concern is that the regulations for the regional IR will be identical to the major city IRs. We think that a regional IR would be more successful with slightly modified regulations better reflecting the market opportunity. We are surprised at the amount of promotion and effort different operators (including ourselves) have put into Japan given that clear guidelines and timelines associated with the IR bidding process have not yet been published.

How are you working to win the hearts and minds of the Japanese? We are unconstrained by a “one-size-fitsall” approach and are committed to creating an IR that serves the needs of all stakeholders. As the proud creator of the world’s first ever gaming facility to be recognised for its green design, we are dedicated to building an environmentally-sensitive IR that draws on the beauty of Hokkaido. In line with our commitment to engage with the local community at every stage throughout the process, we have recently opened our first Japan office in Hokkaido, and also launched an online platform “My Tomakomai” which aims to capture the voices of the local community on how they envision their IR to be. What do you expect from the coming year? We are expecting and hoping that the Hokkaido government fully supports an IR in the coming months. We anticipate the adoption of final regulations and implementation programs by appropriate agencies in Japan, both national and local that will allow us to move our project to fruition. A number of significant decisions for us await these finalizations. We also expect for clarity around the procurement process and regulations to come from the national government in 2019. We also expect to advance our own consortium plan and for ongoing discussion between regulators and experts to shape the future of the emerging IR industry in Japan.




here is your preferred location and why? We have been meeting with stakeholders throughout Japan, in both large cities and smaller regional areas, who share our vision for a Japanese IR partnership that truly reflects the best of Japan. We view Yokohama, Tomakomai, Osaka and Tokyo as very attractive development locations. What do you think is unique about your proposal? Caesars is the only operator with a track record of realizing successful resorts in both major urban and regional markets. We are committed to developing a one-of-a-kind Japanese Entertainment Resort destination that will boost tourism, enhance Japanese communities, generate high-quality jobs and bring other long-term benefits to the economy. Our resort would showcase Japanese culture and history, appealing to domestic and international tourists by providing the best entertainment and experiences In Osaka, we informally shared our vision for an IR anchored on the three pillars of Wellness, MICE and Entertainment. Based on what we have heard, we believe we are the only major operator to propose an IR centered on Total Wellness (ikigai), which is in line with Kansai region’s long history of leadership in the medical and healthcare industry and also reinforces the themes proposed by Osaka for the 2025 World Expo. In Tomakomai, we responded to the formal Request for Information by the city government and the Request for Concept by the Hokkaido government. As with any new market, we spent significant time researching the market to create an initial proposal that we hope is sensitive to the local context and responsive to the specific objectives and concerns of the local government. Are you holding talks with potential Japanese partners and what will any consortium look like? We have been meeting with the public and private sector, academia and other interest groups throughout Japan to best understand who aligns with our vision and values. Our first priority is to join up with Japanese companies who share our values and vision for a longterm partnership. It’s too early to talk about preferred partners, but as a general comment

we have been impressed by the knowledge and perspective of our counterparts in Japan and are appreciative of their hospitality. What is the biggest draw of the Japan market? Considering Japan’s affluence as the thirdlargest economy in the world, the population density in Japan markets, and Japan’s success in growing tourism at an astounding rate, it’s fair to say that Japan could rank among the largest markets in the world. We believe that a Japanese Entertainment Resort would have great synergy with Japan’s existing tourism resources, including its amazing tourist destinations, food and cultural experiences. What has surprised you/concerned you the most about the process so far? It’s clear to us that Japan is committed to getting this right for the long term, which completely aligns with our approach. Through our 80 years of experience in the development and operation of IRs across multiple jurisdictions, we have always adapted to local laws, customs and processes. We respect the way things are done here in Japan and will continue to work closely with local partners and communities. How are you working to win the hearts and minds of the Japanese? Caesars’ priority is to promote our company’s strengths as a trusted, transparent, and transformative partner for Japan. We aim to be a valuable member of the community and to build mutual trust and respect, starting with

a deep understanding of Japan. As the industry pioneer in responsible gaming, we are continuing initiatives aimed at building awareness and understanding in the community and showcasing our ongoing advancements in Responsible Gaming technology, including those specific to the Japanese market. Our ‘100-Year Partner for Japan’ campaign, which we announced last September, represents the alignment of all elements of our pursuit of Japan cooperation, both over the past 15 years and far into the future, and symbolizes our aspiration to develop long-term partnerships with Japan and nurture the IR sector together with the local community. What do you expect from the coming year? Municipalities will begin the process of selecting operator partners with which to pursue an operator licence. Our focus will be on continuing to demonstrate that Caesars Entertainment is the best partner for Japan, and we look forward to lending our support to local government and community leaders as they move forward in this process. If you are not successful, would you be interested in expansion elsewhere in Asia? Caesars’ international growth strategy places a high priority on Asia, where we have international development offices in Hong Kong, Korea, and Japan. The company’s future looks bright in the region, particularly in North Asia; our first Asia flagship in Greater Seoul is currently under construction and due to open in 2021.

Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2019


Bloomberry Resorts


here is your preferred location and why? We prefer a resort type IR, which fits to the concept of Solaire.

What do you think is unique about your proposal? Solaire is specialized for the resort-type IR, with the highest standard of quality as well as hospitality. Are you holding talks with potential Japanese partners and what will any consortium look like? Yes, we are in discussion with potential partners as part of a long process. What is the biggest draw of the Japan market? Authentic tourism attractions, a substantial number of mass players and high technologies What has surprised you/concerned you the most about the process so far? The slow decision making of IR Bill. The balance between operation and regulation. How are you working to win the hearts and minds of the Japanese? Enhancing the tourism industry. Contribution to the local economy. Disaster proof designing and construction. What do you expect from the coming year? RFC. If you are not successful, would you be interested in expansion elsewhere in Asia? Under study.

Asia Gaming Briefings | Februay 2019

Genting Singapore


s the frontier in integrated resort development, Genting Singapore owns one of the world’s most successful integrated resort destinations, Resorts World Sentosa, in Singapore. Japan is one of the most attractive countries around the world with promising inbound tourism growth. We have always been interested in large city locations to expand our business footprint. The specific cities have shown interest in having an Integrated Resort and we have responded to their requests for information, views and comments. Concurrently, we have also engaged in discussions with stakeholders and potential Japanese partners to understand the environment and the localities where such cities are involved. We continue to work steadily towards the expected bidding process in the second half of 2019 following the establishment of the basic policy for developing integrated resorts.�

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ETGs key for Japanese casinos, pachinko problematic While competition is hotting up amongst the operators bidding for a coveted Japan license, suppliers are also eyeing the market for opportunities and trying to answer the key question as to what the Japanese casino floor might look like.


apan is a very mature market when it comes to gambling options, with six types of government-run racing operations and national lotteries. Then there is the pachinko and pachislot market, which has seen better days, but still managed to gross $180 billion in 2017. There are several factors that need to be considered when discussing games for Japan. One of the main goals of the Japanese government is to stimulate tourism numbers, meaning the casino offering should also cater to the “foreign player� as well as the local player. It is also a certainty that the floor space of the casino will be limited to three percent of the total resort area. Then there is the local player aspect, in that the average Japanese adult is not well-versed in playing table games and many are not confident in the rules. Considering that this will be the first casino in Japan,

Asia Gaming Briefings | Februay 2019

we will for sure see some of the classic gaming options such as video slots and classic table games like blackjack and roulette, as well as games like baccarat and sic bo catering to Chinese players who will be a significant customer segment. The discussion gets more interesting when we look into the details. Gaming machines include electronic table games (ETGs), which have advantages over table games that could become key in Japan. Standard ETGs do not require actual dealers. This could be part of the solution for initial workforce issues considering the lack of fully trained dealers and the 24-hour operation they must handle. Dealer-operated ETGs, where one table can cater to over 100 player machine terminals, is another attractive option. The other factor is the ETG’s role in bridging machine and table play.


Players not familiar with table games have a chance to privately learn how to play with lower stakes than the actual tables. There is also less human interaction with ETGs, something to consider as a potential advantage when targeting local Japanese players, given the Japanese cultural trait of saving face in front of others. The customer segment that ETGs do not reach leads us to the next interesting detail of the Japanese casino - premium-mass and VIP players. This customer segment is one that any Japanese casino cannot ignore, especially for an integrated resort-scale project. Unfortunately, the topic of VIP rooms is still completely up in the air. Closed rooms are synonymous with junkets and while they do not always go hand-in-hand, there is a realistic chance that Japanese casinos will implement an open-air VIP area. Some high roller potential could be lost depending on the privacy levels of the VIP facilities. However the limited gaming floor space will for sure require some form of VIP player facility, closed-walled or not. Perhaps the most interesting discussions are technological advancements and new gaming trends. The first casino in Japan will not be in operation for at least another five years and if we look back five years ago there

have already been a few big market shifts. How big will e-sports and sports betting become by then? Where will games of skill go from here? Will new table technology allow for smoother operation of table games? One product at G2E Las Vegas this year that caught operator attention was Aruze Gaming’s Roll to Win Craps, an ETG and table game hybrid

Who is to say that Japan cannot be a pioneer for a more interactive and entertaining gaming floor?

where players still roll the dice as in the table game, all the while placing bets and being able to check game rules and result patterns on an electronic video terminal. The operator requires only one dealer to service the table and the video aspect allows for flexibility to make flashier game

experiences and use formerly unused wall space for advertisements or perhaps stream an ongoing sports event. Innovations of this kind could just be the beginning of a next generation of gaming technology that will make its way to Japanese casinos. In terms of gaming trends, who is to say that Japan cannot be a pioneer for a more interactive and entertaining gaming floor? The country boasts one of the best arcade and amusement game industries in the world. Common Japanese amusement games like coin pushers, virtual horse racing, and card collection battle games feature interactive player ID and digital assets to keep players interested. Although differentiation between what is a “game” and what is a “gaming machine” could be a regulatory hurdle, Japan certainly has the potential to bring quality entertainment games that are not seen in the everyday casino. However, bringing Japanese gaming to the floor, such as pachinko, seems less likely due to social stigmas. Pachislot on the other hand, is much closer to its physical-reel slot cousin seen today on casino floors, and the player skill element has been decreasing over the years in the local market. We could very well see a derivative of pachislots in the form of casino gaming machines by the time the first casino door opens.

Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2019





Crown Sydney takes shape as trade war clouds Australia prospects

Crown Resort’s $2.2 billion ($1.56 billion) ultra-VIP property is on track to open in the first half of 2021, though the recent slowdown in the China economy has again highlighted the dependence of Australia’s integrated resorts on Asian VIPs. Asia Gaming Briefings | Februay 2019




hares in both Crown and its key rival Star Entertainment were battered over the final half of last year as the impact of the U.S./China trade war began to take its toll on China’s economy. Crown’s stock fell more than 21 percent from its August 52-week high of A$14.59 to a low in November of $11.43, while Star’s share price fell 33.5 percent over the same period. The concern is that as China’s economy slows, so will the spending power of its VIP gamers. Although Australians are the biggest gamblers per capita in the world, the spending is still centered on bars and clubs and figures for main floor casino gaming remain lacklustre. Crown’s 2018 results showed revenue clearly driven by VIPs. Main floor gaming revenue gained just 1.5 percent while VIP program play turnover surged 54.4 percent. The figures are for the fiscal year ending in June, before the latest China slowdown. In a November update, the company said main floor gaming revenue for July to Oct. was down 0.6 percent, while growth in VIP program play had slowed to 13 percent. The six-star resort, which is taking shape on the harbour front at Barangaroo, is counting on continued growth in the Asian VIP sector and that Sydney will be the main entry point for those growing tourism numbers. China arrivals to Australia during the last fiscal year ending June rose 13 percent to 1,421,500, with visitors spending $11.3 billion. That outstripped New Zealand as the biggest source market with 1,371,300

GROSS GAMING REVENUE 2016/2017 Gambling expenditure AS$23.69b


Casino table games $4.79b


Sports betting $1.06b


Racing $3.3b


(Source: Queensland government)

in terms of arrivals and dwarfs spending by Kiwis, which added up to just $2.6 billion. However arrivals from China up to end October, the most recent monthly data, showed a gain of 6.4 percent, with that figure declining further to just 0.9 percent for the month of October alone, suggesting a marked slowdown. The Crown Sydney will be the city’s first six-star resort and is expected to be tables only. As of a November update, the tower elevator core structure had been constructed to Level 17. The company says it’s on time and on budget. It will be competing for clientele with Star Entertainment’s existing resort in the city. Although analysts expect the new property to have clear appeal to the high-end market, Star has built strong Asia credentials through its partnership with Hong Kong’s Chow Tai Fook Group and the Far East Consortium, which is

likely to help it connect with Chinese VIP players. With growth in Australia’s domestic casino gaming market expected to remain flat, both companies will be counting on expanding the international market to avoid cannibalization. In the 2016/2017 fiscal year, total gambling expenditure was down 0.5 percent, with casino games down 7.8 percent, according to the bi-annual figures collated by the Queensland government. The statistics reflect the period after Crown employees were detained in China, which heralded the prior slump in VIP traffic. The real growth sector in Australia appears to be sports betting, which saw a jump of 15.3 percent during the period. Crown in December won a court case over the views from its Barangaroo project, which were expected to be a key selling point, looking out over the harbour and the opera house.

