JURISDICTION UPDATES May 2016 Edition
Proxy betting snagging Macauâ€™s missing billions? p.36
Party over for junkets as new rules loom p.30
Small company thinks big in Sihanoukville p.20
Growing influence shapes global trends
G2E ASIA 2016 SPECIAL SUPPLIER REPORT p.46
Bank heist puts spotlight on AML p.06
acau’s gross gaming revenue dropped from
online gambling are coming, but we’ve seen nothing yet
more than $45 billion in 2013 to less than
so far this year. Even Thailand, whose Buddhist society has
$30 billion last year, and looks set to decline
long opposed gambling, is renewing the debate, eyeing tax
further this year, with the bulk of the losses
and tourism revenue.
from the VIP segment.
Once legislation has been introduced, there is no certainty
Although there are signs that the bottom may have been
that it will be successful or achieve its aims. Certainly that
reached and that things are stabilizing, it does not look like the VIP market in Macau will rebound to its former heights. The question then becomes: Where are those missing billions going? There is no doubt that some former VIP gamblers to Macau have pulled in the reins and are keeping quiet to avoid Beijing’s wrath concerning all things lavish, corrupt and inappropriate. However there is also evidence that the high rollers are still playing, just in other markets, such as the Philippines, Cambodia, Australia and even Saipan, and via other platforms including proxy betting, despite shaky regulation. Our focus articles in this edition shed some light on the
is the feeling in Russia, where a new centralized payment
system is accused of being overly complicated. Meanwhile, in established jurisdictions such as Singapore, which has just renewed the licenses of its two incumbent casino operators, we take a look at who’s winning out in that market. Despite several knock-backs from investors, South Korea’s casino industry seems to be maintaining interest among global operators and there are hopes for a tourism recovery. Australia’s online operators were dealt a blow this
week when the government failed to repeal its ban on in-play betting, but the country is having a boom in
winners from Macau’s fallout and how markets as far afield
the construction of integrated resorts, again eyeing the
as the UK and Africa are reaping the benefits.
lucrative Chinese market.
All, however, are struggling with increased attention by
AGB is looking forward to this year’s G2E Asia, which is
governments and regulators on anti-money laundering.
celebrating its 10th anniversary. Aside from the ever-
Following the ongoing hearings in the Manila state senate,
expanding show floor and world-class conference, the
the Philippine AntiMoney Laundering Council (AMLC)
event this year will celebrate achievements in the region’s
acknowledged there were “gaping holes” in current AML
gaming industry at the Asia Gaming Awards. The winners
law and that “more teeth need to be added”.
in ten categories will be announced at the award ceremony
Casino operators are going to be forced to develop and
and gala dinner on the first evening of G2E Asia, Tuesday 17
implement systems and controls that allow them to
May at the Venetian Macau.
accurately identify customers, as well as where the money
We can’t wait to see who wins. Can you?!
they use to gamble comes from. For many licensed and regulated casinos this is simply the cost of doing business. Operators are in favor of regulation generally, and need
to plan for when regulations do come in place. Our
Asia Gaming Brief
Asia Gaming Brief
jurisdiction updates give you the latest on the regulatory and competitive situations in those markets. Several, such
On behalf of Asia Gaming Brief
as Malaysia, Vietnam and Cambodia, have announced that
Rosalind Wade & Luis Pereira
changes to their regulations governing both casinos and
www.agbrief.com MAY 2016 EDITION SERIES II • ISSUE XIII
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Asia Gaming Briefings | May 2016
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SUPPLIER SPECIAL REPORT
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Time to get tough
Were it not for a simple spelling mistake on an online bank transfer instruction, cyber criminals would have made off with more than $1 billion from the Bangladesh Bank in February. Asia Gaming Briefings | May 2016
SOUTH EAST ASIA
he attempted raid left many scratching their heads as to how in this day and age, with all the anti-fraud checks banks should have in place, such an audacious heist was even thought possible. And while the misspelling of “foundation” as “fandation” was enough to prompt the bank to halt the transfer, the unknown criminals still walked away with $80 million. Had the spelling mistake not occurred, they would have taken the full amount. Just days after the raid was confirmed by officials, it came to light that most of the proceeds had been moved into bank accounts held with the Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation in the Philippines. The cash was then laundered through a junket operator and two casinos, raising concerns over the country’s banking infrastructure and anti-money laundering (AML) protocols, and particularly how they relate to casino operators. Following the heist, a number of organizations have called for change. The Philippine Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) acknowledged there were “gaping holes” in current AML law and that “more teeth need to be added”, while the head of the country’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Teresita Herbosa, said they need to “catch up” with the criminals and launderers. World Bank economist Rogier van den Brink also said the “loopholes must be closed” and casinos included in AML law. For reasons unknown AML laws were first implemented in the Philippines back in 2001, but for reasons unknown, it was extended to gambling operators. Flaws in the country’s AML laws were first highlighted in a World Bank Mutual Evaluation Report, published in 2009, which found there to be “no effective regulation and supervision of casinos” raising “significant concerns” given the size of the country’s gambling industry. Then, in 2013, a third opportunity passed by after global AML watchdog the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) asked lawmakers to bolster protocols in return for being removed from its “grey list”. They refused. This begs the questions why, despite having more than their fair share of warnings, has the government failed to act. An honest answer is unlikely to be forthcoming from lawmakers, but the most prevalent theory is that they were, and remain, concerned about what impact tighter regulation could have on the country’s gambling industry, which is on track to generate revenues of $6 billion per year by 2018. One gambling
expert, who wishes to remain anonymous, says the fear of placing hurdles in the way of the junkets and VIP gamblers is exactly why casinos have remained exempt to date. “The government knows what is going on, and that amending AML laws would step on people’s toes. Basic AML measures would have to include know your customer (KYC) requirements. That means junket and casino operators would have to declare the customer. This in turn would cause huge problems, particularly for the junkets as a lot of their trade is, and always will be, people who should not be gambling. People like government officials and, in this case, criminals.”
THE PHILIPPINE ANTI-MONEY LAUNDERING COUNCIL (AMLC) ACKNOWLEDGED THERE WERE ‘GAPING HOLES’ IN CURRENT AML LAW AND THAT ‘MORE TEETH NEED TO BE ADDED’ Under the spotlight
Following the heist, the Philippine government is very much under the spotlight. And failure to act quickly and robustly could have long-term implications for the sustainability and growth trajectory of its gambling industry, let alone ongoing relationships with banks and financial institutions around the world. The likes of the AMLC and the SEC are certainly making all the right noises, but with a clear plan of action yet to surface almost two months after the raid took place, are they just blowing hot air? “Based on past performance I’m not sure there is currently a serious intention from the government to change the AML laws for casinos,” says Lorien Pilling, director of Global Betting and Gaming Consultants. “Despite concerns voiced in 2009 [in the World Bank Mutual Evaluation Report], here we are seven years later with reports still saying that casinos’ AML procedures are not sufficient and casinos are still not included under the Philippines’ AML Act,” he adds.
GROSS GAMING REVENUE Y15 PHP 130b ($2.75b)
+7% (Source: CLSA)
$5.8b (Source: Pagcor)
Belle revenue gains Belle Corp said its operating revenue increased to P5.2 billion in 2015. Total net income after tax for the year fell to P1.4 billion, down from P2.6 billion in the previous year. The company said this was “due to higher extraordinary non recurring income in 2014.”
If a change in law does come about, casino operators will be forced to develop and implement systems and controls that allow them to accurately identify customers, as well as where the money they use to gamble comes from. On its website, the FATF provides a list of international standards and core practices they believe countries should adhere to, including customer due diligence and record keeping. In other markets, such as the United Kingdom, operators are required to nominate an independent AML officer to ensure practices are being enforced. For many licensed and regulated casinos this is simply the cost of doing business, but what will it mean for operators in the Philippines? “In some markets casinos have to file a report if a customer simply places a wager above a certain amount, regardless of whether or not it is deemed suspicious,” says Pilling. “There is some cost to implement the procedures on the part of the casino and there is some administrative cost too. But several of the casino operators in Manila run casinos elsewhere in the world, so should be used to AML procedures already,” he adds. Others remain vulnerable The Bangladesh Bank heist has exposed major shortcomings in Philippine AML law, but the stolen cash could easily have been laundered through casinos in other Asian jurisdictions. Those most vulnerable include Cambodia, Vietnam, Singapore and Macau. While each
Asia Gaming Briefings | May 2016
SOUTH EAST ASIA 8
has AML laws for casino operators, they are widely considered ineffective. In Cambodia, for example, operators are required by law to report any transaction above $10,000 to the Financial Intelligence Unit. But in nearly a decade there hasn’t been a single suspicious transaction report filed by any of the country’s 75 plus casino operators. What this shows is that establishing regulations and AML protocols is only one part of the equation. For them to be effective, they have to be properly enforced. The Philippine gambling industry is overseen by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation, a government-owned operator/come regulator. This, in other regulated gaming jurisdictions around the globe, simply wouldn’t wash. So if the Philippines, and other Asian jurisdictions, are serious about building a respectable and sustainable gambling industry in line with the rest of the world, the time is now to take a tougher stance and implement change. If they don’t, they will continue to be targeted by cyber criminals and money launderers for many years to come.
SOLAIRE RESORT & CASINO Solaire is a 16-hectare gaming and integrated resort complex along Asean Avenue in Parañaque City owned by Bloomberry Resorts. Bay Tower of Solaire consists of a casino with an aggregate gaming floor area of approximately 18,500 square meters (including approximately 6,000 square meters of exclusive VIP gaming areas), with approximately 1,400 slot machines, 295 gaming tables and 88 electronic table games. Bay Tower has 488 hotel rooms and 15 specialty restaurants. Contiguous to the existing Solaire Resort and Casino, the Sky tower consists of a 312 all-suite hotel, additional ten VIP gaming salons with 66 gaming tables and 223 slot machines. It also includes a certified 1,760-seat lyric theatre.
Jackpot for Solaire player Solaire Resort & Casino presented a mega-sized prize cheque of over US$781,000 to a player who won the Da Fu Da Gui, progressive jackpot on Mar. 11, 2016. This is the first player in the world who has won the Grand Jackpot plus the Double Luck jackpot since Da Fu Da Gui, the 4 level progressive link by Scientific Games, was introduced in Asia in 2015.
Asia Gaming Briefings | May 2016
For 2015, Bloomberry Resorts posted a consolidated net loss of P3.4 billion ($73.2 million) compared to net profit of P4.1 billion in 2014. Revenue grew 7 percent to P34.4 billion, compared to P32.1 billion in 2014. Total expenses increased 51 percent from P17.6 billion to P26.7 billion, partly due to bad debt provisions and start-up costs.
CITY OF DREAMS The $1.3 billion City of Dreams Manila is owned by Belle Corp and Melco Crown Entertainment’s local unit. The grand opening was held Feb. 2 last year. Melco Crown (Philippines) incurred net losses of P9.1 billion ($259 million) for the year, widening by 45 percent compared to P6.3 billion in 2014. Casino revenues grew to P11.9 billion from P300 million, whilst net operating revenue rose to P13.7 billion from P430 million. Pagcor has approved the operation by City of Dreams Manila of up to a maximum of approximately 380 gaming tables, 1,700 slot machines and 1,700 electronic table games. As of December 31, 2015, City of Dreams Manila had 261 gaming tables, 1,579 slot machines and 83 electronic table games in operation. 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. It includes an approximately 260 room Crown Towers hotel, Hyatt City of Dreams Manila, a 365 room hotel managed by Hyatt International Corporation and Asia’s first Nobu Hotel with 321 rooms.
RESORTS WORLD MANILA Travellers International Hotel Group, a joint venture between Genting Hong Kong and Alliance, invested PHP 2.05 billion in 2015 Q3 to expand Resorts World Manila. The second phase of the property, which includes the expansion of the Marriott Hotel Manila by an additional 227 rooms, was due to be ready by 2016 Q1. The expansion will cover a two-hectare area currently used as a carpark. This will include a four-star international branded hotel offering 1,000 rooms, sitting atop a full-service shopping mall that will link Resorts World Manila to Terminal 3 of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport. The company has delayed the opening of a second Manila resort, the $1.1-billion Resorts World Bayshore along Manila Bay to 2018. Pagcor has approved new gaming capacity of 420 gaming tables and 4,148 gaming machines at the resort. At end-2013, Resorts World Manila housed 287 gaming tables for the VIP and mass markets, 1,822 slot machines and 210 electronic table games. Travellers reported a decline in net profit to P4 billion in 2015 from P5.4 billion in 2014. Gaming revenue fell to P24.2 billion compared to P28.4 billion in the year before, with the mass segment down by 2.7 percent and VIP contracting by 31.7 percent.
MANILA BAY RESORTS Tiger Resorts and Entertainment, the Philippine unit of Japan’s Universal Entertainment, is now scheduled to finish its Manila Bay Resorts project by December 2016, more than a year later than originally planned. The company has said it may invest as much as $4 billion. It plans to raise $600 million through a bond sale to help finance the complex. Once fully operational, Manila Bay Resorts would feature two luxury hotels, a 30,000-squaremeter casino floor with 3,000 slot machines and 500 table games, as well as a number of dining, leisure, and entertainment options. It will include an indoor man-made beach club covered by a huge glass dome, high-end and casual dining restaurants, upscale retail shops, trade halls and cinemas. The group recently overcame a key regulatory hurdle by teaming with local businessman Antonio O. Cojuangco and his All Seasons Hotels & Resorts Corp. to comply with Philippine regulations on foreign land ownership.