Donaco explores strategic options Australia-listed Donaco International said it’s conducting a strategic review of its businesses, including a potential restructuring of an almost $40 million debt to Mega Bank. The company said the review was triggered in part by a plunge in its share price, which it says is in no way reflective of the value of its assets. The company operates the Star Vegas casino in Cambodia and the Aristo International property in northern Vietnam. Donaco said it was looking at ways to restructure, or eliminate the Mega Bank debt to help free up cash flow for management initiatives. The debt is secured on Star Vegas and not on Aristo. The company says it’s in discussions with several parties, who have suggested options to unlock value. The strategic review is expected to take about three months, it said.

Blue Whale eyes Casino Canberra Casino Canberra is on the verge of being bought up by one of Australia’s biggest hotel owners in a potential A$32 million (US$22.6 million) transaction set for completion in 19Q2. In a filing to the Australian Stock Exchange, Aquis Entertainment, the current owners of Casino Canberra, announced it has entered into a binding Implementation Deed with Blue Whale Entertainment, a company owned and controlled by Michael Gu. Mr. Gu is also the chief executive of iProsperity, a private equity firm representing Asian high net worth investors, which has built a reputation for high-profile hotel acquisitions. The transaction will see Blue Whale’s acquisition of the outstanding convertible loan and 137 million company shares held by Aquis Entertainment Canberra Holdings.

Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2019



NZ race reform loses pace The Minister of Racing is now taking a more cautious approach to reform of the racing industry after intense lobbying from racing clubs, warnings that the reforms are unworkable and signs from his majority coalition partner that it will not support some of the proposed changes.


he Minister, Rt Hon Winston Peters, who is also Deputy Prime Minister in New Zealand’s coalition government, commissioned a report on the racing industry from prominent Australian racing identity John Messara. He recommended sweeping changes including stripping the New Zealand Racing Board of most of its powers, leasing out the TAB (which has a monopoly on off track betting) to an Australian operator, closing 28 of the country’s 48 race courses, and devolving power to run thoroughbred, harness racing and greyhounds to the respective codes. Messara found that “on any test, the thoroughbred racing industry in New Zealand today is in a state of serious malaise.” He recommended creating a prize pool of at least NZ$100 million ($67 million) to increase stakes and provide greater returns to breeders funded by tax reductions on the

Asia Gaming Briefings | Februay 2019

industry and selling up racing clubs’ land. The most controversial change was use legislation to take the tracks from clubs, sell the land and invest the money in all weather tracks, better on track facilities and increased stakes.

We are going to go for broke as much as it possibly can be done.

When the Messara report was released in August 2018, Peters endorsed it as “ the way forward”, but in a speech to the Thoroughbred Racing Conference late last year, he was more cautious.

Instead of an “Implementation Unit” which was to be set up to drive the changes recommended, he ha s now appointed a Ministerial Advisory Council which “will be charged with setting a sense of direction for the intended racing reforms. It will also report on opportunities and roadblocks to returning the racing industry to a well-managed and sustainable economic growth path.” In his speech, Peters said the government will “stay faithful to the Messara Report. “We are going to go for broke as much as it possibly can be done. He (Messara) will admit… that there are one or two things that we can’t do or we have to tweak or change.” The importance of the phrase “as much as it possibly can be done,” is stressed by critics, and is seen as a softening of stance. One critic told AGB that Peters still wants to be the saviour of New Zealand racing, but is finding that he cannot easily do so through


the pathway set by the Messara report. The majority partner in the government coalition, the Labour Party, has made it clear that it is not at all keen to see off track betting outsourced to any Australian company. Doing so would be at odds with the usual Labour Party stance that revenue generated in New Zealand by New Zealanders should stay in New Zealand. Peters’ speech is silent on the question of nationalising race tracks by legislation, but he has been advised that it is impractical and unworkable by at least one racing industry leader. Although many racing clubs own the land they use for racing, many others do not. Local councils, special purpose trusts and Maori tribal groupings often are the owners which makes the use of legislation to take the land very contentious at a local level, and is therefore regarded as a dangerous course politically. The Ministerial Advisory Committee is seen as a way of making progress on aspects of the Messara Reforms that can be achieved and make sense. “The Committee will develop a plan to operationalise the Messara Report to deliver better governance and economic outcomes,” said Peters. The Committee is being created as a potential precursor to the establishment of a Racing Industry Transitional Agency (RITA), subject to future government decisions.” Releasing the NZ Racing Board’s annual report board chair Glenda Hughes said the board welcomed the Minister’s initiative in setting up Messara Report and “we support the majority of recommendations, including refocusing the NZRB as Wagering New Zealand. Peters’ own political party, New Zealand First, draws significant support in certain provincial areas which feel ignored in favour of big cities and taking away treasured local assets would not align well with the party’s values and would likely generate dissent among the party’s MPs. “The industry is in urgent need of investment and the resulting revenue from repeal of the betting levy, new synthetic tracks and a refocused venue footprint, in addition to the benefit of NZRB’s strategic initiatives will be a game changer for racing,” she said. However, determining the scope and scale of change is now being vested in an advisory committee of racing industry experts which will temper the bold ambitions of the Messara Report with a dose of practicality, and take into account the political reality of being in a coalition government and needing the votes of provincial areas to stay in Parliament.

Gambling operators’ key financial statistics Gambling Machines (outside casinos) 10,265 10,000 9,313





Prizes 9,355


(in million $)






9,581 8,721





2009/2010 2010/2011

2011/2012 2012/2013 2013/2014 2014/2015 2015/2016 2016/2017

Expenditure 1,000

Casinos 951



500 493




2009/2010 2010/2011

Gambing Machines (outside casinos)











2011/2012 2012/2013 2013/2014 2014/2015 2015/2016 2016/2017 (Source: NZ Gov.)

SKYCITY bolsters Asia expertise SKYCITY Ltd has beefed up its management team with two new appointments for Asian sales and in property management. John Chong, most recently the president international marketing for the Star Entertainment Group in Hong Kong, joins SKYCITY in January 2019 in the newly created role of president Asian sales and commercial strategy. He has previously worked in Asia for Melco Crown, Caesars, Sands China and NagaCorp. Peter Alexander is taking up the new position of chief property officer from March 2019 and will be reporting directly to the CEO. He has been the CEO of New Zealand-listed property company Stride Property Group, and joins SKYCITY from investment management firm HRL Morrison & Co where he was involved in private equity investment in real estate.

Welfare group calls for greyhound racing ban An animal welfare group has called for a ban on greyhound racing after a report revealed 353 dogs were destroyed last season, according to local media reports. Greyhound Racing New Zealand said in its 2018 annual report that the 353 dogs were euthanized after failing to be rehomed. Chief executive Mauro Barsi was cited as saying the group was working hard to reduce this figure and was pleased to say that rehoming had increased by 25 percent to 517 dogs last season. Animal welfare group SAFE called the figures a damning indictment of the industry, which it says amounts to killing a dog a day for gambling profits.

Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2019





Sikkim’s new airport to drive casino traffic After waiting for almost a decade, Sikkim, nestled in the mountainous far north of India, finally got an airport last October, which is expected to provide a boost to gambling operators in the remote state.

Asia Gaming Briefings | Februay 2019


ikkim is the most liberal state in India when it comes to gambling, allowing both casinos and online betting. However, its remote location has hampered growth and casino operators there have long been demanding an airport. It was the only state in the country without one. The airport at Pakyong – 33 kms from the state capital of Gangtok – was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi whose government has been pushing for the construction of Greenfield airports all over the country, especially in smaller towns, or near non-metropolitan cities. Construction on the facility has taken almost a decade, originally beginning in 2009. At 4500 feet above sea level, its scenic beauty has been widely shared on social media providing a marketing boost for the area. Flights started from October 4. According to a Times of India report, SpiceJet, a leading air carrier was to run daily flights from Delhi, Calcutta and Guwahati. Flights to Bhutan are also in the pipeline. Previously, the quickest way to reach Gangtok was a five-hour, uphill drive from Bagdogra, which was the closest airport. The journey was a deterrent to both gamblers and tourists alike in a state, which was heavily dependent on tourism for revenue. Travel operators are already reporting increased interest by tourists following the launch of the airport. According to Sikkim Tourism, last year the state attracted 1.37 million tourists, up from 740,763 the prior year. Albert Climent, an expert on gaming and gambling based out of Gangtok, agreed that the airport would “definitely be helpful” in boosting footfall. Climent, who is founder of BlueSea Consulting, noted that the state has been getting enough people interested in visiting its casinos and online gaming parlours, keeping the business healthy, despite the difficult access. Golden Gaming is the main operator in Sikkim, with casinos as well as gaming kiosks and a large gaming centre in the middle of the city. Its senior official in-charge operations, Ratul Sethi, told AGB that they welcomed the airport, but were not yet seeing a boost to business due to limited flight connections. “We have heard from the authorities that weather conditions (due to its height) are preventing the airport from getting permissions to allow more flights to land. Once the flight from Guwahati starts, we expect more footfalls.” Deltin, India’s largest gaming company also owns a casino in Sikkim. They have also welcomed the opening of the airport. “The airport will be a major boost for tourism,


GROSS GAMING REVENUE Delta Q2 Net Revenue 120 crore Gaming Revenue 132.5 crore



(Source: Delta Corp)

Delta files petition for Daman license Delta Corp in December filed a writ petition in the Bombay High Court calling on the government of the Union Territory of Daman to grant the company a license to operate a casino at its five-star property in the region. Daman Hospitality Private Ltd. filed the writ seeking a direction that license be granted under Section 13A of the Goa, Daman and Diu Public Gambling Act, 1976 to install games of electronic amusement/slot machines at The Deltin Hotel. Delta, which operates floating casinos in

MP calls for sports integrity bill, legal sports betting A senior Indian politician has introduced a Private Member’s Bill in the Lower House of Parliament aimed at improving integrity in sports and calling for regulation of online sports betting. Thiruvananthapuram MP and senior Congress Leader Dr. Shashi Tharoor introduced the bill on 28th December 2018. “The integrity of sports is essential to preserve its beneficial aspects. Sports integrity is increasingly under threat due to unabated acts of fraud and corruption,” he said. “My Bill addresses this issue by criminalizing sports fraud, including match fixing and spot fixing.” He noted that India’s complete prohibition on betting on sports has not been a successful and has driven the market further into the black economy.

positively influencing the gaming industry,” the company said in a statement. The three casinos currently operational in the state bring the government revenue of about three million dollars every month, according to estimates by the local media. Commenting on the development, an owner of a gaming house in Calcutta where Poker is legally allowed, said that while Sikkim was “alright” to play at, the facilities “are better in Goa” and as a result professional or serious players would prefer the latter, regardless of the airport. Protests were reported earlier this year against the gambling industry in Sikkim, in particular against the online gaming kiosks.