SOUTH EAST ASIA 9
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Stiff penalties on the cards for online gambling Malaysia may follow in the footsteps of its southern neighbor Singapore in introducing tougher penalties for those involved in online gambling.
eputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi told reporters recently that he plans to set up a parliamentary caucus to deal with illegal gambling. The aim is to overhaul the country’s antiquated Open Gaming House Act 1953, which was last revised last in 1983, long before the advent of the internet. “There is a need for amendments on the existing laws or new Acts that provide heavier penalties, both preventive and punitive,” Zahid was cited as saying in a speech. He said the government would also seek the cooperation of Interpol and other enforcement agencies outside the Asean region as the problem was being faced due to the servers to online illegal gambling being outside the country. In Malaysia, gambling is only legal through the country’s sole land-based gambling operator, Genting Malaysia, and through licensed lottery operators, such as Magnum Bhd and Berjaya Sports Toto. Online gambling is illegal. However, as in much of the rest of Asia, the black market is booming, fueled by increasing access to the internet and mobile services. Getting tough The government has been consistently cracking down on illegal operations. As of February, the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission had blocked a total of 399 websites, that were found to have “misused” the internet.
Asia Gaming Briefings | May 2016
Many were involved in online gambling, though they also included sites considered to be linked to lewd material and prostitution. Despite the crackdown, Malaysia Crime Prevention Foundation Vice-President Lee Lam Thye said part of the proliferation of illegal gambling was due to weak enforcement and urged authorities to step up their action. “The introduction of online gambling has drawn in the youth, especially teenagers, into gambling, which leads to various societal ills,” he told local media. Singapore’s draconian Remote Gambling Act (2014) came into effect on Feb. 2 last year and criminalized the entire spectrum of remote gambling activities. The restrictions were extremely broad and included the unprecedented steps of allowing government agencies to geo- block websites, stop bank payments and even issue extradition orders to offshore parties. Introduction of the rules disappointed many in the industry, which had hoped that a review of online gambling activities may have lead to an attempt to introduce proper legislation.
GROSS GAMING REVENUE Genting Malaysia Y15 revenue $2.15m Malaysia hospitality revenue $1.42b Magnum Y15 gaming sales
RM2.76b ($705m) Berjaya Sports Toto Y15 revenue $1.35b
Lost revenue Malaysia is losing about RM3 billion ($777 million) in tax revenue a year from illegal 4-digit betting, according to local media reports. “The revenue of the legal market is about RM9 billion, with payment of RM2 billion in taxes, but the illegal sector is generally known to be about 1.5 times larger,” the reports cited an unnamed industry executive as saying.
U.S. expansion Meanwhile, operator Genting Malaysia has continued its push into the U.S. The company recently said it has been appointed as manager of the 900-room First Light Resort & Casino in Taunton, Massachusetts. The seven-year appointment is currently pending approval from the National Indian Gaming Commission. The resort is currently under construction and is expected to commence operations in mid-2017. It features hotels, 10 retail shopping destinations, and a 150,000 square feet casino, with 3,000 slots, 150 gaming tables and 40 poker tables. Genting does not have any equity interest in the project, but has to date invested US$249.5 million in interest bearing promissory notes issued by the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribal Gaming Authority for the initial development phase of the project.
SV plans Cambodian Macau Salient Ventures, a unit of Malaysia’s SV International, claims it is “bulk acquiring every potential development lot” in the port area in Sihanoukville, Cambodia and was “purchasing existing hotels for renovation and equipping them with gaming licences.”
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Genting Singapore debt legacy lingers Genting Singapore, whose 2015 profit plunged by 70 percent to S$193.1 million ($138 million), is expected to suffer more pain ahead as it struggles to reposition the brand and recover from prior lending policies.
ingapore’s two casinos have both been at pains to find catalysts for growth, with the highly regulated market offering little room for further expansion. However, Resorts World Sentosa appears to be slipping further behind its rival Marina Bay Sands. In December, Fitch Ratings analysts stated that the market share for Marina Bay Sands is now at about 62 percent with Genting’s Resorts World Sentosa slipping back to 38 percent. For Q4, net profit was just S$22 million, compared with S$118.0 in the comparable period. While some analysts are still recommending a buy or hold/neutral on the shares, others, such as Deutsche Bank, have recently reiterated a sell and “see more pain ahead.” We looked into the issues behind the lower revenue and income, and analyzed the numbers. Tightening credit The company attributed the drop in revenue to a decrease from the VIP gaming market and a tightening of the firm’s credit policies. The company had been aggressive in providing credit to high rollers, primarily from China, who have been sluggish in paying back their debts. With a tightening of credit, the company says it expects losses to improve. The company has increased a provision for doubtful debts to $45.3 million for Q4 and $270.7 million for the 2015 year up from $262 million in 2014 or 3.05 percent. However, the property also lacks other key elements in its business model that benefit its rival. Resorts World Sentosa has the Universal Studios, Waterpark, Dolphin Island and Galleria Luxury Fashion along with notable restaurants, which are popular tourist draws. The group reported 7 million visitors to its attractions in 2015. Unfortunately, it lags behind the Marina Bay Sands in terms of catering to conference and convention guests. Granted, there are facilities for business travelers at Resorts World such as the Hard Rock Hotel, but not to the
Asia Gaming Briefings | May 2016
extent that has been developed and applied at Marina Bay Sands. Marina Bay Sands has not only stressed sustainable ways and “green meetings” but has received positive feedback from business leaders worldwide, including Richard Branson. Its focus on exhibitions, a museum, diverse restaurants for all budgets, and varied entertainment allows them to obtain market share where there is limited competition.
RWS wins gambling debt case
A gambler with assets in Perth failed to shake off a debt of over $620,000, owed to Resorts World Sentosa (RWS), on grounds that Western Australian law does not allow gambling on credit. RWS had taken the case to Perth to recover the debt owed by Mr. Lim Soo Kok, a Malaysian who is understood to have assets in Australia, local media reports.
MBS pulls ahead MBS has easily eclipsed Resorts World by focusing on the non VIP gambler and has looked at the gambling aspect as an ancillary revenue stream. It should be noted that Resorts World Sentosa has decided to focus more on the masses going forward, with the addition of the 550 hotel rooms at Genting Hotel Jurong. One of the major factors according to msn.com and the bank CIMB is the location and the fact that Genting has no other VIP markets to depend upon, either internally or via a partnership. Overall the key for the success of Marina Bay Sands is the diversification of its properties and facilities that creates demand from both the mass market and VIP sector. In terms of revenue numbers, Q4 earnings at Marina Bay Sands were also down about 35 percent to a net profit of US$338.2 million on revenue of US$703.9 million. Yet, thanks to foreign currency fluctuations and a property tax refund, the resort’s EBITDA rose 11.8 percent. Sheldon Adelson, the Chairman and CEO of Marina Bay Sands, recently stated that over 80 percent of the operating profit in both Macau and Singapore is derived from mass gaming and non-gaming segments. He also stressed that less than 20 percent of the profit is coming from VIP gaming. J.P. Morgan, who recently upgraded the shares to neutral, stated that the valuation is expensive at 23x FY16E. The firm also stated that it needed to see sustainable improvement in credit collection and confirmation of this going forward.”
Cruise visitors to increase Cruise ship traffic through Singapore is expected to rise 8 percent in the next four years, far outpacing overall visitor arrivals, according to the Singapore Tourism Board. In 2015, there were more than 1 million cruise passenger arrivals to the city-state, while 385 ships called on Singapore’s shores.
GROSS GAMING REVENUE Y15 $4.8b
TOURISM ARRIVALS Y15 15.2m
TOURISM SPENDING Y15 $22b
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Asia Gaming Briefings | May 2016
SOUTH EAST ASIA 14
Casino debate heats up as hardline views thaw Thailand, whose conservative Buddhist society has long been opposed to gambling, has again renewed the debate over legalizing casinos as the government eyes a potential boost to tax revenue and tourism numbers.
he discussion comes amid signs the public view may be changing, with surveys pointing to growing support for legal casinos, which could generate more than $2.7 billion in annual tax revenue and boost foreign tourist arrivals by up to 50 percent, according to recent studies, backed by the Thai Excise Department. Debate has centered around whether casino gambling is acceptable and if so what models would be suitable to recapture funds lost through underground gambling and through locals travelling to neighbouring Laos and Cambodia. The latest initiative by the Thai military government, which came to power in 2014, follows open calls last year for casinos to be legalized made by key members of the
Asia Gaming Briefings | May 2016
military-backed National Reform Council (NRC). The Thai National Police chief at the time, Somyot Poompunmuang, joined the NRC members in backing the proposal. Somyot told local media that, despite police efforts “to stamp it out”, illegal gambling remained rampant. Revenue bonanza Releasing the latest research, Sungsidh Piriyarangsan, dean of Rangsit University’s College of Social Innovation, said tax revenues of more than 100 billion baht (US$2.78 billion) could be achieved if casinos were legalized in Thailand. In media comments, Sungsidh, who has earlier pressed for reform of Thailand’s
gaming legislation covering casinos, said the revenues excluded contributions from tourism and conferences. Research in 2011 by Sungsidh estimated there were more than 170 casinos operating in Bangkok, ranging from about 10 operations considered “permanent” to more than 100 mobile casinos that opened for a few days before relocating. Sungsidh estimated annual turnover in the Bangkok casinos at between $5.0 billion to $5.56 billion, with the casino owners earning profits of more than $1.05 billion a year, paying bribes of between 5 and 20 percent of turnover. His research also found that throughout Thailand there were “hundreds of thousands” of illegal gambling operations, although most were considered small.
Thailand. Visanu said the models include the Malaysian integrated resort with a single casino, or that of Singapore with two casinos as part of a resort complex. “The third model is like Macau – it’s the entertainment complex with several legal casinos,” he told AGB. “So this research will offer several solutions to society to make a decision, if the Thai government would like to have the legal casino or would like to support legal casinos, which model should be suitable for Thailand,” he said. Efforts to legalize gambling have faced strong opposition in this largely Buddhist country. Although illegal gambling is rife, the only legal options open to locals are through horse racing and the government lottery. In the past, surveys have indicated that a majority of the population, up to 55 percent, were against casinos, with only 35 percent in favour of legalization. However, more recent research shows that stance may be softening. Academic Krisada Phornprapha, said there was now a majority of Thais backing the legalization of casinos to enable the government to earn revenue as well to boost tourism income. The study put national turnover from illegal casinos at between $17.78 billion and $22.78 billion. Historically spending by Thai casino gamers overseas has been estimated at more than $600 million. Singapore model? Visanu Vongsinsirikul, an economics lecturer at the Bangkok-based Dhurakij Pundit University, says the research concluded that three casino and resort models, already operating in Asia, could be adopted by
The Government Lottery Office is mulling a screening system to weed out retailers who sell their tickets in lump sum to other retailers at a profit. Local media cited GLO director Lt-Col Noon Sunsanakhom as saying it would take between 6-12 months for the system to come into effect. He said the office was aware of about 100 “fake” retailers.
Tourism eyes record Thailand’s tourist arrivals in 2015 were just under 30 million, with officials predicting an increase of about 7 percent in 2016 to record levels. The majority of the visitors are from China. The government is targeting revenue from tourism of 2.3 trillion baht ($61.02 billion) in 2016, up from 2.21 trillion baht in 2015. To alleviate concerns, Sungsidh said Thailand should model its legislation on that of Singapore, which is highly regulated and levies a fee on locals entering casinos. The market is likely to prove attractive
GROSS GAMING REVENUE Tourism arrivals Y15 29.9m
OFFICIAL LOTTERY THB 20b ($625m) GOVT. TARGET FOR REFORMED LOTTERY THB 44b UNDERGROUND LOTTERY THB 102b (Source: Chulalongkorn University)
ESTIMATED CASINO TAX REVENUE 100 BILLION BAHT ($2.78 BILLION) (Source: Rangsit University)
to major foreign investors. Las Vegas Sands has made several attempts to enter the market. In 2015, LVS Chairman Sheldon Adelson and Marina Bay Sands President and CEO George Tanasijevich, held talks on a proposed resort in Bangkok. The group offered to spend up to $6.0 billion on a 450 room entertainment and casino complex to be built on land owned by the Finance Ministry and the State Railways Authority of Thailand. Thai governments have looked for several means to tap into the massive turnovers from the illegal casinos and underground betting. The latest steps mark a fresh effort to draw the income from the casinos into the government’s coffers.
Illegal casino bust
Thai police recently raided an illegal casino near Thailand’s border with Malaysia, that was reportedly catering for more than 1,000 customers a week, some making bets of more than $2,500. Ten rooms at a hotel had been modified to allow organized gambling.
Asia Gaming Briefings | May 2016
Bookmakers entangled in web regulation Russian bookmakers continue to struggle with a tangled web of regulations aimed at controlling the online market, with a new centralized online payments hub coming under fire for being overly complicated.
ndustry participants gathering at the recent Betting Trends Forum, on March 17 in Moscow, said they were having a hard time with the so-called TSUPIS system, which was mandated by the government to track payments and ensure the collection of tax revenue. A proposal for bookmakers to pay 5 percent of revenue to support Russian sports teams and a mooted plan to introduce instant lottery terminals across Russia also raised consternation. The TSUPIS system is mandatory for all deposits and withdrawals at nationally licensed online gaming sites and works something like Skrill or NETELLER. “All the problems with the collection of personal data and personal income tax, etc, will, unfortunately, lead to the self-discreditation of TSUPIS under the SRO control and then to its transfer under the state control,” Nikolay Oganezov, chairman of the Bookmaker’s SelfRegulatory Organisation told the conference. “Especially when the [the authorities] will understand that one can get profit from a top up fee. And bookmakers will have to accept this decision as given.” TSUPIS was first introduced in federal law 222, which regulates online sports betting and came into force on August 22, 2014. Its two main functions are accepting and tracking payments from individuals and their subsequent transfer to bookmakers, as well the identification of online gamblers. According to the law, Russia’s two SROs may have their own TSUPIS platforms under a license from the Russian Central Bank. There are currently two major SROs - the one led by Oganezov and First SRO, which headed by Oleg Zhuravskiy, who did not participate in the forum. Delays and disagreements However, the rollout of the TSUPIS system has been delayed due to disagreements between the two rivals and concerns that some bookmakers would face higher transaction fees than others. The first test of this system was carried out in December 2015 and the launch of the first TSUPIS took place two months later. The registration process requires a client to first open an account with the betting site, then open an account with TSUPIS. Gamblers then need to show up at betting shops with their passports for the final identification step. According to lawyer Mariya Lepshchikova, under the Russian law only national bookmaking license holders are permitted to accept online bets. Bookmakers are required to store all
NORTH ASIA 17
information on e-bets and wins on Russian territory and thoroughly check players, including monitoring the terrorist lists. A foreign company wanting to access a database with players’ personal information is required to have a Russian intermediary, which will request agreement from its customers to share the data. The obligatory membership in SROs for bookmakers was stipulated by the same federal law 222 for better control and accountability of their activities. A bookmaker needs to join an SRO 30 days after obtaining a license for activities. Zhuravskiy’s organization launched its TSUPIS system on February 15, whereas the Bookmaker’s SRO postponed its version due to the addition of new members. Earlier Oganezov said that he wanted to analyze mistakes made by the First SRO.
GROSS GAMING REVENUE Y20E $1.7b
TOURISM PRIMORYE REGION Y15 +60% TIGRE DE CRISTAL ROLLING CHIP TURNOVER NOV HK$ 258,197 ($33,296) Dec Jan Feb
$312,277 $355,055 $382,412 (Source: Summit Ascent)
Visitors to Altai Palace increase
In February several members of First SRO left in favor of the rival Bookmakers’ SRO, citing better TSUPIS conditions as one of the factors. They involve such majors as Bingo Boom and Fonbet. Zhuravskiy denied the TSUPIS launch prompted their departure, saying that a service fee for a single transaction amounted to just one percent. Taxation is also complicated. According to the Finance Ministry’s bill, a player earning less than 4,000 rubles (about $60) is exempt from taxes; on winnings between 4,000 - 15,000 rubles the player pays the tax (13 percent); but if he, or she, is lucky enough to win more than 15,000 rubles, the operator is responsible for paying the tax. In addition, if a player fails to pay the tax, the operator is required to inform financial authorities. At the conference, Oganezov also criticized his colleagues for their early endorsement of a fee of 5 percent of revenue to support Russian sports clubs and federations, which was proposed by Russia’s Sports Minister Vitaliy Mutko. In return, bookmakers were promised a relaxation of some of the stricter norms governing advertising of gambling services. Two bills that may relax the rules have recently been discussed, but it’s unclear whether either has been submitted to parliament.
The Altai Palace casino’s database of unique visitors was 6,800 at end 2015 and had risen to more than 8,000 at the beginning of April, local media reported chief manager Evgeny Kosyh as saying. This year, according to the plan, the number of visits will increase to 50,000. The owners have invested 1.1 billion roubles ($16.1 million) and they expect a return sooner than expected, after six or seven years rather than ten.
Blurring the lines Another state regulation, which is currently being considered in the Russian parliament, is also causing much concern among bookmakers. Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov has introduced some amendments to the law
Tigre de Cristal fully operational by Summer Summit Ascent says it expects its Tigre de Cristal resort in the Primorye region to be running at close to optimal levels on a rampedup basis sometime during the summer of 2016. It says it has been encouraged by the month-on-month improvements seen thus far during the winter season.
on lotteries, which some analysts believe will blur the lines between state lotteries and the gambling business. The law was also criticized by one of the main investors in the Primorye gaming zone, who claims it will permit the installation of lottery slot machines and VLTs in many establishments, removing them from the ambit of Russia’s specially designated gaming zones. Goran Miloshevski, director of gaming at Diamond Fortunes Holding, told the Vladivostok Daily News online publication that “possible amendments mean the widespread return of slot machines in the walkable catchment of every Russian.”
Asia Gaming Briefings | May 2016
NORTH ASIA 18
Down, but not out? Last year’s irrational exuberance for South Korea’s casino industry has undoubtedly muted as investors weigh the risks of a foreigner-only market, however, interest amongst the world’s casino majors remains.
n March, Las Vegas Sands managing director for Global Development, George Tanasijevich, told the Korea Times in an interview that the company would still push to build a proposed $10 billion casino resort in the country. Tanasijevich, who is also the CEO of Marina Bay Sands, said the firm will do “whatever it takes” to convince the Korean government and the people of what its resort can offer. However, so far proposals from the operator have been rejected, as Las Vegas Sands wants legal gambling for locals, a concession which has only been given to Kangwon Land. “I wouldn’t say our efforts have been thwarted. We recognized that this is a process we have to go through to educate people what the opportunity is and what we would like to do,” said Tanasijevich. “We understand this is an important decision for the Korean government and people. We are patient
FOREIGNER-ONLY GGR Y15
$1.21b $1.32b (Source: Morgan Stanley)
Y16E VIP Lottery sales Y15 KRW3.26 trillion ($2.7 billion)
and the pace of this doesn’t determine our interest level.” Las Vegas Sands’ continued interest and the level of its proposed investment reflect the potential in the market should the legislation be eased. The country has a population of just over 50 million with a Gross National Product per capita of about $27,000, according to World Bank figures. That compares with GNP per capita of about $55,150 in Singapore and $3,500 in the Philippines. Tourism recovery? Nomura in recent research said it expects the number of Chinese travellers visiting South Korea to double to 15.5 million by 2020. The increase in mainland visitation was one of the key reasons behind last year’s optimism for the market, though an outbreak of Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome
Stock market betting ring busted South Korean authorities have arrested two major players in an illegal gambling website, pulling in a total of 4.6 billion won ($3.9 million) since its opening in Oct. 2014. The National Police Agency said it arrested the CEO and website manager, who ran an illegal website which allowed members to bet on fluctuations in Korea’s composite stock price index.
Paradise Y15 casinos sales
Asia Gaming Briefings | May 2016
Headwinds persist for Paradise Q1 sales Paradise Co said casino sales fell 7.7 percent year-on-year in the first quarter of 2016 to KRW 137.2 billion ($118.9 million), compared to KRW 148.7 billion in the corresponding period in 2015. Table game sales fell 7.3 percent year on year, to KRW 128.9 billion, whilst gaming machines sales declined 14.4 percent to KRW 8.3 billion.
NORTH ASIA 19
killed tourism numbers over the key summer months, highlighting potential risks. Beijing also cracked down on the foreigneronly casinos’ direct marketing activities, which had a major impact on the VIP market. Currently, there are 17 casinos in South Korea: three in Seoul, one in Incheon, two in Kangwondo, one in Kyongju, two in Busan, and eight on Jeju Island. However, there are also a number of major projects under development and some analysts have warned of overcapacity. Without either a change in government policy to allow in locals, which is considered a very low probability, or a significant turnaround in China VIPs, there is likely to be significant oversupply in the market compared with demand, a Morgan Stanley report found. Japan’s Sega Sammy together with local operator, Paradise, are building an IR on Incheon, where the government is seeking to create an entertainment hub. Earlier this year, the government awarded a license to U.S. tribal operator Mohegan Sun and local developers to also build a resort in the area, while Hong Kong-listed Lippo had been planning a property along with Caesars Entertainment. But there is now a question mark over the Lippo/Caesars project, with Lippo actively seeking an investor to potentially buy out its part in the venture. The Hong Kong company has cited problems such as uncertainty as to whether a final license would be granted and the likely terms as the reason for its possible withdrawal. The company said even if it divests its interests in the project, the group may still consider participating in “certain developments”, but will not participate in any gaming aspect. The casino would be located near the country’s main international airport on Yeongjong island and is expected to cost around 2.3 trillion won ($2.2 billion). There is also significant development on the southern island of Jeju. In April, Lotte Tour Development Co and Greenland Group, a Chinese real estate company, said they have picked China State Construction Engineering to construct a $606.6 million, 38-story integrated resort. Construction was scheduled to start in May. Meanwhile, Landing International and Genting Singapore broke ground in February last year on their Jeju IR, which is scheduled for completion in 2019. It will begin opening in stages from 2017.
Asia Gaming Briefings | May 2016
SOUTH EAST ASIA
n a promotional video more akin to a trailer for a Hollywood blockbuster movie than the launch of a new development project, Malaysia-based SV International revealed plans to transform the sleepy coastal town of Sihanoukville, Cambodia, into the “Macau of Southeast Asia.” In the video, SV International said it would be “bulk acquiring every potential development lot” in the town’s port area, and was “purchasing existing hotels for renovation and equipping them with gaming licenses.” The firm, which was only incorporated last December and awarded a gaming license by the Council of Ministers in March, also plans to operate online gaming platforms, nightclubs, karaoke bars, massage parlors and dog racing. The grand design, according to the video, is for SV International to expand its presence across Sihanoukville and build a casino city based on the Macau model. And while the plans, and indeed the video, are impressive and eye-catching in equal measure, they have been greeted with cynicism.
“The plans are certainly ambitious,” says Lorien Pilling, director of Global Betting and Gaming Consultants. “But grand casino plans have been submitted for various jurisdictions in recent years and come to nothing. It’s probably a case of believe it when we see it. The title of “new Macau” that everywhere claims is hard to win,” he adds. Shrouded in mystery Adding fuel to the cynics’ fire is that SV International is a company shrouded in mystery. According to its website, the group was founded by Dato’ Alan Lim, who is company president. Dato’ Mynus Lee is group vice president, while Willie Chay is global marketing director. The group has six subsidiaries including GD World (online gaming and live casino) SV Mall (online auction platform) and SV Club (financial and investment management) and is based in Malaysia with its local office in Phnom Penh, where it operates under the name Salient
Ventures, still under construction. That, however, has not stopped SV International putting its Sihanoukville plans into action. The firm has already joined forces with a number of local hotels and casinos, including the Majestic Hotel and Casino, Golden Royal Hotel and Casino, and the Queenco Hotel and Casino. Under the partnerships, SV International has promised to drive hordes of visitors from Malaysia and Singapore to Sihanoukville. By working together with SV International, says Queenco general manager Aharon Gini, the town’s tourism industry has the potential to grow. “We understand that in order to revert and convert a city like Sihanoukville into a future gold mine the private sector must work and collaborate together, and make all the effort in order to push the business platform to the stage that external and future investors will be interested to come. The more investors that share our vision, development will be faster and more attractive,” he adds. Just how much SV International plans to invest in Sihanoukville remains unclear, but the general consensus is that the firm is good for the money. “SV have enough capital and power to attract big investments into their project, so long as the Cambodian government will give them the green light to enact their plans,” Gini adds. “So it’s actually like most multi-million dollar businesses, they (SV International) bring some of the capital and the rest will arrive from investors.” An attractive proposition On the face of it, Sihanoukville offers operators and investors like SV International a very attractive proposition. Indeed, Queenco’s parent company – Queenco Leisure Int. – has spent more than $40m building its hotel and casino, and acquiring premium plots of land for further development. The Chinese have also invested heavily, pumping millions of dollars into hotels and casinos. This, in turn, has seen the number of licensed casino operators double from seven to 15 in the past 12 months, with five licenses still pending. The boom has led to the number of passengers traveling through Sihanoukville Airport almost doubling in the past year, helped by Lucky Air launching year-round direct flights from Kunming, China. Other airlines offer regular routes from South Korea, Singapore and Cambodian temple town Siem Reap and Phnom Penh. And while the influx of tourists and gamblers has been a welcome boon for operators, Gini says there are growing
concerns about the the town’s infrastructure and ability to handle increasing visitor numbers. “Due to the low infrastructure and lack of collaboration and vision from the government, Sihanoukville has no capacity to give a satisfactory activity or traffic to all of the hotels and casinos in town. Casinos are always popular, but you need the surrounding infrastructure in order to attract the customer,” he adds. The government, however, says that it is not reluctant to invest in infrastructure, but does welcome investment from the private sector. “Under the leadership of founder and group chairman Dato’ Alan Lim and his team of top management members, SV International has set up a business strategy by building up a solid and diversified business development under the concept of resource integration and capital operations,” says Ros Phirun, spokesman for the Ministry of Economy and Finance. “We not only welcome investment from SV International, but every investor,” he adds. Cause for concern Other concerns are bubbling away under the surface, too. Many of the Sihanoukville casinos offer online gambling platforms that cater to Chinese punters looking to skirt the mainland’s ban on gambling. The websites are predominantly run by third parties out of hotel bedrooms during the off season – under Cambodian gambling law the sites have to use a bricks-and-mortar casino’s license. Last October, however, 168 Chinese nationals were arrested on suspicion of using an internet-based telephone system to extort money from victims back in China. The result? Chinese investors, workers and tourists fled, taking their money with them and putting a major dent in the town’s gambling industry. Queenco was hit particularly hard, with existing and future business deals collapsing, causing the operator to shut down its casino after losing hundreds of thousands of dollars. And while a small number of Chinese workers, tourists and investors are slowly returning to Sihanoukville, the majority remain spooked and reluctant to part with any more money until laws and regulations have been tightened-up. Gini says the law surrounding online gambling simply isn’t clear, but expects the government to clarify regulations and allow online operators to legally register their businesses in the future. But Gini remains far from convinced that that alone will be enough to transform Sihanoukville into a global gambling mecca.