Critics alleged they were being frequented by poor men who were getting addicted and were causing problems at home. This forced the hand of the government, which has now banned entry of locals into the gaming kiosks. Climent said that the ban could have been prompted by upcoming elections. “Such things always happen in the election year and not much should be read into it,” he told AGB. Sikkim will go for state elections in 2019, along with general elections in the country. While Sethi agreed that elections do cause protests to spike, he also admitted that the move to ban the locals had affected business. The company has taken it in its stride. “We have to adhere by the policies of the government,” he told AGB.

Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2019



Local operators say new bill fails to address high fees, locals ban Nepal has proposed new regulations to tighten oversight of its casinos, just five years after passing legislation to govern the sector, though some local operators have expressed disappointment at a ban on locals and high fees.


he latest bill seeks stricter action against casino operators that default on taxes and flee the country. The proposed Federal Tourism Act 2018 includes regulation on mountaineering, casinos, trekking and adventure sports. It also envisages a powerful 19-member National Tourism Council chaired by the prime minister. Aside from the authority to confiscate property of casino operators who default on taxes, the bill also allows authorities to seize assets, passports, and bank accounts in Nepal and abroad. The bill, which is largely drawn from the Casino Regulation of 2013, also imposes strict rules against gambling by locals. While foreign investors have largely welcomed the new bill, local operators have sought several amendments.

Asia Gaming Briefings | Februay 2019

Chiranjibi Acharya, a spokesman for the Casino Operators Association Nepal (CAN), said the new bill retained many of the unpopular provisions from the Casino Regulations of 2013. “Rather than making changes to many provisions of the regulation, which we had demanded earlier, the current proposal continues with the old ones,” he said. The local operators had urged the government not to increase fees, such as raising the license fee from 20 million Nepali rupees to 30 million for casinos and from 10 million Nepali rupees to 20 million for mini casinos, which must be situated in four-star hotels. “We have requested the government to provide us 50 percent discount in these fees,” said Acharya. Acharya said local operators were lobbying

for the government to allow Nepalese to gamble since “they were travelling to countries like India, Singapore, Sri Lanka and Cyprus for the purpose.” The CAN has also opposed the rule that says mini casinos should be 5 kilometres from the international border. “The whole idea of border casino is to attract customers from across the border. If the rule was included for security reasons, we haven’t seen any problem so far,” he said. Provisions such as betting limits and the declaration of the number of chips and their value should also be removed from the proposed bill, he added. The bill imposes a windfall tax, though CAN is calling for the tax only to be imposed on winnings above 1 million Nepali rupees ($8,900). Though the Ministry of Tourism has invited input from stakeholders, it isn’t likely to make amendments on fees and


GROSS GAMING REVENUE Tiger Palace NovEMBER drop $1.86m TMCCK OctOBER GGR $670,000 (Source: Silver Heritage)

Indian note ban seen hitting tourism, casinos

other revenues, said Suryabamsha Sharma a holiday of 3-4 days in India, we receive a Kandel, an under-secretary at the ministry. lot of gamblers from the country,” he said, Mike Bolsover, CEO of Silver Heritage adding in recent months there has also been Group, which runs Millionaire’s Club and a spike in Chinese players from the province Casino at the Shangri-La Hotel in Kathmandu of Guangzhou. The number of casinos in Nepal has reached and Tiger Palace Resort in Bairahawa, near the Indian border, said Nepal should engage seven after Pride Group, which operates Casino an internationally experienced group to assist Pride at the Hotel Hyatt Regency launched in drafting the bill. “The bill should reflect Casino Palace at the five-star Hotel Del’ Annapurna in March last Nepal’s commitment to an year. Others include Casino international standard of Mahjong at Hotel Soaltee, rules and regulations and Casino Royale at Yak and laws around casinos and Nepal Yeti Hotel and Casino Rad integrated resorts,” he said. should have at Hotel Radisson. These “It should promote last two operate on the sustainable growth and one set of laws basis of an interim order protect investors,” he said, and regulations from the Supreme Court. adding that Nepal “required Two more casinos are an independent enforcement for all. in the works. agency or regulator. Deltin Group, owned He w e l c o m e d t h e by Delta Corp Ltd, which proposal to take strict action against defaulters, but added that a runs India’s largest offshore casinos, is Supreme Court stay order, which has allowed launching its first casino in Nepal at the some casinos to run despite not having paid five-star Marriott Hotel in Kathmandu, which fees, should be rescinded. “Nepal should will open its doors in February, 2019. While have one set of laws and regulations for all India’s Golden Globe Hotels, which runs Big Daddy Casino in Goa, is planning to open a [operators],” he said. Other industry insiders such as Nischal casino in eastern Nepal near the Indian border. Chapagain, operations manager of Bally’s A five-star hotel that is under-construction Casino at Hotel Malla, said if managed well, in Char Ali of Jhapa district will reportedly casinos can attract new players. “If there’s house the casino.

Nepal has banned the use of large denomination Indian currency notes in a move which tourism officials say may be detrimental to the industry. According to a notification in the Nepal Gazette, people will not be able to carry bills of 200, 500, or 2000 rupees, local media reports. “The decision is a big setback particularly for cash-driven industries like tourism,” Basanta Raj Mishra, a senior tourism entrepreneur, was cited as saying. “We were optimistic that the government was taking initiatives to make the Indian currency, the denomination of at least INR500, acceptable in Nepal targeting the Visit Nepal 2020 campaign.” “The major impact of the decision will be on the casino industry, hotels and restaurants,” he added.

Silver Heritage to sell Bhairahawa land plots Australia-listed Silver Heritage, which operates the Tiger Palace Resort Bhairahawa, said it is seeking to dispose of unused land at the resort to release capital from its asset base while it carries out a strategic review of operations. The company said the IR had a quiet month in October, as had been expected, due to the Indian Diwali holidays, but said its November drop was expected to be ahead of the six-month average at $1.86 million. However, the hold rate was lower than normal at 11 percent compared with the average of 26 percent, resulting in underperformance for the month.

Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2019


ICE Totally Gaming 2019

Gaming’s Spirit of Genius It’s another year of tremendous growth for Clarion’s ICE Totally Gaming 2019, one of the most well-attended gaming exhibitions in the world.


ore than 33,500 visitors are expected to arrive at the ExCel Exhibition Centre in London during ICE week, who together represent more than 150 countries. ICE 2019 is expected to be even bigger than previous years, due in part to the Supreme Court’s repeal of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) in the United States - which has increased participation from sportsbook and igaming companies. “As the most international gaming event on the calendar, exhibitors know that they can use ICE London as a method of launching into any gaming jurisdiction in the world,” commented Kate Chambers, managing director of Clarion Gaming. “I think the real attraction for gaming professionals is the guarantee that, when they come to ICE London, they will see the very best, smartest companies showing products that harness the very latest advances in technology. It’s technology that keeps on revolutionizing the market and, as our creative campaign states, this is a genius industry and the best place to experience that spirit of genius is at ICE London,” she added.

Asia Gaming Briefings | Februay 2019

Nearly 600 exhibitions representing 60+ nations will be in attendance, including Aristocrat, Asia Live Tech, Aruze Gaming, BBIN, Betconstruct, Betradar, IGT, iSoftBet, Playn’GO, RTG Asia, Zitro, and many more. On the conference side, ICE VOX makes its return on 4-6 February 2019. This year’s ICE VOX has been reformatted to give the audience a new experience - with more than 120 speakers over seven unique conference tracks. New areas of focus include Advertising and Marketing - where delegates can learn about new advertising standards and practices in key markets, as well as Artificial Intelligence - which discusses why machine learning in gambling is becoming a non-negotiable must for operators around the world. Of course, the International Casino Conference, World Regulatory Briefing, Modernizing Lotteries, Cybercrime and Security, and Esports tracked sessions will be making their return after a successful 2018 event. Over the next few pages, you’ll get a glimpse into the most innovative products to hit the market in 2019. Be sure to also visit the AGB team at stand ND8-C at the show.

5-7 February, 2019 ExCeL London, UK


The Light Bulb Dating back to to 18th Century, incandescent lighting has had many ďŹ gures associated to its progression but the invention of the commercial lightbulb is most often awarded to Thomas Edison who bought all the components together to form a cohesive integrated electric lighting system. #spiritofgenius

To experience gaming’s Spirit of Genius visit Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2019



Refined products


his edition of ICE will be the 25th year of participation for Abbiati and to celebrate this anniversary the company is preparing incredible brand-new products never seen before. Over 35 years of experience has enabled Abbiati to manufacture high-quality products, which are long-lasting and ensure high levels of performance. Visitors will have the opportunity to admire a wide range of gaming tables manufactured from refined wood essences. During ICE, Abbiati will exhibit their versatility - allowing them to create gaming tables according to the specific requests of each customer. The company is also presenting a variety of casino currency, such as the patented “Tie” chip line. Abbiati’s currency can include new security features, such as the PJM 3.0 RFID of 13.56 MHz, which allows operators to have total visibility and information of all chips in play recording all their movements in real time.

Other security features include high-security holograms, 3-in-1 UV security feature, Laser Tracer technology, Optical Variable Ink. Abbiati is also exhibiting their GLI-25 certified American Roulette wheel with the upgraded and patented invisible laser technology (Class 1A). All Abbiati wheels have an open protocol that allows them to connect and run winning number displays, online gaming terminals, and management systems. The wheels will be complemented with


All-in Translations



All questions answered

fter an incredibly successful 2018 which saw Alderney welcome a record number of licensees, the regulator is delighted to return to ICE 2019 in February. A global leader in eGambling regulation, the Alderney Gambling Control Commission (AGCC) has been regulating online gambling businesses since 2000 and is one of the most recognized and trusted authorities globally. For ICE 2019 you can find Alderney on stand N7-310. Team members from the AGCC and representatives from Team Alderney – a collective of experienced, skilled professionals servicing the eGambling industry in Alderney will be in attendance. From licensing requirements and relocation to hosting, technical and corporate services, Alderney will be on hand to answer any question about licensing in the jurisdiction. Alderney invites ICE attendees to ask about how Alderney’s risk-based approach and unique, flexible framework can help to ease the administrative burden of regulation. Come meet the team at ICE 2019 on stand N7-310.

Asia Gaming Briefings | Februay 2019

a large selection of multimedia displays, running directly from Abbiati Laser Wheel or auto-setting overhead reader or camera. The combination of wheels and displays show the capacity of the company to combine the innovation with the tradition without losing the quality of the final products. All visitors who desire to experience the most refined products in terms of innovation, security, design, and quality are welcome to visit Abbiati at stand S7-230.

Language services you can bet on

ll-in Translations write, translate and optimize content for the gaming, sports, esports and crypto sectors. In 2008, All-In Translations answered an untapped demand and carved a niche as the first company to offer localization and content writing to the iGaming industry. Today, the company is widely recognized as the #1 Language Service Provider around, with more than 200 active clients in 2018, including the most prestigious and dynamic companies in the sector. The whole organization – staff, translators, copywriters, and services – has been carefully crafted with one mission in mind: To help game developers, platform providers, operators, and affiliates reach new markets with high-quality deliveries and service. This means that in the All-in family, everyone has one thing in common: A weak spot for games. Life is a game - might as well enjoy it! All-in Translations’ quality systems and project management processes are setting the highest standard in the iGaming language services industry and are certified to both ISO 9001 and ISO 17100. The company has also won a number of accolades. In 2018, All-In Translations won the Best Corporate Services Provider at EGR B2B and Best Service Provider at the SBC Awards.