NAGACORP Q1 GGR $153.8m
VIP rollings $2.78b
Mass table $149.8m
CASINO TAX COLLECTION Y15 $34.7m
TOURISM Tourism arrivals Y15 4,775,231 Hotel occupancy
Tourism receipts $3b
Jimei eyes Cambodia resort Junket investor Jimei International Entertainment Group Ltd has entered into a framework agreement with two firms in relation to a possible resort project in Cambodia. The property will include a hotel, golf course, theme park and other entertainment and tourism facilities. The resort is expected to be in Sihanoukville.
Naga roll continues NagaCorp is tipped for continued strong growth for 2016, though not at the pace seen in the first quarter, according to Citi analysts. The growth will continue to be fueled by junket business, as the gaming promoters divert their clients away from Macau.
“Government support and assistance will be essential for the success of this project. Without a strong international airport, firstclass infrastructure of roads and architectural masterplan for the city, combined with strong security and police presence, and of course high quality services and general hygiene, this plan (from SV International) will have no future.”
Asia Gaming Briefings | May 2016
Projects advance despite regulatory waiting game While investors continue to wait for Vietnam’s new casino legislation, projects are moving ahead amidst reports of strong growth in VIP gambling at the country’s casinos.
ast month, local investment fund VinaCapital finally broke ground on its long-delayed $4 billion integrated resort in the central Hoi An region. The project was originally a venture between VinaCapital and Genting Malaysia, but the Malaysian gaming giant pulled out in 2012. The firm has now teamed up with Hong Kong jewellry-to-real estate conglomerate Chow Tai Fook and SunCity Group, one of Macau’s largest junket operators. The first phase of the casino involves investment of $500 million. It’s scheduled for completion by 2035 and will include a 5-star resort complex and foreigner-only casino, as well as other tourism attractions, such as an
GROSS GAMING REVENUE Aristo interim EBITDA $7.79m
Normalized GGR $35.43m
Tourism arrivals Jan/March 2,459,150 March arrivals 820,480
Asia Gaming Briefings | May 2016
18-hole golf course. It is scheduled to be built in seven stages and will be Vietnam’s second-largest IR after the Ho Tram, the first phase of which opened in 2013. In a recent note, Union Gaming said it believed the project can succeed, even though the firm doesn’t believe the Vietnamese market can sustain a $4 billion resort under a foreigneronly model. As a result, Union Gaming said it expects the investment certificate to be back-end loaded in terms of the development timeline and capital commitment. It also points out that VinaCapital is a well connected local company that stands a good chance of eventually obtaining permission to allow locals to gamble if the rules are changed.
New regulation covering Vietnam’s gambling industry is still tied up in the political process. Academic and local gaming expert Augustine Ha Ton Vinh said in November last year that there was a good chance the legislation would see the light of day in the first half of this year. Though as of the time of publication, there was no indication that the rules are imminent. The bill is expected to cut the minimum investment required for a casino license to $2 billion from the $4 billion set out in earlier drafts of the rules. It is also expected to allow locals to gamble in select properties on a trial basis. Allowing locals through the doors would put the Hoi An resort in a strong position, as it’s located in an area that is popular with Vietnam’s elite, Union Gaming says. Without locals, there is still a good chance the project could generate a decent return on an investment of $500 million, it adds. Recent numbers from select casinos around Asia have shown extremely strong VIP numbers, including reports that a small casino in Danang, central Vietnam, the Crowne International Club, was generating $9 billion a quarter in rolling volume. However, the government also appears keen to ensure that any investors stick by their initial investment pledges. The groundbreaking ceremony for the Hoi An resort was attended by Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and senior officials of the government. “The government hopes that the scope of the project will correspond to the proposed total investment, in light of recent projects that failed to live up to their initial publicity. The investors have also transferred over $6 million to local authorities for site clearance and ancillary works,” the premier was cited by local media as saying at the ceremony.
Police bust illegal online ring Vietnam authorities cracked down on an online football gambling ring worth VND1.3 trillion ($58 million) in April, arresting 12 people. A total of 14 simultaneous raids were conducted on April 3, in Thanh Hoa city in Central Vietnam, seizing 20 cellphones, five computers, two firearms and about VND1 billion in cash. All those arrested admitted to running an online football gambling ring.
Success Dragon bets on Danang Hong Kong-listed Success Dragon International Holdings has agreed to buy a stake in a 5-star hotel located in Danang, Vietnam for U$14.1 million. Success Dragon will hold a 45 percent equity interest in the One Opera Danang Hotel, which will also include the electronic gaming machine club operated within the hotel.
Asia Gaming Briefings | May 2016
Room for growth despite building boom
Australia is still seen as having room for growth, despite the planned boom in new multi-billion dollar integrated resorts, as Chinese tourism numbers increase.
Asia Gaming Briefings | May 2016
s much as A$15 billion ($11.4 billion) is being spent on the construction of new IRs and to expand existing facilities, with a total of 12 casinos expected to be expanded or constructed in the next few years. The success of these resorts is going to depend in large part on the ability to attract mainland tourists. “China is Australia’s most valuable tourism market. More than a million Chinese visited Australia last year and contributed A$8.3 billion to our economy,” Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was cited as saying on a recent trip to Shanghai. To encourage further growth, the government is planning a trial easing of visa restrictions for Chinese travellers. Casino mogul James Packer and other business leaders have long complained that Australia’s complex visa process had been putting the country at a disadvantage to other jurisdictions. Now, the government plans to trial a system that will allow online applications and also applications in Chinese. Raking in the chips Figures from Australia’s existing casinos are already showing a benefit from increased Chinese visitor growth, with research suggesting that the majority of Chinese tourists will visit a casino at least once when they travel overseas. According to CLSA, Australia’s casinos are now getting about 50 percent of their VIP revenue from China, though the Chinese proportion of the mass and premium mass market is harder to ascertain. The firm says it has in the past estimated that 5 percent to 10 percent of the mass revenue comes from China, though recent strong growth in mass market revenue in the high-single to double-digit range, against a backdrop of sluggish local retail sales, suggests that mix could be a lot higher. Still, the number and scope of the new
projects on the table has raised concern that the market will not be able to support the growth. Dr. Deborah Edwards, an associate professor at the University of Technology Sydney and Australian tourism sector expert disagrees. “I don’t think we’ve hit any sort of maximum capacity, indeed, hotel stocks in Australia are somewhat low and we have a new international convention center, the ICC is coming online at the end of this year,” she told a trade newspaper recently. “That will be hosting some very large conventions, and we’re going to need a fair bit of hotel stock to meet the growing demand for both business and leisure travel.”
TOTAL GAMBLING EXPENDITURE All gambling Y13/14 A$21.15b Sports betting $625.95m
Total gaming (including pokies and lottery) $17.74b Casinos $4.38b
+6.5% (Source: Queensland Treasury)
‘CHINA IS AUSTRALIA’S MOST VALUABLE TOURISM MARKET. MORE THAN A MILLION CHINESE VISITED AUSTRALIA LAST YEAR AND CONTRIBUTED A$8.3 BILLION TO OUR ECONOMY,” PRIME MINISTER MALCOLM TURNBULL Expediting growth
The biggest of the new projects, the $6 billion Aquis Great Barrier Reef Resort, earlier this year announced it will be moving ahead without a casino in the first stage, in order to expedite the necessary approvals by the end of the year and for construction to start next year. The resort project, developed by Hong Kong tycoon Tony Fung, will feature eight hotels
with a total of 7,500 rooms, as well as a golf course and attractions such as an artificial lake, an aquarium and a rainforest. Construction could start as early as 2017. Meanwhile, Australian-listed ASF Group, has submitted its plans for a 66-storey golden apartment tower, located just minutes away from its proposed casino resort at Main Beach at the Gold Coast. The Chinese backed company, which originally submitted a $6.5 billion proposal to develop a casino resort and cruise ship terminal on Wavebreak Island, has lodged a development application with Gold Coast City Council for a project that will cost around $260 million for 594 apartments, ground-level commercial space, a four-story commercial podium which will accommodate offices, a hotel, shops and a club. ASF continues to be the sole proponent for the Gold Coast IR project, which ran into opposition from environmental and local groups concerned about its plans for a cruise terminal. The company says it’s currently working with the Department of State Development on the structure and feasibility of the project. It is also reportedly in talks with Crown Resorts about managing the resort.
Crown shrinks casino footprint
Australia’s federal government has stripped Norfolk Island of its power to grant and renew gaming licenses after a decision by the gaming authority last year brought an illegal bookmaker to Australia’s multi-billion dollar racing industry.
Crown Resorts has reportedly made changes to the design of its Barangaroo casino project to address concerns raised by the Department of Planning NSW. The state planning department was reported to have recommended conditional approval of the Barangaroo project providing the size of the podium, which houses the casino, be reduced and the development moved back from the waterfront.
Asia Gaming Briefings | May 2016
GROSS GAMING REVENUE BEST SUNSHINE Q1 VIP ROLL $6.1b JAN TO MARCH MONTHLY AVERAGE $2b NOV/DEC. AVERAGE $1.6b March visitor arrivals 37,317
Saipan hits VIP jackpot Aided by its natural beauty, remote location and China-friendly visa policies, a temporary casino on the tiny island of Saipan in the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands is reporting a roaring trade, especially in VIP clients.
ong Kong-listed Imperial Pacific opened a temporary casino on Saipan in November last year to help with cash flow during the development of a planned $7.1 billion resort complex, one of the most expensive in the world. The company recently reported that in the first quarter of this year the temporary casino had pulled in total VIP table games roll of $6.1 billion, averaging about $2 billion a month. That was up about 30 percent from the average in the first two months of operation. Unaudited gross gaming revenue was $186 million. The temporary casino is now operating a total of 16 VIP tables, up from 12 at the year end, though its mass tables have dropped to 32 from 34. It reported a drop for mass table games of $26.9 million. “The company is confident that it will continue to benefit from the trend of tourists exploring alternative gaming venues and believes that the Island of Saipan, a US commonwealth tropical island within easy reach of mainland China, Korea and Japan and where visa-onarrival entry for mainland Chinese visitors is
available, is a compelling destination,” it said. When the company first announced its plans for a $7.1 billion dollar investment, many were sceptical about the ability of the island to support a resort of that size given the limited infrastructure, labor availability and visitor arrivals. However, the company, which recently said it’s selling its non-gaming related subsidiaries in order to focus on its integrated resort business in Saipan, said the limitation to growth has been a lack of capacity, which its building program aims to remedy. Phase one of its development will result in 373 additional rooms. The $550 million Grand Mariana Casino Hotel and Resort is expected to open in December 2016. The launch of the hotel will take place in the first quarter of 2017. The opening of the Grand Mariana, together with two other luxury properties scheduled to open shortly, will increase Saipan’s current hotel room capacity by 38 percent. Records from the Hotel Association of the Mariana Islands showed that there are currently only 20 rated hotels on the island
of Saipan, with total rooms of 2,666. The supply of luxury hotel rooms is also very limited, with five-star hotel rooms only accounting for an estimated 10 percent of the total supply, records show. The Grand Mariana will feature a fourstory casino building in the elegant BeauxArts architectural style of the famed Casino de Monte Carlo. It will also feature a 16-story hotel tower with 373 hotel suites. Still, the project and the prospects for the industry will be heavily reliant on the ability to draw in Asia’s VIPs. Imperial Pacific’s local unit, Best Sunshine International, recently won a key concession that may help give it an edge in drawing in junket agents. Saipan’s gaming regulator will allow the company to increase the rebate percentage of its rolling chip program to 1.8 percent from 1.3 percent. The approval was immediate with a six-month trial period, local media said. In Macau, commission to junkets is capped at 1.25 percent, but other jurisdictions around Asia are offering much more favorable terms to boost their share of the mainland VIP market. The Commonwealth Casino Commission has so far received about 12 applications from junkets to conduct business on Saipan including five applications from Macau-based companies.
TCGC greenlights two projects
Tinian seeks investors
Alter City Group and Bridge Investment Group have both received conditional licenses and can now move forward with their projects on Tinian, local media reports. Bridge’s casino hotel will be called Tinian Ocean Resort and Casino with its design based on the Titanic. Alter City Group, got its conditional license on Jan. 29, 2016 and will begin construction of Phase 1 of its project in August. Completion is scheduled for 2020.
Tinian Mayor San Nicolas says it’s time for regulatory changes to help attract more investors to the island. The municipality hasn’t collected any revenue since the closure of its sole major investor, the Tinian Dynasty Casino and Hotel and is seeking alternative sources of funds. “We want our gaming industry to be more competitive and based on Asian-style gaming. Our laws need to be attractive to investors so it’s time for some changes,” said Mayor Joey Patrick San Nicolas.
Asia Gaming Briefings | May 2016
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Asia Gaming Briefings | May 2016
Change of guard at SkyCity Entertainment as rumors swirl New Zealand’s only listed casino operator, SkyCity Entertainment, is going through a period of transition, with a change in CEO prompting speculation over potential asset sales or takeovers.
n April, the company announced that CEO and managing director Nigel Morrison would step down effective from the end of that month. His seemingly sudden departure prompted speculation of a board room dispute. However, chairman Chris Moller told investors on a conference call that the board and Morrison had been formally discussing succession planning since September last year and denied talk of any rift. The outgoing Morrison has overseen a major expansion push for the company, securing the extension of exclusive casino licenses in Auckland and Adelaide and managing a new contract for the New Zealand International Convention Centre, as well as overseeing renovations at existing properties. “Nigel has also presided over unprecedented growth of SkyCity’s international business and he had the vision to develop the Federal Street precinct into an entertainment and world class dining hub for Auckland,” Moller said.
Asia Gaming Briefings | May 2016
SkyCity’s NZ Chief Operating Officer, John Mortensen has been appointed as the interim CEO whilst the search goes on for the new chief executive. His appointment is subject to the usual regulatory approvals. “It’s an incredibly demanding job and after eight years, I’m keen to take a break,” said Morrison. “The company is in great shape with record revenues and profits and an eight-year recordhigh share price, with a market capitalization of $3 billion. So as a CEO it’s a good time to step down.” However, analysts have raised question marks over the company’s debt levels, which are expected to balloon to 3x EBITDA by the end of 2018 due to a A$300 million expansion in Adelaide and the $700 million Auckland project. SkyCity denied media reports that it plans to sell off its Darwin assets to help raise funds for the expansion program, which it said is proceeding as planned. In February, the casino operator reported its Darwin operation had increased EBITDA by 6.9 percent to A$23.1 million, with revenue up 2.3 percent to A$75 million, the weakest performance amongst its properties during the period. There has also been speculation of a possible tie-up with Australia’s Star Entertainment. Moller said there had been no approach or talks with Star during the investor call, but said the board was not opposed to such an arrangement if there was value to be found. “If they come forward with a proposal then in the best interests of shareholders we will clearly consider it,” Moller was cited as saying. In its interim results, SkyCity reported that normalized group revenue rose 10.2 percent to NZ$561.9 million, while normalized net profit rose 28.4 percent to $85.4 million, with international business continuing to fuel the gains. Auckland saw normalized revenue up 7.4 percent to $324.9 million and EBITDA up 8.9 percent to $135.4 million. The company said
GROSS GAMING REVENUE Y14/15
NZ Racing Board
Total GGR fiscal year
(Source: NZ Govt.)
Online review The Racing Minister is seeking feedback on proposed changes that will allow the country’s central betting agency to take bets on more events and accept wagers during horse races to deter New Zealanders from turning to offshore bookmakers. The reforms would lift restrictions that currently prevent the TAB from taking wagers during horse races as well as offering bets on sports outside of those represented by national sporting organizations.
Fraud charges for casino employee A former member of staff of SkyCity Casino in New Zealand was charged with defrauding the casino of more than NZ$2.5 million ($1.7 million). Tessa Fiona Grant allegedly used cheques and invoices from SkyCity to siphon money to herself, and faces 49 fraudrelated charges.
Auckland “continues to benefit from positive external influences which are supportive of further medium-term growth.” SKYCITY Hamilton saw revenue up 9.9 percent to $27.7million and EBITDA up 18.4 percent to $11.6 million, underpinned by strong local gaming activity, while combined Queenstown operations are delivering record growth, due to significant international and local gaming activity. Normalized revenue more than doubled to $13.7 million and normalized EBITDA was up 420 percent to $2.6 million. Adelaide saw normalized revenue up 18.7 percent to A$103.6 million, again fueled by international business.
Asia Gaming Briefings | May 2016
Change in the air for junket sector Macauâ€™s junket sector, which has been under pressure due to falling VIP revenue and a series of scandals, now faces government reform.
Asia Gaming Briefings | May 2016
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Jorge Godinho is a visiting professor at the Faculty of Law of the University of Macau, where he coordinates the Master and postgraduate program in International Business Law.
egulations on Macauâ€™s gaming promoters were passed initially in 2002. Then in 2004 casinos and promoters were authorized to grant credit. Competition for promoters then became quite intense and, as a result, the commissions payable to them rose to the point where a cap had to be imposed by law in 2009, which was set at 1.25 percent of net rolling revenue. Recently, the situation has been changing fast. The casino mass market is still generally rising. However, after peaking in 2013, since 2014 the revenue of the VIP sector has been slowing, due to a series of factors. These include a general economic downturn, a tightened smoke ban in Macau, and more anti-money laundering controls and enforcement in mainland China on the flow of funds. As a result, the revenue generated by the VIP sector may never return to where it was or, if it does, that will take many years to happen. A qualitative change has effectively materialized and continues to be underway. Some gaming promoters have closed their operations. There are only around 140 licensed gaming promoters at the moment, sharply down from more than 200 licensed promoters just a few years ago. Adding to the troubles of the VIP sector, in mid-2015 a scandal broke out after funds allegedly disappeared from one large gaming promoter. In September 2015, immediately after the scandal, the regulator (DICJ) took action and announced its intention to advance
Overnight visitors Same-day visitors
Reform agenda What exactly are the points of the regulation that will change? A number of reform topics were succinctly mentioned by the regulator late last year in a press release: new requirements relating to capital and shares, guarantee deposit, accounting and auditing; increase of public disclosure and transparency, namely a list of directors, shareholders, key employees and employees; to consider employees of gaming promoters who exercise functions of a financial nature as key employees. Currently gaming promoters may have various business forms: sole proprietorship, private company, single shareholder private company or public company. Standard company law rules apply to the capital of gaming promoters. These include minimal capital requirements in relation to private companies and single shareholder private companies. Therefore, the reform will surely consist in setting the bar much higher on capital standards. Heightened financial capital requirements certainly seem appropriate. The need for a guarantee deposit was also mentioned as a possible future requirement. This could be a system like that currently in force for travel agents, who are required
to effect a cash payment or to provide a bank guarantee on first demand to the Government. This money may be used to accommodate emergency situations and deal with disgruntled clients if the need arises, so that clients do not have to wait for the result of possibly protracted litigation or risk receiving nothing. The question on this front will be on the amount that will be required. The proposal to consider employees of gaming promoters who exercise functions of a financial nature as key employees clearly has the purpose of subjecting them to suitability investigations, which are already required for the directors and shareholders of gaming promoters. Overall, it remains to be seen whether this announced package of amendments to the law will effectively amount to a major expansion of the existing regulation. In general, further development of the regulation is justified and probably should have been done a few years ago already, immediately after gaming promoters were allowed to legally grant credit, an activity of a financial nature that should trigger an appropriate regulatory framework. Necessary to system It is clear that gaming promoters are indispensable for the Macau gaming market and will always be, as a necessary network of agents and credit granters who bear risks. In this context, the way forward is to improve and expand the regulation. This goes together with a stricter enforcement of the money laundering laws. The legislative process does not yet have a timeline so it is not clear whether it will unfold in the coming months. One of the doubts is whether it shall be carried out by means of a Law of the Legislative Assembly or via Administrative Regulation of the Chief Executive. If changes are needed to
Hotel rates fall
Tourism Tourism arrivals Y15 30,714,628,
a substantial legal reform of the current regulations applicable to gaming promoters. The reforms that were announced do not focus only on points relating directly to this case and are intended to have a broader scope. At the same time, a new regulation for the prevention and detection of money laundering in the gaming sector is being prepared. It is well known that Macau is constantly under pressure from the Asia Pacific Group on money laundering and financing of terrorism issues. Meetings with the association of licensed gaming promoters are also taking place. In other words, reform is definitely in the air.
Macauâ€™s Tourist Price Index for the first quarter of 2016 decreased 6.7 percent year on year, mainly due to lower hotel rates, says Macauâ€™s Statistics and Census Service (DSEC). The price index of accommodation decreased the most significantly in the first quarter, down 23.8 percent year-on-year, followed by Entertainment and Cultural Activities, down 2.4 percent.
Asia Gaming Briefings | May 2016
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GROSS GAMING REVENUE GGR Y15 -34.3%
Law 16/2001 (the main gaming piece of legislation), or to criminal law provisions, the Legislative Assembly will have exclusive competence on these aspects and the process may or may not take longer.
SJM HOLDINGS (880:HK)
-9.5% GGR Y16E -6% GGR Y17E +4% Mass Y16E +4% Mass Y17E +8% (Source: Morgan Stanley)
Has 20 casinos. Its $3.2 billion Palazzo Versace development is scheduled to come online in 2017. Mass market property the Jal Alai is scheduled for a mid-2016 opening with 130 rooms and 45 gaming tables. The company is currently building The Grand Lisboa Palace on Cotai, which is also scheduled for completion in 2017, with the topping off of the superstructure scheduled for mid 2016. The casino plans are for 700 gaming tables and over 1,200 slot machines across a gaming floor area of approximately 27,000 square metres. It will feature a Palazzo Versace hotel and a Karl Lagerfeld Hotel. The total production cost is estimated at about HKD$30 billion ($3.8 billion), although the company has expressed concern over costs. The company is in talks with lenders for a $3.2 billion loan to finance its new Cotai project. SJM recently opened a new gaming area at the Grand Lisboa, which includes 870 square meters of space, with 10 gaming tables and over 40 slot machines as well as a dining area. Overall gaming revenue in Q1 decreased by 22.8 percent to HK$11.02 billion ($1.42 billion). Profit attributable to owners of the company decreased by 44.1 percent to HK$561 million.
GALAXY ENTERTAINMENT GROUP (27:HK) Tax revenue tumbles The Macau government collected 20.9 percent less tax from gaming in the first two months of 2016 compared to the same period in 2015, according to Macau’s Financial Services Bureau. The first two months saw MOP 13.4 billion (US$1.7 billion) collected in direct taxes from gaming, compared to MOP 17 billion in 2015.
Asia Gaming Briefings | May 2016
Has three main properties and runs three City Club casinos inside hotels. The company’s new Galaxy Macau Phase 2 and Broadway at Galaxy Macau opened on May 27 2015, almost doubling the capacity of the resort. The group was recently granted an extra 100 tables, adding to the original allocation of 150 tables. That’s still far short of the 400 it had requested, but brings it in line with the table award given to Melco Crown Entertainment’s Studio City. Galaxy Chairman Lui Che-Woo says he
will be venturing into family friendly theme parks as part of the next two phases of the HK$86 billion (US$11 billion) Galaxy Macau project. Lui told Bloomberg in an interview that the theme park will be “something special and high-tech” similar to the movie “Avatar.” Construction of the third and fourth phases of Galaxy Macau are expected to start this year. In Q1, quarterly revenue came to HK$13.4 billion (US$1.7 billion), up 1 percent sequentially and down 2 percent year on year. Adjusted EBITDA was HK$2.4 billion, down 2 percent sequentially and up 6 percent year on year. The results were slightly ahead of analysts’ forecasts.
MELCO CROWN ENTERTAINMENT (6883:HK) Has three casinos. The company’s $3.2 billion Studio City opened on October 27, 2015, with an allocation of 250 tables, short of the 400 requested. All tables were allocated to the mass sector, a first in Macau. The resort features a 5,000-seat multi-purpose theatre, a permanent magic show, jungle-themed river rides, Asia’s highest Ferris wheel and a Batman simulated ride. Melco says the resort will be made up of 95 percent non-gaming components. The company has said it may buy out its minority partner in the Studio City project. Analysts at Sterne Agee recently said they were optimistic about the longer-term potential of the project, but ramp up was being slowed by construction work on either side of the property. The firm adjusted its 1Q16 property EBITDA estimate from $40.2 million to $22.6 million. The company’s City of Dreams property is due to open its new expanded retail arcade by mid-2016. For Q1 adjusted net income was $40.5 million,compared with $87.1 million a year earlier. Net revenue was $1.1 billion, up about 5 percent.
MGM CHINA (2282:HK) Is operating a single casino in the peninsula. The opening for its new $2.9 billion development, the MGM Cotai, has been pushed back from late 2016 to the first quarter of 2017 because of soft market conditions and
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WYNN MACAU (1128:HK)
the timing of other new openings. BNP Paribas recently upgraded its rating on MGM China stock to a BUY rating with HKD11.20 target price on prospects for the new resort. The opening of MGM Cotai (nearly triple its existing footprint), representing the largest incremental capacity growth among all six operators, could allow for gain in market share for MGM in Macau from 1Q 2017 onwards,” it said. The firm said that MGM has been able to “consistently punch above its weight, delivering about 10 percent of industry revenue with approximately 8 percent of Macau gaming tables over 2008-2015.” Even with the smallest property and operating base, management has been able to manage costs and maintain its EBITDA margins in 2016, it adds.
SANDS CHINA (1928:HK) Has four casinos. The company says its new $3 billion The Parisian property is still scheduled to open in the third quarter, although the company was recently granted
an additional seven months to complete the resort. Recently, the company has been on a hiring drive for staff for the new property, taking on more than 600 workers. The Parisian Macao will feature a scale replica of the Eiffel Tower, nearly 13,000 hotel rooms, two million square feet of retail-mall offerings and two million square feet of MICE capacity. An air-conditioned walkover bridge with moving sidewalks is also planned, which will connect Parisian Macao to Sands Cotai Central. The company faces a lawsuit in Macau from a former partner, which is claiming billions of dollars in damages for breaking the terms of their agreement and misuse of trade secrets. Las Vegas Sands says it’s confident the case, brought by Asian American, has no merit. In Q1, adjusted earnings were $357.3 million or $0.45 per share, down from $531.1 million or $0.66 per share in the year-ago quarter, missing the $0.63 per share consensus. Revenues fell 9.8 percent year-over-year to $2.72 billion, missing expectations for $2.88 billion.