More games on display than ever before


ristocrat is set to showcase an even broader range of market-leading gaming content and innovative hardware solutions at ICE 2019. “Continuing our globally adopted theme ‘It’s all about what’s inside’, we will be sharing a stunning line-up of what’s next for gaming floors in 2019,” said James Boje, Managing Director – EMEA. “More games will be on display than ever before, spanning all product segments. With a vast array of premium large format platforms introduced over the last 12 months, it’s vital that customers can see as much as possible of the output resulting from year-on-year investment in design & development.” Spearheading Aristocrat’s licensed collection will be Dragon Link. This Arc Single-housed evolution of Lightning-Link has been wowing players in Australia, the Americas, and France,

and is now set to roll out across Holland and other EMEA markets. On display will be the unique Dragon Link Den 12-machine carousel that impressed visitors to October’s G2E in Las Vegas, among them Italy’s Casinò di Venezia, which is set to see the centerpiece attraction go live on its floor on the eve of ICE. Further Dragon Link upgrades for 2019 include a new family of games featuring a Big Symbols free games mechanic, as well as a range of base games with multi mid denominations for privée areas. Maintaining further support for the gaming world’s most popular Hold & Spin game series, new Lightning Link titles include Eyes of Fortune and Dragon’s Riches, featuring expanding wilds during free games. On the back of success in North American casinos, the metamorphic Gold Stacks 88 Link

becomes available in the new Helix XT portrait cabinet and welcomes two new unique base games, Prosperity Pig and Tiger Reign to its library. Another highly innovative hardware concept, Helix Tower will see two new linked concepts added to its collection. Wonder 4 Spinning Fortunes brings another of Aristocrat’s mega brands, Wonder 4, to the big screen. Linked for the first time, the renowned multi-reel set game is boosted by strong legacy titles and a wheel feature delivering free games, super free games and jackpots. Also making an EMEA debut, Dragon Tower Jackpots is an Asian-themed game developed by the same studio that created the popular Mighty Cash Big Money. Aristocrat can be found at its relocated stand - closer to the heart of the ICE show, at stand S5-150.

Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2019



Exciting Muso line-up

Firework of innovation


MATIC Industries is set to raise expectations with a firework of innovation at the forthcoming ICE exhibition in London. Recognized as The MULTI-GAME company, all the AMATIC games have been developed in-house. Every year AMATIC releases a multitude of new games to the industry in London and the ICE 2019 will be no exception. These are naturally driven by the HARDROX platform to guarantee the display excellence. Style and elegance are the hallmarks of AMATIC’s gaming machines. Look forward to seeing brand new futureproof cabinets. All will be revealed at the ICE in February. Two other major corporate pillars of AMATIC Industries will also be housed on the stand: the Roulette Grand Jeu 24HX automated roulette and the AMANET online gaming solutions. The reputation of the Roulette Grand Jeu 24HX speaks for itself. In Spain alone, AMATIC has sold more than 1,200 of these automated roulettes so far. In its standard version, the Grand Jeu provides

space for up to 8 players. Each player has his/her own gaming terminal equipped with a brilliant 24” Full HD monitor. The Grand Jeu is also available in a flexible version – with the Solitaire electronic roulette wheel and an individual number of connected Satellite terminals. AMANET online gaming remains the fastest growing pillar of AMATIC’s business. The combination of wellknown land-based games and new games specially developed for the online market gives players an extensive choice. The number of jurisdictions that have approved AMANET games continues to rise. All games are in HTML5 format, meaning that they can be played on all possible devices. AMATIC Industries - The MULTI GAME Company - can be found at the same stand position as last year, stand S5-240.


Clover Link


PEX Gaming’s complete jackpot game solution, CLOVER LINK was the highlight of 2018 for the company. Available in three different versions, with a choice of different Pinnacle slot machines, the popular jackpot island solution is said to have gained the hearts of players throughout the world. The BIG ISLAND consists of eight slots in an eclipse design, the ROUND EDITION has four slots in a circular design and the WALL EDITION is the most flexible, as it can be expanded to as many slots as the customer requires. New for the ICE 2019 is the introduction of the BIG ISLAND with the 43” Pinnacle Premium Curved slots. The screen choice includes a 43” Pinnacle Premium Curved, the Pinnacle Black Series with two 24” monitors or the Pinnacle Premium Curved with three 27” monitors.

Asia Gaming Briefings | Februay 2019

Another major point this year is that CLOVER LINK has transformed from a single-game to multi-game jackpot solution. Today, four very popular APEX games that have been brought together in a special way. These games all offer unique features in a four-level jackpot that can be both mystery and progress jackpots, thus motivating all types of players to take part. At ICE, APEX gaming will be releasing a new set of CLOVER LINK multi-games to compliment the four already established. Along with CLOVER LINK, Apex will also be showing off its Pinnacle slots, the APEX PLAYER STATION (APS) electronic roulette, iDROP, card shuffling solutions and a number of live gaming accessories. APEX gaming will be exhibiting at stand S5-250 at the show.


ruze Gaming will be exhibiting their award-winning Muso Triple-27 for the first time at ICE London 2019. Muso Triple-27 won the gold medal as the Best Slot Product in the 2018 Global Gaming Business Gaming & Technology Awards. Featuring the industry’s first wireless charging port, Muso Triple-27 creates a stunning light display in its LED backlighting that gives a 360-degree presence on the casino floor. An exciting way to attract players, Aruze created a sequential lighting feature that occurs on the back panel when the cabinets are connected to each other. LED lighting continues behind the large 27-inch monitors, in edge lighting along the monitors themselves and even in the player’s wrist rest. Aruze expands the Muso family with Muso Curve-43 and Muso Limited, both launched at G2E Las Vegas 2018. Muso Curve-43 is a cutting-edge video slot cabinet that carries a vertical presentation with a 43-inch J-style curved LCD monitor. The wireless phone charger seen on the Muso Triple-27 is also supported. Muso Limited is also a video slot cabinet that incorporates a 55-inch vertical monitor stacked on a 27-inch monitor. Based on customers overwhelming feedback, Aruze is launching the third edition of Paradise Fishing exclusively on the Muso Limited cabinet titled Hawaiian Fishing. Aruze’s Amazon Fishing and the predecessor title Paradise Fishing, both community-style games, received four awards in 2011 as the most innovative gaming technology and as the Best Slot Product. Many of the key elements of that revolutionary gameplay have been maintained, including an improved Reel Controller players use to reel in fish during bonus features. Muso Limited and Muso Curve-43 maintain the unique design of Muso with an LED-backlit panel, brilliant graphics display using 500 Candela (luminous intensity) and a large ergonomic glass-table button deck with a 13.3-inch LCD screen which are guaranteed to provide players comfort and convenience. Muso Triple-27, Muso Curve-43, Muso Limited, and Cube-X Innovator Deluxe will be on full display at stand S5-210.


Sportsbook, eSports, Live Casino


portsbook, eSports and Live Casino have been the areas of BetConstruct’s intense focus in 2018. Betconstruct’s sports betting offering continues to be the company’s major product, with market-leading monthly coverage of 40,000 live matches. Knowing the growing interest towards eSports in Asia, the company has now included 15 new types of eSports in its live betting with 9,000+ exclusive live events covered monthly, improving its Sportsbook’s engagement levels with exclusive content. As for gaming products, the company’s Live Casino has undergone extensive improvements this year. In 2018, Betconstruct built a new studio hall called Dragon designed with Chinese motifs, including tables for newly developed four live casino games specifically for the Asian market namely Speed Baccarat, Baccarat, Super Six Baccarat, and Dragon Tiger. At the stand, visitors can take a glance at Betconstruct’s live dealer games at a gaming table direct from BetConstruct’s in-house studio. Also, the company has partnered up with industry-leading third-party providers in Asia, with the aim of offering an enhanced line-up of region-focused products for its customers. Betconstruct says it expects to continue this tendency and form more exciting partnerships in 2019. Summing up, in 2019, BetConstruct will be keeping the track of eSports and its advancements in the Asian market, as well as providing its partners with the ground-breaking solutions tailored to take gaming businesses at any stage of their development to the next level. A lot of emphasis will also be put on the development of more in-house products which will include the Asian agent system and many more. See the team at Betconstruct’s spacious stand at S1-350.

Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2019



Future of iGaming


etsoft Gaming brings the latest entries in its portfolio to London for ICE Totally Gaming 2019. Attendees at the exhibition will have the opportunity to play the revolutionary RNG experience Max Quest: Wrath of Ra, as well as many other cutting-edge slot games. Occupying stand S3-312, Betsoft will be showcasing various titles from its portfolio of online casino games. These will include Chillipop – a clusterbased carnival where an expanding grid creates explosive new ways to win – and the brand-new Faerie’s Spells, which marries a darker take on traditional fairytales with exclusive innovations like tiered, shared jackpots and Betsoft’s signature

Leading clients to Asia

feature-buy-in mechanic. Betsoft will also be showcasing their marquee title for 2018 Max Quest: Wrath of Ra. This game is a reinvention of the principles of RNG gaming, designed to bring the thrill of real-money gaming roaring to life for a wider audience that reel-based slots have been unable to reach. Incorporating carefully-curated elements from social gaming, mobile gaming, and video games, Max Quest is an interactive, all-action shooting experience that has already begun to redefine iGaming. Visitors are encouraged to visit stand S3312 and play full versions of marquee titles Max Quest, Chillipop, Faerie’s Spells, as well as established Betsoft favorites.


BIN is heading to London for the third time in 2019 for ICE 2019, celebrating its 20th year of brand establishment. At ICE, BBIN will present its latest integrated services, technical support, and innovative spirit. Having accumulated 20 years of professional experience, BBIN holds a high market share and superb customer satisfaction in Asia. The company is familiar with the differences between regional markets. It also has access to top resources and grasps the key strengths for success in Asia. This time, BBIN’s stand will continue to incorporate the brand’s iconic elements, including ink wash painting and the color oriental red. In addition, BBIN also features a creative spatial design to present a new image of the East, exquisitely interpreting Chinese culture with a contemporary essence. It will fully convey the brand value that BBIN has cultivated in Asia for twenty years. To learn more about BBIN, the Asian market expert, please visit ICE London at stand N6-165.


Find your winning edge


anging from a full turnkey sportsbook solution to the leading in-play trading service on the market, as well as the sector’s only dedicated digital marketing agency, Betgenius offers everything required to run and manage a premium sportsbook operation. Visitors to stand S2-340 will discover why Betgenius’ technology is renowned for empowering sportsbook operators to take total control of their brand and trading strategy in order to create a unique proposition, drive operational efficiency and boost profits. The company will be running live demos of the cutting-edge Betgenius Sportsbook Platform. The platform offers an entire turnkey solution or a set of best-in-class components to suit the exact requirements of the operator’s strategy. Uniquely, the product allows this configuration to evolve over time, if and when operators seek greater control of their technology stack. As a leading supplier of in-play betting

Asia Gaming Briefings | Februay 2019

services, its Trading and Data Services are a must-see for any operator. From event creation, pricing, and settlement, to live risk management, Betgenius’ customizable solutions help operators across the globe run a pricing strategy that sets them apart from their rivals. Unique to the industry, Betgenius runs a digital marketing and media buying agency which is entirely focused on sports betting and iGaming. Whether it’s acquisition, retention or engagement, the Customer Engagement Platform allows operators to reach the right audience, with the right message across all channels and formats. Matt Stephenson, managing director of Betgenius, said: “Creating a truly unique proposition through a customized front-end, tailored pricing and personalized marketing is absolutely vital to success in today’s market. We are excited to be at ICE once again to showcase

our huge range of products and services which allow sportsbook operators to do attain each of those goals, thus creating a hugely profitable and long-term sportsbook strategy.” Visit Betgenius at ICE 2019, stand S2-340.


Innovative content


cientific Games Corporation will showcase its commitment to developing the gaming industry’s most innovative products, content, and technology for casinos, lotteries, online gaming and sports betting at ICE. “We’re more committed than ever to providing the best games and the most dynamic player experiences in the industry,” said Scientific Games President and CEO, Barry Cottle. “We couldn’t be more excited about our new game content, our leading sports betting solution and cutting-edge technology that we are sharing with our partners at ICE. In every market, across all channels, player expectations are driving critical paths of innovation. Teams at Scientific Games across every product offering are creating growth opportunities and value for our customers through richer and more immersive player experiences.” When visitors enter the Scientific Games booth, they will be transported to an interactive theater connecting them with product and player experts to get a first-hand look at the depth and breadth of new games, platforms and systems on offer. Innovative products and experiences that work seamlessly together to create opportunities to play anywhere, anytime, across all channels. Scientific Games will showcase its

innovative slots content, including a suite of games featuring Premium Play, a new in-game feature that offers enhanced options such as additional free spins, wild symbols and win lines. An exciting new menu will deliver a new way of navigating and finding games and will leverage technology to intelligently automate placement of game titles. The most imaginative and engaging content can be seen in new games for the UK market. The highly anticipated MICHAEL JACKSON MegaStar, which features extensive video and music from the “King of Pop” will make its debut. This latest community game title includes a “Megastar” feature and incorporates a pot and a tiered Freespins bonus round which awards up to 20 free spins. In addition to new games, Scientific Games will also launch a new all-encompassing c ustomer p or t a l, CUBE. D e velop e d exclusively for the UK market, the online service provides readily accessible support and data on products, content, promotions, analytics and more. At the heart of Scientific Games is an intense focus on creating amazing player experiences and great games. The company continues to build a state-of-theart entertainment ecosystem that delivers thrilling content across all gaming verticals

from the casino floor to mobile, and from sports to lottery games and technologies. Scientific Games will showcase the next evolution of its wildly successful Asian gaming legacy with Jin Ji Bao Xi. The hottest game globally, Jin Ji Bao Xi offers players a unique bonus feature where the player may select their own bonus. Jin Ji Bao Xi is now also available on the new TwinStar Wave XL cabinet, which offers a bigger and better player experience on a curved, ultra-high-definition display. Completely redesigned for the European market, the Fusion Auto Roulette will make its debut. This product showcases a smaller footprint, improved wheel viewing angles, and the same speed of play and reliability that players expect from this platform. Scientific Games is bringing iconic games that players love to new levels with its revolutionary SG Game Service. Player-favorites MONOPOLY Millionaire, MONOPOLY Big Money Reel and BATTLESHIP Direct Hit! will be featured on this state-of-the-art platform based on a thin client architecture. From bar tops to tablets, the company will showcase how it is bringing digital and retail content to a new land-based gaming experience focused on player experience. Scientific Games can be found at stand N1-560.

Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2019


Comtrade Gaming

Real-time retention


omtrade Gaming will be highlighting how real-time retention strategies through predictive analytics can create value. “Our product development is focused on the player and is creating an environment that delivers the best possible responsible player experience on any given channel,” explains Aleš Gornjec, general manager of Comtrade Gaming, ahead of ICE 2019. Comtrade Gaming will present the latest additions to their online gaming platform iCore. The player account management system includes real-time responsible gambling notifications and alerts and personalized limit setting. There are further updates to the sophisticated bonusing gamification feature – Award Games. Predictive analytics assists the operator to plan, launch and personalize individual promotions, communicate specific messages and award their players before, during and after gameplay. Operators can engage the player with additional retention tools, enhance the player’s lifetime value, control their business better and improve operational efficiency. Betting operators can now launch personalized free bet campaigns that are based on player’s past behavior. In connection to predictive analytics data sources, Comtrade Gaming will use new dashboard technology that connects to traditional

one and displays new ways to understand and optimize business performance. With the newest gaming machine management platform – sCore, Comtrade Gaming shows new ways of real-time data collection from the gaming machines that support GSA’s G2S protocol under one central server. Presenting also Regulatory Reporting Interface protocol for data collection from systems that then goes through the extensive validation and verification engine, and is prepared for numerous types of reporting and alert notifying. Comtrade Gaming’s game development team gCore will present brand-new framework – The Game Engine, with various features that specifically focus on multi-device support. The Game Engine is created to maximize code reuse, create visually rich content, reduce development and testing time and deploy games across multiple channels. With the gCore, Remote Game Server solution for vendors and operators, we fully optimize implementation and distribution of online, mobile and server-based gaming content to achieve the best user experience. To learn more, visit Comtrade Gaming at stand N4 – 340

Colossus Bets

Racing betting experiences


olossus Bets, the provider of global sports jackpot pools and pioneer of Cash Out functionality, returns to ICE 2019 with an expanded product portfolio. With a B2B distribution network now numbering 50+ operators, including Betfair, Betway Africa, Mr Green and Paf, the lotterysize prize guarantees, leg-by-leg Cash Out, Syndicates ‘crowdbetting’ and FreePlay features are hardly news. What is news is Colossus’ foray into British and Irish racing jackpots, introducing all standard Colossus’ USPs into the racing betting experience and giving it a much-needed boost. Players have been taking note - the Best Dividend Guarantee on Place pools that Colossus has marketed since launch is a nice cherry on top for those who know their figures. Colossus also offers its patented Cash Out and Syndicates technology as a ‘wrapper’ service on existing liquidity.

Asia Gaming Briefings | Februay 2019

The company also prides itself in risk management for jackpots, illustrated by its underwriting of weekly prize guarantees in the millions of pounds. In the ‘coming soon’ category, Colossus will be announcing the addition of eSports and Fantasy MVP jackpots to their sports content portfolio, with an eye on US audiences and beyond. eSports jackpots will appeal to young gamers globally, fitting in with what is seen as the biggest betting trend of the moment, whereas Fantasy jackpots will provide a bridge between a familiar gaming experience and scoring system, DFS, and ‘traditional’ sports betting. Get in the know at stand S1-312.

Smart casino solutions


any casino operators still struggle with undetected fraud and theft, high operating costs and inefficient, manual processes. The “Smart Casino Solutions” from industry pioneer Dallmeier promise a holistic approach with an innovative combination of video technology and Artificial Intelligence (AI). At ICE London 2019, Stand S9-242, Dallmeier will showcase solutions for the three essential casino areas Gaming, Surveillance, and Marketing. For classic table games including Blackjack and Baccarat, Dallmeier is showcasing its casino automation technology. Due to their “analogue” nature, classic table games such as Blackjack were previously difficult to integrate into data processing and analysis. Dallmeier’s Casino Automation Technology (CAT) – the first gaming automation system that is live in a productive environment – uses AI technologies and standard Full HD IP cameras to gather all sorts of data; e.g. the system recognizes chips and cards, provides real-time information about bet position and bet value, game pace and float value. This now allows for an accurate player rating, highly increased game pace and a much more effective protection from fraud. Classic surveillance and CCTV also play a major role in casinos. With the new 360-degree version of the patented Panomera multifocal sensor system, casino operators can cover much larger areas with the same number of operators while at the same time significantly improving overall security due to high resolution, 360-degree view of the overall scene. All this reduces the cost for video security infrastructure enormously, leading to a significant lower Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). The Smart Casino Solutions from Dallmeier are rounded off by their marketing aspect. By intelligently combining video technology-based functions (e.g. people counting) with AI-based gaming automation technologies and other analysis techniques, casinos can make more informed decisions based on the behavior and preferences of their visitors and players. Visit Dallmeier at stand S9-242 at the show.


Be your own boss


sia Live Tech will be exhibiting at ICE London 2019 once again from 5-7 February 2019. This will mark Asia Live Tech’s fourth year exhibiting at the show, what makes this more special is that the company has also been shortlisted in the London Global Gaming Awards on 4th February 2019 in the category of Best Online Casino Supplier. This event will be the perfect place for suppliers or entrepreneurs who wish to enter the iGaming segment, especially in Asia. The company’s slogan is “Own Your Own Brand, Be Your Own Boss”. Operators are encouraged to “take the next step” and launch their own iGaming brand to the market with Asia Live Tech’s Proprietary White Label iGaming Platform. This year, ALT has added some interesting new features to its iGaming Platform offering with the Baccarat Progressive Jackpot as well as the Ang Pow Bonus. This has added an extra buzz while playing at ALT Live Dealer Casino. The platform also comes ready with a robust back-end system packed with ALT Games which includes Live Dealer Casino, Slots, Keno, Lottery topped off with ALT’s SportsBook. This makes your potential platform fully equipped to serve the market of various different players as ALT’s offerings cater to different player preferences. Come on down and meet the team at ICE 2019, stand N1-240. EzUGI

Exciting year ahead


ive casino software specialist - Ezugi is set to showcase its award-winning products when it exhibits at ICE 2019. Among the highlight of this show’ edition will be its Ezugi 3.0 product updates, with Blackjack 3.0 and Roulette 3.0 making its debut in ICE 2019 – Ezugi’s latest update to the two all-time favorite casino games. Both are completely redesigned to provide deeper user engagement with its analytical and statistical-based features, along with new user interfaces. Available on desktop as well as both landscape and portrait mode on mobile, the release of Roulette 3.0 is in time for the upcoming launch of its over-the-table (OTT) streamed from the

roulette table at Casino de Talavera, Castilla la Mancha in Spain. An expert in OTT solutions, Ezugi already manages live casino streams from several casinos in different regions, offering a range of products that include multiple roulettes and baccarat/ punto banco variants. 2019 will be an exciting year for Ezugi. Besides the completion of its flagship studio in Bucharest, Ezugi’s games have also met the requirements of the Italian regulator (AAMS) and most recently been licensed by the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA). This is on top of the existing licenses in other regulated markets such as Bulgaria, Romania, New Jersey, and

Spain. This year will also see the start of Ezugi’s collaboration with Blue Ribbon, a supplier of a jackpot engine as a non-bonus retention tool tailored for the regulated market. Visit Ezugi at stand N7-315 to have a chat about their latest offerings.

Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2019


Patented designs, latest innovations


ary Platt is bringing its patented designs and latest innovations to ICE Totally Gaming 2019. Gary Platt will be at stand S5-200 at the tradeshow, showcasing its unsurpassed comfort seating for all areas of the casino and hotel. “Our customers worldwide have been responding very positively to our product lines, and because of their support, Gary Platt is the number one global gaming chair provider for the fourth year in a row,” said Gary Platt vice president of Sales Joshua Corrick. “We have one job, and that is to make the world’s most comfortable chairs for operators so that their players are as comfortable as possible, and we are honored to be recognized as the global leader in comfort and design.” Leading Gary Platt’s exposition is the company’s new line of sportsbook chairs. Gary Platt’s sportsbook line features styles inspired by the company’s portfolio of field-proven and player-favorite chairs. Styles in the sportsbook line include the patented Monaco (US Patent No. D829458), Bleu, Genoa Club, GX2, Lido Revo, Lugano, Sierra, and Sonoma Club. Each chair is customizable to fit each individual casino’s design, with a wide range of upholstery, finishing, and base styles to choose from. In addition to sportsbook seating, Gary Platt will showcase seating for all areas of the casino, including slots, tables, back of house, convention, and guest room. Visit Gary Platt on stand S5-200 at ICE and discover leading seating solutions for the entire operation.