Has one casino. Its $4 billion Wynn Palace is under development, but has experienced construction delays. Originally scheduled to open in March, the deadline now looks more likely to be July or early August. It will have 1,700 hotel rooms and 90 percent of the resort will be non-gaming. The company said the resort will feature a performance lake, casino, spa, retail and other outlets. It is aiming for about 500 table games. The company sent a letter to the contractor of the resort in late January warning of potential penalties under its contract if construction milestones aren’t met. The company has said that the total potential liability for delay damages may be as much as $200 million should the contractor fail to achieve “substantial” completion by the June deadline. Wynn posted preliminary Q1 results, saying it expects around a 10 percent decline in its Macau property EBITDA for Y16Q1, approximately 15 percent above analyst estimates. It expects net revenue to decline 14 percent year on year between $603 million to $613 million for the first quarter, compared to $705.4 million the year before. Adjusted property EBITDA is expected to be between $187 million to $195 million for the first quarter of 2016, compared to the year before. Bernstein says the opening of the Wynn Palace will be a game changer for the company, with “robust long-term growth prospects, and may likely be the most iconic property in the market.” In an investor presentation, the company said Wynn Palace could earn as much as US$850 million in EBITDA by 2017.
GROSS GAMING REVENUE GGR Y16E -13% Y17E +0% Y18E +3% (Source: Macquarie)
Direct gaming taxes Y15 MOP84.4 billion
Asia Gaming Briefings | May 2016
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Casinos to benefit as China visa walls crumble As China’s outbound tourism market continues to balloon, a growing number of destinations are easing visa requirements to woo the mainland traveller, with casinos in those countries likely to be among the key beneficiaries.
n 2015, total outbound tourism from China rose 10 percent to 128 million. However, if you exclude Hong Kong and Macau, outbound travel was up 28 percent. According to CLSA Research, 2016 is also off to a good start with growth of more than 50 percent in Australia, Vietnam, Singapore, the Philippines and Japan. Tourism spending rose 53 percent from $140 billion in 2014 to $215 billion in 2015, says the World Travel and Tourism Council. China is expected to become the fourth biggest source market for international tourism after the U.K., U.S. and Germany, with far flung countries such as Iceland expected to receive more visitors from China this year than from any of its Scandinavian neighbors, according to Wolfgang Georg Arlt, professor for tourism management and director of the China Outbound Tourism Research Institute. To capitalize on the expansion and accompanying spending, about 52 countries have now put in place beneficial visa policies for Chinese tourists, Cotri says. Open doors In November, Vietnam lowered the fees for Chinese visitors entering on a single entry tourist visa from $45 to $25. China has become the country’s major source market for arrivals with one out of five tourists coming from China. Last year saw 1.78 million Chinese travel to Vietnam, up 91.5 percent on the 12 months prior. Eager to catch up with its regional neighbor, Thailand started in November to issue multiple entry visas to Chinese tourists with a validity period of six months. The two types of visas on offer since November are a single-entry visa with a validity period of three months, costing 230 yuan ($36), and the other a multiple-entry visa costing 1,200 yuan.
Asia Gaming Briefings | May 2016
According to the Thai Tourism Authority, the Chinese are now by far the biggest source of both visitors and expenditure, totalling 4 million arrivals in first six months of 2015, up 111 percent to over 1.89 million compared with the same period in 2014. Expenditure from this group amounted to 190.9 billion baht ($5.4 billion), up 138.9 percent over 79.9 billion baht in January to June 2014. Malaysia also recently followed suit by introducing a visa-free program and an e-visa program, intended to pave the way for more Chinese tourists into the country. Chinese can enter Malaysia visa-free from March 1 to December 31, 2016, for a period not exceeding 15 days. “We have made it easier for tourists from China to come to Malaysia as the competition to attract them is very stiff,” Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said, adding that neighbouring countries are becoming competitive in their policies. Nepal has also waived a $25 visa fee starting from this year, while the U.K. was among key long haul destinations recently lowering the visa application cost for Chinese tourists. According to the new visa protocol, the cost of applying for a two-year visa will be reduced from GBP 324 ($461) to GBP 85, which is almost a 75 percent decrease. In South Korea, restrictions were also eased after the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome outbreak to boost visitors, while Jeju Island offers 30-day visa free entry to Chinese travellers. Nomura estimates that Chinese visitation to South Korea and Japan will double by 2020. Hong Kong, Macau decline As nations compete for the Chinese, the destinations on the mainland’s doorstep, casinohub Macau and Hong Kong have for the first time in many years have lost arrivals, “a trend that is likely to continue,” said Georg Arlt.
“To my knowledge governments do not officially connect the easing of visa policies with gaming visitors, but in effect the easing of visa policies by giving multiple-entry visas is helping Chinese outbound tourism especially for frequent travellers like gamers, which in effect is resulting in Macau losing gamblers to its regional neighbours, such as Cambodia, Nepal and Laos etc. along with other countries in Asia, Europe and America.” According to CLSA analysts, gaming operators are likely to be key beneficiaries of increased Chinese visitation. It expects Chinese tourism to the Philippines to be
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GROSS GAMING REVENUE Lottery sales Y15 RMB 367.9b
Sports Lottery RMB166.4b
Welfare Lottery RMB201.5b
Feb. Y16 RMB22.5 billion (US$3.5 billion) Welfare Sports
Hope for online lottery sales AGTech Holdings chairman and CEO Sun Ho says he expects new online and mobile channels for lottery sales in China to be approved this year. “In light of the proven potential of the mobile and internet channels and the reported comments of senior Lottery Agency and regulator officials at a recent annual lottery strategy meeting regarding the lottery’s active pursuit of preparatory work for an internet sales pilot scheme, we believe that new online and mobile channels for lottery sales in the PRC are likely to be approved,” said Ho.
Rexlot profit down
one of the biggest gainers, with 28 percent compound average growth forecast through to 2020 as it catches up with regional neighbours. As a result, the firm projects 10 percent growth in gross gambling revenue to 2017 for the three operators, but expects Bloomberry Resorts’ Solaire and Melco Crown’s City of Dreams to outperform. Australian red tape Although Australia has been a favorite market for the aspirational Chinese traveller, visa applications are still notoriously complex. Billionaire James Packer, the former head of
Crown Resorts, has been outspoken about the impact of red tape on Chinese visitation, while other business leaders have also called for restrictions to be eased. Steve Whan, who manages The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s National Tourism Council, told local media recently that tourist visas were more expensive and complicated to obtain compared with many of Australia’s rival tourism markets. “This discourages visitors from China, India and Indonesia, our key growth markets,” Whan told the Australian Financial Review. “The government has made some progress, but there is much more to be done.”
Rexlot says 2015 profit fell due to China’s temporary ban on online lottery distribution. Rexlot said its Single Match Games business was the heaviest hit as it relied on the internet as its major distribution channel. Profit for the year fell 4.6 percent to HK$164.2 million in 2015.
Asia Gaming Briefings | May 2016
Proxy betting attracting Macau’s missing billions? Proxy betting is booming in Asia’s grey markets, with live broadcasts of table games thought to be pulling in a chunk of Macau’s missing VIP billions, but this growth has led to concern over unclear regulations.
ome experts are suggesting that a sizeable portion of Macau’s lost turnover has found its way into the grey markets of Indochina and Southeast Asia – specifically Cambodia, Vietnam and Philippines - as customers in remote locations seek the anonymity and relative ease of utilizing so-called proxy players. In theory, the practice is illegal in Macau, though it was only relatively recently that the major casinos claimed to have stopped accepting proxy bets. However, elsewhere the restrictions are more relaxed and open to interpretation. “Even though the high rollers aren’t necessarily coming to Macau anymore, there’s no doubt in anybody’s mind that they are still playing,” Tim Shepherd, cofounder and executive director of Silver Heritage said at the recent iGA conference in Macau. “If you speak to a few of the people at this conference, the money is still flowing.”
Asia Gaming Briefings | May 2016
“Our observations are that there are a lot of casinos opening up to proxy betting in Philippines and Cambodia - and that is perhaps in answer to the demand that was previously here (Macau).” “You can only add together the factors, and make your own conclusions: there is an uptake in the number of casinos in Cambodia – most of them are broadcasting their tables and the casinos in the Philippines are also broadcasting their tables, so who are they broadcasting to?” Macau’s gross revenue in gaming dropped from more than $45 billion in 2013 to less than $30 billion last year, and looks set to decline further this year, with the bulk of the losses from the VIP segment. “Has that money disappeared into proxy betting?” he asked. “Some obviously has gone to Philippines, some has gone to Sydney, sure, and the (Chinese) economy isn’t strong, but that is a huge drop – but what nobody in Macau is recognizing or asking when revenue has dropped that much – where is that money?”
AML concerns The relative lack of regulation in Asia’s grey markets, where proxy betting is flourishing, also raises concerns around money laundering - a concern highlighted by the extraordinary recent case where $81 million was channelled through Philippines-based casinos by a money remittance company. The money was siphoned off from the central bank of Bangladesh. The case could bring undue focus on other casinos in the region and that is why experts are calling for clearer rules regarding not just proxy betting but all transactions. “The stolen money turning up in the Philippines is an amazing story; how on earth does that happen? How does AML (anti-money laundering) not apply to the Philippines casino industry? “There is a much broader cost to this than people think – this is a headache for the casino industry, and there is a need to figure out ways to know the source of the funds coming into the casino and record it,” Shepherd said. The FATF (Financial Action Task Force) guide is clear on what AML should cover, and every country is a signatory to it, and Philippines is too. All casinos should be notating US$3k-plus transactions.” “It’s getting ugly, there is a lot of pressure
from the US and they are tying it back to aid and investment – if countries are assessed for their compliance with AML and anti-terrorism activities, and are seen to be failing that, their investment grade goes down and the economy suffers – so get your house in order.” A key difference between the proxy betting that was taking place in Macau and the new services available in other Asian markets is that some casinos in Cambodia, Vietnam and Philippines are streaming video of the tables to players in remote locations – whereas in Macau proxy players were simply connected by phone.
PROXY BETTING SEEMS TO BE LUMPED UNDER THE SAME HEADING OF ONLINE BETTING, WHICH IT’S NOT
Industry experts agree that clearer ground rules, including the aforementioned tighter application of anti-money laundering measures are necessary for proxy betting to remain viable – but also warned that regulators shouldn’t confuse live streaming of table games with online gaming. Online confusion “Proxy betting seems to be lumped under the same heading of online betting, which it’s not,” said industry veteran Shaun McCamley an Asian-based partner for Global Market Advisors. “The delivery system is nothing like online, it is completely separate – you can do proxy betting without a real time feed, and unlike online betting, where you have to place the bet physically through a computer or mobile device, proxy betting you are simply using a window to look at something in real time – without a telephone line you can’t place a bet.” “The problem as I see it is that there hasn’t been a good education process for some government officials and they are seeing this as online gaming and it is not – I see it as a different delivery system.”
“ There’s no comparison, the only comparison might be that you turn your computer on, but you don’t actually have to have a computer – you can do it phone to phone and a lot of people do. If you don’t have a phone you can’t make a bet – online betting means you have to have an account, you put money into a account. Even if you are watching a dealer, the way you place the bet has to be placed through a personal computer.” Shepherd backs the assertion that proxy players should not be considered online gaming and added that the broadcast games are attracting much more serious activity than many people realize. Both Shepherd and McCamley stressed the need for tighter regulations - for not only proxy betting, but all new casino activity in the region to allow the grey markets to move forward. Regulation welcome “As far as regulations goes, more regulation in sophisticated markets can hurt, but for us here in Asia, regulation is great – when overseas investors see solid regulations they can say “OK, we are comfortable working here,” he said. “The big investors don’t want to put their licences in Kentucky or Nevada in jeopardy, so they like regulation – rather than shy away from it,” Shepherd added. But how to get governments to raise the bar when it comes to regulations? McCamley says it will require a proactive approach from operators. “Regulation is really what the industry wants, and as industry commentators that’s what we like to see – black and white, and no grey areas. And then everyone is comfortable – regulations that are clearly in place,” he said. “In jurisdictions like Cambodia, where everything is grey, you aren’t going to get the protections and controls in place, which is a shame – because that is what we want to see. Operators need to plan for when regulations do come in place. They need to ensure these grey areas are properly managed – we all favour regulation. What smarter operators should be doing is actively lobbying governments so that they have a clearer understanding of what the processes are and governments, rather than sitting on the fence, they should either legislate for something like proxy betting or legislate specifically against it.”
Asia Gaming Briefings | May 2016
Europe’s online gaming firms woo Asian clients Many of Europe’s biggest online operators have rolled out Asian-themed content into their domestic markets in recent months, as the Asian diaspora becomes an increasingly valuable demographic in regulated jurisdictions.
nd, with an eye on the even greater prize of a foothold in Asia’s largest markets, operators and suppliers are scrambling to localize the full online experience for Asian audiences. Among the top-tier operators to announce major launches of Asia-focused content are William Hill and Betfair, which both rolled out Macau-branded online casinos in regulated European markets in December. “Macau was launched to offer more product choice to online casino bettors. It also complements our strategy of delivering gaming destinations – we already have Vegas, now Macau and Mayfair,” Jon IvanDuke, a spokesperson from William Hill, told AGB. Hill’s Macau casino aims to create an Asianstyled product by tailoring the user experience. For instance, the selection of table games includes
Asia Gaming Briefings | May 2016
Squeeze Baccarat and Sic Bo, while many of the most prominent slots tend to be online adaptations of slots which have proved popular in Macau’s land-based casinos. The offer also includes a dedicated Macau live casino room. Ivan-Duke said Macau was designed for two major segments - existing online casino players searching for something new, but also players of Asian heritage who now live in Europe. “We know from both internal and external research that there is an appetite within the Asian diaspora for the product,” said Ivan-Duke. Industry insiders say a disproportionate share of the freest spending VIPs at a number of Europe’s largest online operators are part of the Asian diaspora, and advancements in CRM and segmentation now mean operators have greater means to target these players.