Modular solutions


veryMatrix is gearing up to showcase at ICE London 2019 their Modular and

Asia Gaming Briefings | Februay 2019


Neo Tokyo


nternational game supplier Ganapati–known mainly for its Japanesethemed content–will unveil this year’s flagship game as well as several other exciting releases at ICE 2019. Neo Tokyo, which is the inspiration behind the impressive Ganapati booth, is a striking Cyberpunk feel slot with intriguing features and a gripping story running through it, shown to players in a series of video clips. Going down a slightly different path from previous releases, two Ganapati titles being presented are actually based on Chinese themes, as opposed to the usual Japanese. Great Beauties of China is based on an ancient Chinese legend of four women of different dynasties, whose exceptional beauty held great power and whose lives ended in either tragedy or mystery. The 3x5 high-volatility slot game features an Expanding Mystery Wild, Free Spins bonus and Heart Collection feature, in which a Free Spins Retrigger is activated if any of the Beauties collect all five hearts. Another game following the theme of classical Chinese tales is Journey to the Gold. This unique slot is based on the famous 16th-century novel, Journey to the West, which tells the story of the Monkey King and his two companions, the pig and the river spirit. The troupe were assigned a mission from Buddha to escort a young monk on his quest to bring sacred texts back to China from India. The journey in slot form features high-quality graphics, authentic music, and awards Multipliers and Free Spins. In the Zap a Bull Demon King bonus feature, the player finds themselves at the foot of the Flaming Mountains, where the Bull Demon King dwells. Using his duplication skills, he multiplies himself 15 times and the player must tap on any duplicate of him to reveal either a cash prize or additional hits. With all these highlights and more in store for ICE 2019, make sure to stop by stand N7-440 to immerse yourself in Ganapati’s little Neo Tokyo.

API driven solutions, giving unprecedented flexibility to clients: multiple integration options with 3rd party platforms or turnkey, flexible Front-end development, rich Web APIs and multiple feeds.

EveryMatrix delivers a full suite of API driven solutions including a modular iGaming integration platform, a market leading one-stop shop casino content aggregator, a cross-product bonusing engine, a fully managed sportsbook and sport data services, a stand-alone payment processing product, and a multi-brand affiliate/ agent management system. By splitting up core applications into many smaller applications, Everymatrix has been able to cater for a much wider set of clients than before. Today, the company spans the entire range from completely servicing smaller companies, including start-ups, to the largest operators in the industry. Almost every solution can be isolated and delivered independently yet also delivered jointly in a full turn-key solution. EveryMatrix serves more than 100 operators from different jurisdictions. Join EveryMatrix at ICE London 2019 at Stand N6-310, where the company will exhibit its next generation of B2B solutions and herald exclusive news for the coming year.





Market Trends. Quality Products. Networking. 市場趨勢、優質產品、建立聯繫 G2E Asia: Informs smart business decisions. 亞洲國際娛樂展:助您作出明智的商業决策

2019年5月21-23日 THE VENETIAN MACAO | 澳門威尼斯人 A G2 EEVENT



Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2019




Your Best Bet


GT will showcase an exciting array of innovative gaming solutions under the theme “Your Best Bet” at ICE 2019. The company’s stand will offer hundreds of solutions that reflect the Company’s commitment to developing market-attuned gaming experiences for its gaming, lottery and digital customers from around the world. IGT’s core video portfolio will be a key area of focus within its expansive ICE portfolio. After establishing a robust internal and external performance testing process, IGT continues to create in-demand core video games for international markets. Dual-screen titles Solar Disc, Scarab and Mistress of Egypt will be among the most anticipated IGT core games for the CrystalDual 27 and CrystalSlant cabinets. Additionally, IGT will demonstrate how its Money Strike bolt-on progressive and IncrediBell! tournament solution can be leveraged to optimize investments in IGT hardware. The Company will also introduce a range of core video titles for the single-display, 4K CrystalCurve cabinet such as Coin O’Mania, Golden Jungle Grand and Ocean Magic Grand. Market-attuned, low-line, high-volatility video games such as Brilliant Wilds, Mystery Fruits and Triple Red Hot 7 Strike are additional must-see games in IGT’s stand. These exciting titles were developed for market opportunities in Eastern Europe and Latin America and exemplify IGT delivering on its promise of localized content for its customers. New, regionally relevant USwitch multigame bundles on the Crystal series cabinet, and Diversity HD multi-game bundles on the AXXIS 23/23 cabinet will be additional highlights within IGT’s ICE portfolio. These user-friendly game bundles feature a range of heritage IGT games and recently released “Proven Performer” games. Following the global rollout of successful multi-level progressives (MLP) Fort Knox and Fortune Gong video slots, IGT will showcase the next titles within its diverse MLP library for the CrystalCurve cabinet. Golden Goddess, Star Stax and Dragon Lights will all be displayed on the cabinet’s 43-inch, curved 4k display. The Company will also showcase an array of exciting dual-screen MLPs on the CrystalDual 27 such as Hyper Hits and Fortune Link. ICE attendees can also look forward to new innovation within IGT’s award-winning TRUE 4D portfolio. American Gods 4D is based on

Asia Gaming Briefings | Februay 2019

Innovative product portfolio


the cable TV fantasy drama and the writings of author Neil Richard Gaiman, and delivers a vibrant, multi-sensory gaming experience. American Gods 4D will be joined on-stand by Ghostbusters 4D and Wheel of Fortune 4D, and several games from IGT’s TRUE 3D portfolio. The newly formed IGT PlayDigital organization will showcase its new approach to digital and its ability to create accelerated growth for its customers, and drive a faster pace of change via digital solutions. The Company will showcase new high-performing content from its PlayRGS platform including games such as Pixies of the Forest II and Scarab, and innovative functionality such as tournaments, free spins and a new promotions concept based on player behaviors that can drive incremental play. PlayShot, the Company’s B2B sports betting solution, will be on display with its complementing peripherals, such as the self-service Quick Bet retail kiosk, the innovative PlaySpot mobile app, enterprise-grade retail till, and the platform-agnostic CrystalBetting terminal. IGT will also demonstrate its leading casino management system (CMS), IGT Advantage, and the many modular and mobile components that enable operators to truly customize their CMS investments. IGT’s flagship electronic table games (ETG) terminal, IGT Dynasty, will be on display, along with the Company’s robust ETG content library. These innovations will be joined by new video poker content, VLT innovations, Chill Gaming’s chance-skill games, and a range of other meaningful IGT gaming solutions. Explore IGT’s innovative range of gaming solutions at stand N3-160.

nterblock will exhibit its diverse, industry-leading multi-player and multigame ETG solutions at ICE, including the Universal Cabinet which looks set to change the shape of the casino floor. Interblock EMEA President & Board Member Tomaž Žvipelj said, “We are very excited to be returning to ICE Totally Gaming, which is where we displayed the industry’s first ever ETG, Princess in 1997. Our team has been exceeding our expectations in developing our innovative comprehensive product portfolio and we can’t wait to share it with our partners at the show.” The highlight of Interblock’s booth will be the breakthrough form-factor, Universal Cabinet, which is a standalone unit with slot-like hardware designed to support a variety of games. Available in both video and automated formats, the product will demonstrate craps, roulette, blackjack and baccarat games and its ability to connect to external Interblock generators. Universal Cabinet is revolutionary to the gaming industry and will change the way a typical casino floor is configured. Interblock’s Diamond Stadium will be configured with three of its dealer assist tables delivering multi-hand blackjack, roulette and craps while also demonstrating its video options of multi-hand blackjack, baccarat, craps and roulette. The award-winning StarBar bar top will demonstrate its ability to connect to the live Stadium games. The StarBar allows players to interact with up to four different games simultaneously on one playstation without having to cash out or change machines. A variety of games are available including craps, blackjack, multi-hand blackjack, roulette, video poker and more. Interblock’s bestselling product, MiniStar Roulette, will display its new ball-chasing light and sound package. Find Interblock at booth #S4-210.

19-22 MARCH 2019


Stamford Bridge, London 6th Edition of the International Football & Betting Trade Conference










MATT SCARROTT Director of Sportsbook & VIP BetVictor

LUDOVICO CALVI Lottomatica Betting Board Director



MARTIN LYCKA Director of Regulatory Affairs GVC Group

MATTIAS ERIKSSON Chief Product Officer Kambi

STEVE SCHRIER Chief Commercial Officer SG Digital


JOE LEE Head of SAS Paddy Power Betfair

EOIN RYAN Head of Product BetVictor


RICARDO PINTO CMO Clever Advertising Group



BRETT ABARBANEL Director of Research UNLV International Gaming Institute

NIKLAS LINDAHL Managing Director Italy, Leo Vegas

MIKE WHITE Head of Football Sky Bet

Head of Sports Betting Danske Spil A/S


ELLIOT HACKNEY Head of Social Ladbrokes Coral

JAMIE MCKITTRICK Head of Commercial GVC Group





Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2019 For more information, please visit






Gambling Industry Report ovation, a TransUnion company, published its 2019 Gambling Industry Report, an in-depth analysis of the trends that drove gambling in 2018 and insights into driving Differentiation with Players in 2019. It will be released to attendees of ICE London 2019, at stand N9-500. The report analyzes more than 518 million transactions aggregated from over 100 gambling operator and platform providers. It explores three key trends driving iGaming: • Player Experience as a Market Differentiator: Recent changes to gambling regulations in geographies including the United States, Singapore and India, present an opportunity for market expansion, but also comes with competition from new operators. Attracting and retaining players with a superior experience has never been more important. • Convergence of Fraud Prevention and Authentication: With the convergence of offline and online identities, it’s important to fight fraud and protect customers across the entire lifecycle without degrading the player experience. • Managing Regulatory Uncertainty: Fines rose against gambling operators in the United Kingdom from £1.6 million to £18 million over the year from April 2017 to 2018 for money laundering violations and unfair practices. With the U.K. Gambling Commission issuing another round of fines totalling £14 million in November, this trend doesn’t look to be slowing. Other highlights include: • iovation has seen transactions processed via mobile devices grow at an average annual rate of 95 percent from only 6 percent in 2012 to 70 percent in 2018. • The growth of game abuses and cheating reports continued in 2018, but the growth has slowed from 55 percent in 2017 to 12 percent in 2018. During 2018, over 795,000 devices and nearly a million accounts associated with a self-exclusion report attempted to access one or more of the digital properties in iovation’s network of iGaming clients. To receive a complimentary printed copy of the 2019 Gambling Industry Report, visit iovation at stand N9-500.

Asia Gaming Briefings | Februay 2019

In-Game gamification nline and mobile casino software provider, iSoftBet is showcasing a host of new products at ICE 2019 including ‘In-Game’, its real-time, cross-platform gamification layer, plus smash-hit slots that are set to take the market by storm. In-Game is the latest innovation by iSoftBet adding configurable, real-time, cross-platform gamification tools to its popular suite of games including third-party titles available on its Gaming Aggregation Platform (GAP). Operators across all regulated markets will be able to use this cutting-edge tool to engage and motivate their players and boost loyalty rates. In-Game allows operators to activate a series of easy-to-use, configurable and automated gamification tools that significantly enhance the player experience. This includes jackpots, leaderboards based on achievements or points, or rewards in the form of cash bonuses or free rounds, across not only any iSoftBet game, but also more than 3,000 slot and table game titles provided by its 50 game partners on the GAP platform. These tools have the potential to significantly increase player engagement and retention levels. Nir Elbaz, CEO at iSoftBet, said: “In-game is a significant step forward in cross-platform gamification and we’re very confident it has the potential to far exceed current industry engagement and retention averages that operators

receive as a result of gamification features. “Currently, the majority of gamification takes place before or after a game is played, and rarely, if ever, during live gameplay. iSoftBet In-game is literally a game-changer for operators. It is cross-platform across any game within our portfolio and across all our third-party suppliers available on GAP, and all in real time. “We believe In-Game will have a huge impact, giving players a truly personalized experience, which will, in turn, significantly boost deposits, session times and operator revenues.” Smash-hit slots for 2019 iSoftBet is also giving visitors the chance to preview a trio of its blockbuster slot games for 2019, including Pinata Fiesta, Vegas High Roller and Merlin’s Magic Mirror. Pinata Fiesta is a 20-line, Mexican partythemed slot that invites players to smash open the pinata to reveal a host of features, including Random Wilds, Mega Symbols, Wild Reels and Switching Symbols. Trigger the exciting Free Spins bonus round and the pinata features appear even more frequently to offer massive potential winnings. Vegas High Roller transports players straight to the world-famous Strip with the potential to shoot for the stars and win big. iSoftBet will be at stand #N5-240.