Poker, told AGB that major European operators and suppliers are now beginning to consider Asia’s long-term potential. “The word on the street is that every major European firm is looking at the opportunity seriously for the first time, right now. But I think every major firm also does realize that this is a proposition that requires a significant commitment,” Jung said. “Firms that are already releasing Asianthemed content in their domestic markets are likely to already be committed to approaching the Asian market, provided they can minimize risk with the right contacts and channels,” he added.
Stepping stone? A soft launch of Asia-focused content in Europe could also be a way for operators to lay the groundwork for a fuller entry into Asian jurisdictions. Ivan-Duke stresses that William Hill Macau is only available in regulated markets, and Hill withdrew from China in 2013 citing “regulatory reasons beyond our control.” As a London-listed company it is unlikely there will be much appetite for the risk associated with Asia’s grey markets. But nonetheless, at least part of the spike in Asia-themed content now available on the market is likely motivated by a growing belief that Asia will ultimately regulate the online space, and that it will continue to grow rapidly in the interim. Among launches in recent months have been Microgaming’s Lucky Twins, which features the Maneki-neko waving cat and Habanero’s Fa Cai Shen slot. After the release of Fa Cai Shen, Habanero chief executive Nic Ioannoy said the slot would hold appeal, “particularly among the host of major operators who have been expanding their Asian-themed content.” David Jung, founder and CEO of Hero
FIRMS THAT ARE ALREADY RELEASING ASIANTHEMED CONTENT IN THEIR DOMESTIC MARKETS ARE LIKELY TO ALREADY BE COMMITTED TO APPROACHING THE ASIAN MARKET
Customized content However, theming online content with Asia-focused branding is not enough to guarantee success in what is an increasingly competitive environment. “Just painting your website in red and gold is not really enough without offering the native language and offer what they really want,” Warwick Bartlett, CEO of GBGC, told AGB. “Everyone the world over wants to engage with the Chinese gambler, they are growing in affluence, and they like to gamble,” he added. Ivan-Duke said those consumers who prefer Asian-styled gaming tend to prefer more volatile slots as well as having a preference for live casino over standard online table games. Evolution, the world’s largest supplier of online live casino content, has been another
supplier to have scaled its Asian-themed content of late. The firm launched a new Baccarat range earlier this year which is live on William Hill and features bean-shaped tables, facedown cards and extra side-bets to create an experience as close to that seen in-venue in Macau. It also incorporates the ritual “squeeze” of the cards - done by the live dealer on behalf of the player - before their values are revealed, with Evolution’s marketing director Helen Hedgeland saying the squeeze “has already attracted a significant number of new players to our tables and is prolonging playing sessions.” Land-based approach In targeting the Asian diaspora, Europe’s online operators and suppliers are following the lead of the land-based sector, which has similarly tailored the user experience for Asian audiences. London’s Hippodrome Casino, situated in the heart of the city’s Chinatown, has Mandarin and Cantonese speaking staff available 24-hours a day and a dedicated “Macau Lounge,” where Baccarat and Pai Gow are particularly popular. “The pure force of the Asian economy is vital to the future success of the UK, and as new links and friendships are forged there will be tens, if not hundreds, of thousands more Asian visitors to our shores,” Simon Thomas, CEO of the Hippodrome Casino, told AGB. Thomas said Asian customers are “very important to the Hippodrome”. But the big prize remains east. The new content could be seen as an insurance mechanism against any sudden developments in Asia that open up significant markets. Should legislation pave a way into these jurisdictions for the major operators and suppliers, speed of entry will be critical to success. Jung at Hero Poker said that for the time being, Asia’s high growth potential can only be realized by operators and suppliers which are not publicly listed. For listed firms, targeting the Asian diaspora in home markets can serve as vital preparation. “European firms are wise to hedge the risk by preparing products and seeking the right partners before they move forward,” he said. “But it’s a balance, the market does not wait, especially when it is Asia.”
Asia Gaming Briefings | May 2016
Into Africa? Opportunities for Asian firms in untapped gambling frontier Home to over one billion people, making it the second most populated continent, Africa is generating growing interest as one of the world’s great untapped gaming frontiers.
lthough casino gambling makes up the bulk of the market at present, growth in internet usage and in particular mobile, is expected to lead to a boom in online gambling. While some of the European majors have already ventured in, some experts say Asian investors may have an edge when it comes to their business approach. In a recent study, PWC analyzed the market in South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria. It found South Africa has by far the largest overall gambling market with, gross casino gambling revenues of R17.2 billion ($1.6 billion) in 2014 compared with R497 million ($46 million) in Nigeria and R218 million ($20 million) in Kenya. However, when it comes to growth, Nigeria was the best performing up 17.5 percent, compared with 4.5 percent in South Africa and 7.4 percent in Kenya. Football crazy Yet this is a sports-crazy region of the world, particularly when it comes to football. Already the second-biggest component of the market, sports betting is likely to be a key beneficiary, especially as technology improves. At present, Africa lags far behind other parts of the world from an online gambling perspective. In fact, Global Betting and Gaming Consultants (GBGC) estimates that the continent accounts for just 2 percent of worldwide interactive revenues. “So far, population growth has not equated to economic prosperity, so large portions of the population do not have the disposable income to get online at all, and then have any income to spend on recreations like gambling,” GBGC director Lorien Pilling said. For Asian operators willing to take a gamble on Africa and go up against the established and trusted local brands, industry experts warn that this vast continent isn’t a homogenous market; it’s a nuanced landscape with online and land-based gambling spread throughout the Sub-Saharan region. Key markets include South Africa, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Ghana and Nigeria – the latter boasting a very competitive
Asia Gaming Briefings | May 2016
and well-developed igaming industry. Until recently, there was scant igaming regulation in most countries but the situation is changing, while international heavyweights like bet365, Mr Green, Mybet and many more are present in the region. In light of the growing potential, Clarion Events hosted its inaugural World Regulatory Briefing Africa conference in Nigeria on
THE MOBILE MARKET IS THE HOLY GRAIL FOR GAMING IN AFRICA
April 11th and 12th to study the potential of the African igaming market. However, John Kamara, director of Global Gaming Africa, says the big overseas brands, particularly those from Europe, haven’t exactly taken the continent by storm. “European gaming firms haven’t really set the world ablaze in Africa because of their need for everything to be black and white and regulation, as well as not understanding the local market,” he says. “This is where Asian firms can take a march on the European companies to push their market entry. As we know when Asian firms come to Africa even in other sectors they come big and then help formalize the regulation, whereas European firms are too set in their ways sometimes and are missing out on the opportunities in the market.” Mammoth volumes Asian sportsbooks have established a reputation for accepting football stakes
and bet volumes that dwarf anything the major European bookmakers lay. Yet there would need to be a willingness by Far East operators to adapt their model for African markets, Pilling suggests. “Football is still the main betting sport, just as in Asia, but there is little evidence of interest in Asian handicap betting. It is 1x2 [home, draw, away], like Europe. Some Asian firms offer a lot more 1x2 than they used to but it would need to be their main form of betting in Africa.” Pilling also points out that minimum bet limits for current African operators are also low, while many local operators offer a combined retail-online service. For example, bettors can print off a coupon and take it to a betting shop to place the bet with cash. “Is this a model that an Asian operator would be willing to get involved with?” he asks. Unlike the rest of the world, igaming in Africa has largely leapfrogged desktop and gone straight to mobile. Aside from South Africa, mobile phones are the primary devices for connecting to the internet. Old technology These phones tend to be older models running the Opera Mini browser, which means Asian igaming operators will struggle, at least for the time being, to generate significant revenue streams from verticals requiring a large screen size and adequate horsepower, such as casino, live casino and poker. Furthermore, credit and debit card penetration is very low, though the mobile wallet industry is booming. This means it’s essential for online operators to partner with mobile wallet providers like MTN, Tigo or Paga. “The mobile market is the Holy Grail for gaming in Africa,” says Kamara, whilst adding: “Africa has made leaps and bounds in mobile and mobile payments.” On top of these challenges, there are different cultures and languages to contend with, levels of income vary wildly, and some countries face political instability, possible
social unrest and even war. But despite all this, Kamara is extremely upbeat about Africa’s potential. “I am very bullish about the future of gaming in Africa. We can already see trends of growth in various markets and also as more regulations come into place we will see a thriving market for the gaming industry. Countries Like Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, Uganda, DRC, Mozambique and Tanzania are leading the way in the gaming market with lots of innovation around mobile.” Joe Coughlin is CEO of the London Gaming
Group, a supplier of gaming platforms for various African markets. His advice to Asian online operators is not to approach Africa with a one-size-fits-all strategy. “You can’t use a cookie-cutter approach with Africa, so you can’t take a successful product from Asia and Europe and shoehorn it in.” He also doesn’t envisage much other than sports betting succeeding – for now. “It’s difficult to imagine online casino, poker and bingo being anything other than niche until the average device profile in Africa improves, but the good
news is that is already happening and in the medium term I expect some of those products to be very successful.” Overall, though, he also believes internet gambling in this part of the world is poised to take off. “There are definitely major opportunities throughout Africa. Practically every Sub-Saharan country has great mobile penetration, a passion for football and lotteries, young populations, and getting more affluent every day. So the big picture for online gaming operators is very good,” he concludes.
Asia Gaming Briefings | May 2016
SUPPLIER SPECIAL REPORT 42
Happy 10th birthday G2E Asia! G2E Asia celebrates its tenth anniversary this year, marking ten successful editions of delivering value for participants from diverse world regions. With its roots in one of the world’s most energetic gaming markets, G2E Asia leverages the city’s bold reputation as a global gaming hub, as Macau’s pulsating vibrancy helps to drive the show’s impact across Asia, the US and Europe.
upported by a powerful capacity to convene likeminded industry professionals, the G2E Asia brand has soared in terms of recognition and trust within the Asian gaming industry. Today, the event has established a powerful reputation as the optimal business hub. In 2016, the G2E Asia show floor will see a number of exhibitors, old and new, use this prestigious platform to create brand awareness, launch new products and expand their reach into the Asian market. “We’re very excited at the prospect of welcoming returning exhibitors, together with new exhibitors to G2E Asia 2016,” said Josephine Lee, executive vice president of Reed Exhibitions Greater China. “Many of the most influential suppliers in gaming and entertainment are already confirmed for the event. We’re also very optimistic, after last year’s record-breaking number of nearly 10,000 visitors from 79 countries and regions, along with 161 exhibitors, that this year’s show will be even more special in terms of delivering great value to our clients.”
Asia Gaming Briefings | May 2016
G2E Asia will continue, as it does each year, to expand its portfolio of offerings and extend its reach further across the Asian continent. The show continues to evolve, keeping pace with the changing rhythms of the industry and shining a spotlight on the issues most integral to the development of Asian gaming. The combination of insight, accuracy and a comprehensive approach will keep G2E Asia relevant and make the 2016 edition a high-priority marketing project for Asia’s growth-focused gaming and entertainment companies. Highlighting its unique convening power, in 2016 G2E Asia is expected to welcome over 25 percent of its exhibitors in the form of new companies, many of them significant players in the iGaming and sports betting segments. With top industry players confirmed among the companies participating at G2E Asia 2016, the G2E Asia brand remains distinct as the ultimate platform via which to discover the many growth opportunities in Asian gaming. This year will see the very first edition of the Asia Gaming Awards - an unrivaled opportunity to celebrate the best gaming companies in Asia, as well as recognize young emerging leaders who will shape the industry in the years to come. The Awards Gala Dinner & Ceremony will be held on Tuesday 17 May 2016.
SUPPLIER SPECIAL REPORT 43
“G2E G2E is the show you must attend every year.” Nehme E. Abouzeid Executive Director, Brand Marketing & Advertising Wynn Las Vegas
Discover new technologies. Source new vendors. Stay current with industry trends. Energize your career with world-class education and professional development. And make valuable new connections. It all happens at the gaming industry’s premier event: Global Gaming Expo. Join Nehme and thousands of other gaming professionals at G2E. Register today at globalgamingexpo.com
GLOBAL GAMING EXPO SEPTEMBER 27 – 29, 2016 SANDS EXPO CENTER LAS VEGAS
Asia Gaming Briefings | May 2016
SUPPLIER SPECIAL REPORT 44
Q&A with Kelvin Chiu, Sales Director, Asia Gaming pipeline, including further development in the Live Casino games, from user interface to features. Most importantly, we look forward to continuing to deliver an ever-improving range of Live Casino solutions and innovations to help all our operators maximise their opportunities and surprise their players.