Fruity gaming


abanero is one of the iGaming industry’s fastest-growing suppliers and the team arrives at ICE 2019 for a fourth consecutive year showcasing their latest title, Hot Hot Fruit. Priding itself on creating games that are engaging and immersive for a range of different markets, Hot Hot Fruit is a ripping and exciting fruit slot boasting a modern twist. The 5x3 omni-channel slot features neon lights and vibrant sounds and is designed to bring back memories of times when games were classic, simpler, and fruitier! Hot Hot Fruit joins other recent quality releases such as Pumpkin Patch, Egyptian Dreams Deluxe, Knockout Football, Ways Of Fortune and Jump! in Habanero’s fastgrowing portfolio. All of Habanero’s titles feature the latest in cutting-edge technology to ensure graphics

and sounds are of the highest quality, while unique maths models ensure they excite. The suppliers fast-growing portfolio now stands at more than 110 games and the Habanero team is constantly adding to it as it looks to offer something for all types of players. Visitors to ICE 2019 can test out all Habanero’s offerings on Stand N3-243, while senior members of the team will be on hand to any questions as it looks to continue its growth.


Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2019


Safeguarding security


asino operators of all sizes and in all corners of the world rely on JCM Global to safeguard their casino security and increase connections with their patrons, and now at ICE 2019, JCM will showcase a wealth of leading and patented products. JCM will be at the show with a strong blend of bill validation, printing, and system solutions. Leading JCM’s exhibition is its landmark and award-winning iVIZION bill validator. Its powerful blend of high security, high acceptance rate, and high customer satisfaction are all reasons why JCM has sold more than 400,000 iVIZION units to casinos of all sizes worldwide.

JCM will also show its new MRX Modular Banknote Recycler. MRX is ideal for a wide range of payment terminal types and was created for ultimate flexibility, because it allows operators to select the number of cassettes they need for each individual application. It processes notes at two notes per second and has a 15-note escrow for fast returns. Other JCM bill validators on display are the UBA, iPRO-RC, VEGA, TBV, and the Fujitsu F53/F56. JCM’s GEN5 thermal printer is the better, smarter, faster printing solution. With its fast CPU and print speed, it has the flexibility

to print TITO and promotional tickets, as well as various wager tickets and templated promotional coupons. Find JCM at stand N3-220.


Slot content, cabinets, and progressives


onami Gaming, Inc. announced a strong showcase of new game series and slot cabinets featured at the ICE 2019. More than 30,000 guests will have the chance to experience Konami’s leading progressive game offerings and single-screen

Asia Gaming Briefings | Februay 2019

releases for Concerto Crescent and Stack. Money Galaxy, Agent: Magnifying Jackpots, Magician’s Charm, and Sparkling Roses: Color Bloom are among the top series featured at this year’s ICE for the first time. In addition, this year marks the ICE premiere of Konami’s newest slot cabinets: KX 43 and Concerto Opus. Both are arriving at Konami stand S7-110 with 4K Ultra HD displays and an exciting mix of debut game titles. “This year at ICE London, guests will discover a record variety of single-screen releases for Konami’s curved Crescent and tall Stack cabinets, backed by top-performing play mechanics from symbol-driven links to Strike Zone,” said Eduardo Aching, vice president, international gaming operations. “In addition to showing exceptional results across diverse markets, Konami’s library of single-screen content offers flexible configuration options for multi-denom, multi-currency, and multi-game.” Agent: Magnifying Jackpots and Inspector: Sign of the Jackpots are among the featured Strike Zone titles for Crescent and Stack. Throughout gameplay, players have the option to activate additional reel areas for expanding full-reels wilds and higher jackpot odds by increasing their selected Strike Zone at higher extra bet amounts. In addition to multi-denom and multicurrency options, this standalone jackpot series is SeleXion multi-game compatible. Star Watch is another popular Strike Zone series featured on the floor of this year’s ICE London, with standalone progressive jackpots and instant

symbol-driven credit prize awards. “Continuing the success of Smash Smash Festival, Konami’s ICE 2019 lineup includes five new linked progressive jackpot games for dual-screen Concerto upright and Slant,” said Aching. “All feature original math and mechanics, from pick ‘em progressives to Stay & Spin instant credit prizes.” Symbol-driven linked progressives Money Galaxy and Thunder Arrow are among the debut series for Konami’s Stay & Spin feature. Both are showcased at ICE 2019 on Concerto upright and provide players the chance at multi-round credit collect bonuses throughout gameplay. Guests at ICE 2019 will also discover SeleXion-compatible linked progressives Magician’s Charm and Power Boost Inferno. Similar to Smash Smash Festival, these jackpot games can combine with a mix of popular Konami base games, including Chili Chili Fire, Dragon’s Law Twin Fever, and Lion Carnival. This year marks the ICE debut of Konami’s 43-inch screen KX 43 and 65-inch screen Concerto Opus cabinets, with 4K Ultra HD. Both machines offer a relaxed slant top, dual spin buttons, dual cup holders, and exceptional 4K game library. Concerto Opus is a large-screen video slot cabinet, for comfortable enjoyment by players and pairs. KX 43 is a new cabinet type from Konami, with a standard base width and edge lighting effects that extend from the topper to the floor. Guests at ICE London are encouraged to visit Konami stand S7-110 to explore these and more new releases.


Play’n GO


Server-based Gaming Platform OMNY



ew slot titles, multi-game mixes, jackpots, ETGs, systems, and media technologies are among the many products on show at NOVOMATIC’s stand at ICE 2019. On the giant stand covering the South Hall between entrances S6 – S7, visitors will be taken on a captivating journey through the World of NOVOMATIC. New on the casino side will be firstclass slot titles from NOVOMATIC’s game studios around the world, presented on the latest cabinet technology, featuring the PANTHERA and V.I.P. cabinet series. The latest Ainsworth product lineup will display a wide range of single games and multi-game mixes on the A600, A600ST and A640 cabinets. A strong interactive showcase will be spearheaded by Greentube, with new slot games and interactive gaming solutions, including the highlight launch of The Great Gambini’s Night Magic. ETGs will also play a major role, with a NOVO LINE Novo Unity II environment featuring live, automated

and virtual games, as well as LOTUS Roulette II Pro Black Edition that connects to a multitude of cabinets. A new presentation of the myACP casino management system will be demonstrated by Octavian and the Plurius system from Greentube will show device-change capabilities across land-based, online and mobile. Otium will also highlight new video bingo concepts and themes. Sports betting is catered for with NovoPrime Sports, developed in partnership with Sportradar, and another solution with Kambi will be presented, as well as retail and online products of Admiral Sportwetten and Millennium. For the UK market, products covering casino, arcade and pub sectors will be unveiled, and for Germany, LÖWEN Entertainment will showcase new cabinet and software innovations. AWP solutions for the Spanish arcade segment will be presented by NOVOMATIC Spain and GiGames, and NOVOMATIC Netherlands will showcase products for the AWP market.

ward-winning slots supplier Play’n GO will be showcasing their full portfolio of games along with its platforms and solutions at this year’s edition of ICE. The mobile gaming specialists have become wellknown throughout the industry for the success of their games, winning numerous awards for their games and development last year, and a selection of their innovative slots will be available to try at the stand. However, Play’n GO are not just innovating their games, and a selection of their other products will be on display too. Their pioneering Server-Based Gaming platform OMNY will also be present on the stand. The platform has the ability to transfer game progress across any land-based or digital device (including mobile), giving access to their portfolio across a multitude of channels, ensuring seamless gaming from the perspective of players and operators alike. They will also be exhibiting their scalable Casino Platform and their Games Management Toolkit, which provides administrative and promotional tools to help operators configure and customize their players’ gaming experience. Play’n GO CEO Johan Törnqvist gave his thoughts on this year’s event: “This year’s stand will be our strongest, and best, ever at ICE. Following the successes of 2018, we are determined to continue to build and move forward throughout this year and beyond. “I’m looking forward to the event and, for anyone who wants to improve their operations this year, I recommend coming to talk to one of our experienced team, so you can see exactly what Play’n GO can do.” Play’n GO will be situated at stand N3-460 during the show.

Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2019


Asia Gaming Briefings | Februay 2019


PHIL-ASIAN GAMING EXPO SETS TO RE-INVENT iGAMING EXHIBITION IN ASIA Philippines has come to be recognized as the world’s most favourable jurisdictions for licensing and regulation of iGaming and the industry in the country is expected to grow substantially in the near future. Phil-Asian Gaming Expo (PAGE), with the support of Philippines Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) is launching an iGaming trade show to serve as a transparent platform to influence and guide the industry. This gaming expo will take place at the SMX Convention Center Manila from July 12th to 14th, 2019. PAGE expecting to welcome more than 30,000 professional visitors, 500 VIPs and 100 exhibitors from worldwide, with a show size of 20,000 square meters. The exhibitors who have already came on board are some of the biggest names in the industry such as PlayTech, SunBet, Oriental Gaming, Habanero, iSoftBet, Pragmatic, InPlayMatrix, SA Gaming, Rolling Bet and etc. “We are very excited for this event as we wish to re-invent the iGaming industries to become more transparent and subsequently adhere to rules and regulations and undergoing proper procedures. “, the organizer of PAGE said in the press release. PAGE also stated that it aims to become the hub of Asia’s entertainment industry with a dedication to build a credible, trustworthy and fair platform to ultimately form a better, more self-confident and disciplined industry. “PAGE is fully-equipped with top-of-the-line and most comprehensive security system. It strictly controls the quality of audience, ensuring a genuine, secure and trustworthy environment for business communications.”, asserted by the organizer. Exhibitors have the opportunities to showcase their diverse and latest technology offerings in the gaming industry including software, games, solutions, platforms, payment and other peripheral products; while it also serves as a one-stop learning center where visitors can find new business connections, trending products and solutions for their business. About Phil-Gaming Expo: Phil-Gaming Expo is the first government-sponsored and accredited industry exhibition in the Philippines. It is committed to building a credible and fair platform to influence and guide the industry through the exhibition. For more information, please visit: Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2019





Blaze Craps

CSJOHNHUXLEY will be showcasing some new and exciting innovations in addition to its world-renowned core products at ICE 2019. ICE sees the European debut of Blaze Craps which joins other Blaze products on show - Roulette and Money Wheel. Like all products in the suite, Blaze Craps features eye-catching energy-efficient LED lights fitted below the surface of the gaming table which display unique ‘attract sequences’ and custom-themed animations, while also highlighting winning numbers. First launched at G2E in October, it has proved very popular with US operators and is expected to create similar interest in Europe. Not seen as often in this region as it can be difficult for novice players to grasp, Blaze Craps addresses these issues by highlighting winning numbers and light sequences to confirm various stages of the game making it quick and easy for players to understand and for dealers and security staff to monitor the game. A full range of TCSJOHNHUXLEY number displays will be on show highlighting the new Ora display portfolio. The impressive Ora Grande features sleek curved lines incorporating a large 32-inch screen which provides excellent visibility from multiple angles right across the gaming floor. Slimline LED’s border the frame profile to provide eye-catching attract modes

ad:s sports marketing

that can cycle through multiple color changes or can be integrated to display software to reflect key stages of the game. Alongside this will be the striking Ora Glo with LED’s that surround the entire display frame that can cycle up to 12 different colors to identify trends or display attract modes and the Ora Luxe which offers visually stunning frames incorporating laser cut designs with inset LEDs. Available in various sizes and suitable for all game types, there’s a display for every operator’s requirement. TCSJOHNHUXLEY also introduces the next generation Chipper Champ Pro. This latest model has been developed to incorporate all the key attributes of the Chipper Champ 2, but packs a punch with even greater security and operational features that bring unbeatable benefits to the casino. Also on show will be our world-renowned Roulette wheel range featuring stunning designs, from unique veneers to vibrant eye-catching finishes, all exquisitely crafted with unbeatable security, durability and reliability built into every component. To see these new offerings and the full TCSJOHNHUXLEY product portfolio visit stand S6-250.

Real Time Gaming Asia

Knowing your players


t ICE 2019, RTG Asia will be showing a range of games to excite and engage the wide range of players you have--and those you want to attract. Players who want games they’ve seen on Macau’s casino floor will recognize Plentiful Treasure, with four easy to win instant jackpots. This game has surprisingly caught on as well in the West and has quickly become one of RTG players’ favorite worldwide. There are players who prefer a simple low volatility game, such as Dragon’s Orb. This game pays as you play, which keeps players engaged on the site. Others prefer the roller coaster ride of a high volatility slot, such as Wu Zetian, a game as volatile as this first, and last, empress of China herself.

Asia Gaming Briefings | Februay 2019

Then there are players seeking a new experience, especially in Asia’s young “restless generation.” To attract them, we change the notion of same old same slots and created Cubee, a level up Time Travel adventure and one of the most unusual games on the market today. And, coming soon, we’re immortalizing a popular social media web J, the beautiful and sexy Sprite, in her own Mermaid’s Treasure game. Only RTG Asia gives you this variety of options, this control of your players’ experience, to align with your acquisition and retention strategy. And a new Next Generation Backend to simplify the games’ configuration. Come to ICE booth N6-211 and see their new games, new backend, and new features.

portradar, a global provider of sports data intelligence, has added even more to their 360 degree betting portfolio with the launch of a new full-service marketing platform for sports betting operators, ad:s. With the global gaming industry experiencing tremendous growth, ad:s offers bookmakers datadriven marketing solutions that will differentiate themselves from the competition. ad:s helps bookmakers eliminate waste and streamline their business with targeted spend on verifiable prospects that produce measurable results. It is embedded across Sportradar’s media products, which further target desirable customers for bookmakers. Sportradar is uniquely positioned to provide this service as it has built a business on providing fast, reliable and measurable data. This paired with its broad sales network and vast infrastructure allows ad:s to further optimize bookmakers’ marketing spend. The range of marketing services includes sponsorship consulting, SEO and SEA marketing, UI/UX consulting, digital traffic networks, programmatic advertising, pop-under ad networks, ad products and affiliate marketing. In addition to the comprehensive and unique network of over 500 sports rights holders and its own developed DSP for programmatic advertising and other services offered, Sportradar has recently partnered up with some of the biggest and most important digital traffic sources for bookmakers which include, Sofascore and Besoccer. While sports betting operators are the primary target, ad:s also will partner with non-betting related brands that are looking for exposure into the sports enthusiast market. ad:s is led by Rainer Geier who has worked in the betting and media industries for the last 18 years and has established a team of experienced and proven ad tech and ad products experts. ad:s is part of Sportradar´s global Sports Media Strategy led by Felix Geyr whose career spans more than 20 years in the technology & mobile industries. “Being the unequivocal leader in this industry, ad:s is a natural and necessary evolution of our global sports betting business that will help bring more customers to market for bookmakers, said Geyr. “ad:s works across all channels, but we are particularly excited by the proposition in digital where the pre-game, in-game and post-game opportunities allow us to develop really exciting and tailored offerings for any and every sports betting operator, no matter their size or environment .” Find out more from Sportradar at stand S1-150.



Elevating ODDS.GG

Introducing Dr Fortuno



ltraPlay will present its advanced betting solutions and innovative products at ICE. Following its leadership in eSports, UltraPlay will be the first to offer two new eSports titles to its broad portfolio. One of them Madden NFL 19, which is expected to gather great interest from bettors, will be covered with pre-match odds and offered through the company’s multiple-award winning eSports product ODDS.GG. “Following our strong business performance last year which was further enlightened by the industry’s awards we collected for our eSports leadership, we continue to strengthen our positions and expand our offerings in the right direction. We start the year with another elevation of ODDS.GG, which will be presented at the upcoming ICE London show.”, said the company’s CEO, Mario Ovcharov. Besides UltraPlay’s elevated eSports betting product ODDS.GG, the company’s all-in-one betting solution will also be presented. Advanced iGaming platform – UltraPlay’s advanced iGaming platform is well-established on the global gaming market, providing turn-key solutions for the online gaming operators. White Label – The company completely customizes the look and feel of your website, and provides you with customer support, payment processing and gambling license. Sports betting solutions – UltraPlay covers 50+ sports, 30, 000+ live events a month and 2000+ betting markets. Find Ultraplay at the company’s booth #S1-110.


A sure bet


itro is coming to ICE 2019 with a larger booth than ever before. “Our expansion plans are materializing well above expectations as we have entered into more markets this year than any other year before,” says Johnny Viveiros Ortiz, founder of Zitro. “Priority for us is therefore to keep investing in R&D and further deepen our various product lines. Visitors at ICE will see first-hand how choosing Zitro products for their operations will secure their investment. Zitro is now, more than ever before, a sure bet!” Johnny adds proudly. This year, Zitro will be showcasing a complete and deep range of products, for all kind of players. On top of that, the company offers flexible commercial models to operators. Within the BRYKE Video Slot product range, the world’s best slot product of the moment ‘Link King’ will take center stage of Zitro’s booth.

ggdrasil, the innovative game supplier, has unveiled its flagship 2019 slot at ICE 2019, Dr Fortuno, featuring the titular character, a charismatic leader of a travelling freak show who ventures to lands far and wide inviting players to spend a few pennies to enter his secretive and rewarding world. Nicknamed the ‘King in Yellow’ and often heard whispering his catchphrase, “By the pricking one of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes!”, the mysterious Doctor, together with his troupe of societies strangest souls, allows players to enter his realm of dreams and curiosities to experience things beyond the comprehension of imagination. Dr Fortuno is a stunning 5x3 slot featuring a new must-drop jackpot functionality that gives players the chance to win huge sums across a host of games. What is more, every win on the nudging Wilds triggers the ‘Wheel of Fortuno’, meaning the more Wilds a player has, the more spins he/she gets. If players manage to land a minimum of three bonus symbols, they are transported to Dr Fortuno’s thrilling Free Spins round. Each round of free spins begins with a raffle where players draw several features based on the number of bonus symbols landed

Link Me, also a multigame LAP bank with a panoramic sign will also be displayed. Within the same product line ‘Link Shock’ will make its global debut. This high energy multigame progressive Link promises to keep players electrified with its mystery shock feature. Another premiere will make Hit Me up 2! After the successful presentation of Hit Me Up! At G2E Las Vegas, this second version has also the exciting 6-level mystery progressive meter, however, the math of the game is conceived to attract high stake gamblers that like to win high. On the booth will also be on display classic standalone multigames such as Pick & Win, Hot Deal, Spin Hit and Smart Spins, and the multigame LAP banks such as Blazing Pearls and Guns & Gold. As the world leader in Video Bingo, Zitro is once again bringing a new twist to video bingo with its super-hot Power Bingo Link, a linked Video Bingo LAP with a 4-level progressive jackpot and innovative game mechanics that differentiate it from the traditional Video

making every round unique. Yggdrasil Head of Slots, Jonas Strandman, said: “Players and our clients will love this highly original production with its thrill-aminute action taking you to places you’ve never been before and presenting players with some incredible features including our massive daily jackpots.” Visit Yggdrasil at stand N3-140 at ICE 2019.

Bingo games, without losing the essence of what players look for in this category. Zitro will also showcase it’s updated Video Bingo games library that includes thrilling titles such as Fireworks, Lucky Children and Maximus, with impressive and unique Bonus features. Zitro Interactive will have its very special place at Zitro’s booth showing for the first time in public its totally new freemium application ‘Let’s Winup!’ that includes Brykes best-performing video slot games and Zitro’s leading Video Bingo games in one single social Casino. For online casino operators, Zitro Interactive will show its full range of Bryke online slots as well as the proven Video Bingo games. “Zitro is the undisputed world leader in Video Bingo, and now, with the deeply diversified and proven Bryke Video Slot product lines, that are outperforming some of the world best slots, a true global leader of the gaming industry and a sure bet for any casino operator in the world.” finalizes Sebastián Salat, CEO of Zitro. Zitro will be at stand N6-160 at ICE 2019.

Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2019

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Asia Gaming Briefings | February 2019


Dark clouds of concession Sharon Singleton

Managing Editor, AGB

Although Japan appears to be taking up a lot of time and energy on the part of global operators, Macau remains the largest gambling hub in the world.


ast year, the territory’s 41 casinos pulled be the responsibility of whoever is elected to replace in MOP302.85 billion ($37.4 billion), a 14 him to decide on future of the concessions. This feels like kicking the can down the road. percent increase on the prior year. Gross Lawyers have pointed out that the matter is not gambling revenue growth is again slowing in tandem with a slowdown in the Mainland economy, as easy as simply renewing existing contracts and with some analysts predicting the market will shrink effectively, under the law, it will be a re-tendering again in 2019. However, longer term most express process. That raises the question as to whether the confidence in the strength and potential of the market government would open the market further to allow more operators. as it improves its reach into China. Given its stated aim to diversify the economy That said, there is a major wild card facing Macau’s six operators and one which the government doesn’t that seems unlikely, though some local parties have seem to be in any hurry to tackle. The first of the been vocal in calling for a chance to participate in concessions and one sub-concession are now due to Macau’s gambling largesse. It’s also hard to imagine the government failing expire in little over a year and to date there is no clarity to award a new license to the as to how, or if, those licenses current concessionaires who will be renewed or extended. have invested so heavily in SJM Holdings and MGM Markets and their properties. However, China will find themselves the geopolitical landscape has without the right to operate investors dislike changed considerably since the casinos in their properties by the uncertainty and it’s first concessions were given out end of March next year unless and some commentators have action is taken. The remaining hard to fathom why pointed to the risk of the U.S. concessions expire in 2022. the government is operators becoming pawns in Markets and investors dislike President Trump’s trade war uncertainty and it’s hard to dragging its feet with Beijing. fathom why the government on a sector that So far, the operators are is dragging its feet on a sector keeping their cool and whenever that makes up the bulk of its makes up the bulk questioned have expressed revenue. The operators, both of its revenue. optimism about their future local and U.S., have invested presence in Macau, though it billions in building Macau’s appears clear that the government glitzy resorts, transforming is prepared to make them sweat. the former sleepy Portuguese colony. So why then is Macau taking so long to provide The government had promised to provide clarity by the end of 2018 following a review of the the necessary clarity to the sector that has made it sector, but in October, Secretary for Economy and one of the richest economies in the world in terms Finance Leong Vai Tac said the government was still of gross domestic product per capita? There is a view that the government is seeking researching the impact of gaming concession renewal ways to be more specific about what it wants from on the local economy. Heading into 2019 officials have remained tight lipped its gaming operators, such as setting objectives as on their findings and how they plan to handle the issue. to how to achieve greater non-gaming revenue. It’s The most widely accepted view is that the current hard to imagine further direct gaming taxes could administration will extend the licenses of SJM and be on the table, given growing regional competition MGM for two years to bring them in line with the other and the fact Macau already has the highest rates in concessionaires and deal with the problem all at once. the region at 39 percent. However, at the end of the day, the answer is The current CEO Fernando Chui finishes his second and final term in December and then it will probably that the ultimate decisions lie with Beijing.

Asia Gaming Briefings | Februay 2019

Profile for Asia Gaming Brief

Agbriefings February 2019  

AGB brings you extensive coverage across all types of gaming, across 22 Asia jurisdictions.

Agbriefings February 2019  

AGB brings you extensive coverage across all types of gaming, across 22 Asia jurisdictions.

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