How many countries does Asia Gaming operate in? Asia Gaming is a leading B2B Live Casino solution provider in Asia and we now serve more than 20 countries all over the world. Which are your key markets? Asia is without doubt our first and key market. Infact, Asia is the fastest growing online gambling market. For the past few years, we have established a strong root in this, our home region and we are now planning to expand our market blueprint to Europe, bringing our innovations to fit with the Asian players who are living there. What are the different preferences among players in each market? Designing and deploying games based on player habits and expectations is the key to success in any region. Players in Asia, whether high-rollers or the casual gamer, enjoy Live Casino titles such as baccarat, roulette and blackjack, from the comfort of their homes. They appreciate the innovation of new features such as squeezing cards and enhanced interactions with native-speaking dealers. On the other hand, European players prefer playing online slots and poker, which you can tell by the great number of providers in those verticals in Europe. The localisation of gaming content through cultural, thematic and player experience is very important in attracting and retaining players. What is in the development pipeline? We are more than happy to share that we have further exciting new products in the
Asia Gaming Briefings | May 2016
What is the key Live Dealer development for Asia Gaming? Asia Gaming is a leading designer and manufacturer of Live Casino products in the Asia-Pacific region. We have a unique advantage in the market due to our ability to serve players in this region, and this has equipped us to expand our business to the global gaming market. All of our games are designed by teams of talented individuals with the aim of appealing to the local cultures and player experiences in the target market. Therefore, we are dedicated to offering popular Live Casino games on our Live Dealer gaming platform to operators in order to drive revenue across the likes of baccarat, dragon tiger, roulette and sic bo, targeting the overseas Chinese population residing in Europe. This is our key development strategy in the future. How do you stay ahead of competition? Lots of live casino products are more or less the same, so staying ahead of the competition and differentiating ourselves in the market is always the hardest challenge. We never stop conducting market research in order to keep up with trends and offer the most innovative products to this ever-changing market. From ‘Pre-dealing Six Cards’ to ‘Interactive Bid Baccarat’, players enjoy the thrills of a land-based casino experience from the comfort of their own home whilst maximising interaction with dealers. We will produce products for different devices with gaming entertainment central to that process. How do you keep producing innovative products and retain customers? To attract new players and to retain the loyal ones, we continue adding new features in the existing games. Take our Interactive Bid Baccarat as an example: it is a variation from the traditional baccarat and has proven to be a great success to us. Traditionally, players cannot interact with dealers. However, by adding one more dealer – we call her an ‘Anchor’ – players are able to talk to her and even ask her to blow
them a kiss. What makes this game even more attractive is that players enjoy a series of exclusive privileges such as squeeze cards, and they can request extra time for consideration before wagering and giving tips to dealers – things that would not be available in a typical online casino. How important is mobile as a platform for Live casino? Without doubt the number of on-the-go players is increasing and mobile gaming is definitely a key focus within our strategy. Our first ever ‘AG App’ makes mobile gaming accessible anytime, anywhere. AG App’s portfolio is the largest and most diverse in online gaming and players can enjoy all popular casino games via iOS and Android smartphone devices. We release content on every platform to offer players the opportunity to play whenever and wherever they want, ensuring that online gaming operators receive a solid portfolio that will consistently drive mobile revenues. With the popularity of mobile devices, gaming does not have to overcome boundaries anymore. What products or innovations can we expect to see in the near future? We have launched a series of new baccarat games such as Dragon Bonus Baccarat which are modified versions from traditional games. Dragon Bonus is a side bet game that pays when your hand is a natural winner or when it wins by a large margin. The highest payout, 30-1, is for a non-natural that wins by nine points. Baccarat Insurance is generally made to protect a stronger hand against losing, or in the case of a nine, a tie. Furthermore, in the future we will add experienced Korean and Japanese native-speaking dealers to maximise interaction with players, contributing to the increasing demand of Korean and Japanese players. This will help to build loyalty and forge stronger relationships between our operators’ brands and their players. Asia Gaming is a leading provider of online gaming solutions to operators in Asian markets and those targeting Asian players in other parts of the world. The company, based in Asia, offers an extensive portfolio of games, including table games and a market-leading Live Dealer platform. www.asia-gaming.com
Asia Gaming Briefings | May 2016
SUPPLIER SPECIAL REPORT 46 ABBIATI
Brand new security chips and plaques
bbiati will showcase a brand-new line of their security chips, plaques and jetons, incorporating a number of innovative security technologies, to prevent casino currency counterfeiting. “The innovations that we’ll be presenting this year are the result of extensive R&D projects that we have carried out both internally with our engineers as well as with our partner suppliers,” said Giovanni Abbiati, founder and president of Abbiati Casino Equipment. The new range will include an impressive collection of new patterns, designs and materials for the plaques as well as the new line of patented “Tie” chips featuring multiple injections, seethru inserts and a combination of intricate and innovative rim and edge inserts. All new
products are available with security features such as 13.56 MHz PJM RFID, 8-color UV pigments, 3-in-1 UV security feature, Laser Tracer technology, Optical Variable Ink, high security holograms to name but a few. The show visitors will also have a possibility to see Abbiati’s brand new line of chips called “il Gettone”, a chip that marries the portability, durability and versatility in terms of theming of the best American-style casino chips, with the technological sophistication found in higher face value casino plaques. The Italian company will also exhibit their unique model of Baccarat table, which features a unique high-end design with elegant and refined finishing. Abbiati Casino Equipment will also exhibit
their GLI-25 certified American roulette wheel, which incorporates the upgraded Abbiati patented invisible laser technology (Class 1A). Abbiati wheels can connect to and run winning number displays, online gaming terminals and management systems. Along with the wheel, Abbiati will present its range of high quality multimedia Winning Number Displays. As the exclusive worldwide distributor for Modiano, Abbiati will present a complete range of 100 percent plastic and paper plastic coated playing cards, including new high security features such as tracking mechanisms and cards with barcodes specifically designed to meet the requirements of online gaming operators. Abbiati can be found at stand 1338.
Live Roulette Wheel
insworth will debut a range of premium Asian-themed titles at G2E Asia in May. The titles will be highlighted by spectacular graphics and are packed with features players will enjoy such as free games, stacked wilds and jackpots. More importantly for the Macau market, they are bilingual, selectable for English and Chinese. Ainsworth is particularly excited about G2E Asia where it will make the debut of the new Oriental Express link to the Asian market. This high-end Asian themed link offers 3 levels of link progressives & 2 level of standalone progressives. There will be three oriental titles to choose from: Lucky Ye Ha Hai and Action 8’s and Oriental Express. Lucky Ye Ha Hai is a graphically rich five reel 50 line offering created especially for the Asian appeal. Lucky Ye Ha Hai includes a unique multi dice feature as well as 8 exhilarating free games with guaranteed reveal symbols and accumulating wild multipliers. Oriental Fortune is an entertaining series of games containing a free games feature with an expanded nine-by-five game array, increased wild multipliers and all symbols are stacked during the feature. Oriental Fortune games on display will be Peking Panda, Year of the Tiger and Double Dragons. Another popular product to be featured at G2E Asia is Fortune Ox - Ainsworth’s high denom link progressive from the proven Double Hit line of games. Available in a range of cabinet configurations, Fortune Ox features the highly successful Double Hit concept, providing increased start-up value options plus rapid hitting bonus prizes with even more generous frequent free game features. “The Asian market has an appetite for the best in class games and at Ainsworth we are dedicated to satisfying these demands with highly innovative technology, cabinet flexibility, product performance and a wide range of game options,” said Ainsworth. Ainsworth can be found at stand 1407.
lfastreet’s stand at the 2016 edition of G2E in Macau will be packed with the latest edition of all the most attractive gaming products, from the Royal Derby electronic horse-racing machine, to the 2016 edition of the best selling roulette cabinets and some absolute premieres, such as the Alfastreet live roulette wheel, slot machine range and online gaming system for casino venues. The Royal Derby takes all the traditions of the horse-racing themed ETG and combines it with the latest technology and connectivity. The company has revised the mechanical part of the game, giving the player the “in game” experience, sitting close to the racetrack and monitoring all the movements of the realistic models. This year there will be a low dome version of the machine, enabling easy communication across it. Alfastreet’s player interface has been tuned to provide an easy, quick and entertaining interaction, making it without the doubt the new trendsetter in the industry. Last edition marked a successful entry of WIKY single terminal, with 32” touch screen monitor, which enables the player to simultaneously play up to 4 different games. The company’s trademark Multiplayer feature offers a variety of the most popular games for the client’s enjoyment. It comes with all the up-to-date technology and connectivity options. As already seen at the exhibitions earlier this year, the Alfastreet slot machine range is making important progress and there will be finalized product at the show in Macau. Customers will also get to experience an online gaming solution, which will provide a live feed and familiar user interface to the players, that will be able to extend their gaming experience to their tablets, phones and computers inside a casino environment and out. Alfastreet would like to extend a warm welcome to all visitors coming to stand 641 to have a chance to see and try all of their latest products.
Asia Gaming Briefings | May 2016
SUPPLIER SPECIAL REPORT 47 ANGEL PLAYING CARDS
Quality playing cards
ngel Playing Cards is a pioneer in the manufacturing of superior casino grade playing cards with over 50 years of experience. Since its inception in 1949, Angel Playing Cards has consistently been providing the global market with the best quality playing cards, following its policy of “aspiring for perfection”. At present, Angel Playing Cards has a number of casinos,
including the leading casinos in Asia and Australia, as customers. The company believes that ongoing communication with customers is essential in building a mutual understanding, and ultimately increasing customer’s satisfaction. There is a high value placed on face to face meetings, to ensure that the company provides the highest possible quality, service and security. Angel Playing Cards’ staff will be pleased to find out more about their customers’ needs at the show. They can be found at stand 1751.
Live casino solutions
sia Gaming, provider of live casino solutions in Asia, has announced that it will be exhibiting at G2E Asia 2016. Asia Gaming will be showcasing its latest product innovations in live casino along with a complete solution for online gaming business. “Following a successful show last year at G2E Asia 2015, it is the perfect venue to showcase our full array of new content” said Kelvin Chiu, sales director of Asia Gaming. “Visitors who came to our booth will see that Asia Gaming is dedicated to offering popular live casino games on our live dealer gaming platform to operators to
drive potential revenue, including baccarat, dragon tiger, roulette and sic bo, serving the needs of the Asia-Pacific market and Asian players all over the world” said Chui. Interactive Bid Baccarat, a variation from the traditional baccarat, which enhances the interaction between player and dealer will be showcased this year. Attendees will see how the solution creates thrilling gaming experiences for players and a strong return-on-investment for operators. Asia Gaming will be at stand 1619.
Making “The Big Play”
ristocrat’s booth at G2E Asia will be a magical world where pandas roam, dragons fly, emperors rule, lightning strikes and where innovations help casino operators across Asia Pacific make “THE BIG PLAY” with their customers. “We are excited to bring Aristocrat’s game content depth and breadth to G2E Asia, where we will exhibit brand extensions in our Core Product line along with innovative cabinets, signage and linked titles, all designed to help our customers make “THE BIG PLAY” with their customers,” said Vincent Kelly, Aristocrat managing director Asia-Pacific. “THE BIG PLAY” begins with a big commitment to Aristocrat Core Products. That commitment has resulted in a new collection of games that are brand extensions of market-proven player favorite titles, including 5 Dragons Gold, Fortune King Gold, Miss Kitty Gold, Wild Panda Gold and Lucky 88 Extra Choice”. Aristocrat’s spirit of innovation comes alive with a range of products highlighting new and exciting features. Titles include The Third Prince, with an engrossing new battle feature; Fortune Ways and Rhino Charge, both of which allow players to personalize their gaming experience. Lightning will strike G2E Asia with Aristocrat’s outstanding Lightning Link - the next generation of linked product which has taken the gaming world by storm. Popular with players across the globe, Lightning Link will make its Asia-Pacific premiere at G2E Asia. Aristocrat will also unveil new support titles for its highly successful Good Fortune and Fortune Tree linked products. Aristocrat will also present new and innovative cabinets that give players a more immersive gaming experience that dazzles the senses. Aristocrat Special Products create a visual destination on the gaming floor and come with titles for mass customer appeal, including Britney Spears and Game of Thrones Slot Game, as well as well-established favorites like 5 Dragons Gold. Aristocrat’s culture of innovation has resulted in the completely new Multiline Baccarat and Baccarat 88 games on our new Arc cabinet, created specifically for the Asia-Pacific marketplace. Based on Baccarat and wrapped in Aristocrat creativity, these will be games to watch. Visit Aristocrat at stand 625.
Asia Gaming Briefings | May 2016
SUPPLIER SPECIAL REPORT 48 BBIN
Cross-platform Transfer Tech
BIN will be bringing its Cross-platform Transfer Tech, among other leading products to G2E Asia in 2016. The technology is used to support gaming products, which can be mutually conversed between any physical devices and slot machines. Theme Baccarat, the latest BBIN Live Casino product, will also be officially introduced as well. Using advanced green screen shooting technology, the live casino product can switch between different backgrounds including a nightclub, modern and holiday themes. HTML5, which has just started to be widely used in gaming product development worldwide, has successfully been applied on most BBIN products. The BBIN platform system is upgraded with complete cash flow data, which provides clients with the most powerful and unique backend management system on the market. In the near future, big data analysis will also be brought in to optimize the performance of the system. Another product on display this year is the BBIN Casino, a powerful app with an all-in-one gaming solution. BBIN has been attending G2E Asia since 2013, and welcomes you to try their products, found at stand 1419.
Proven offerings in Sportsbook
etConstruct will bring its innovative and proven offerings in Sportsbook, Sports Data Solutions, Agent System, Retail Betting Shop Solutions, RNG Casino Suite & Live Dealer Casino to Macau this year. Among the features on show are new margin, limit management and liability tools for its sportsbook product. Partners have greater freedoms to choose which sports, competitions and markets they offer to players as well as the ability to affect the competitiveness of their odds. This live offering now features over 30,000 live matches every month, the biggest choice in the industry, with 40,000+ pre-match events every month and 50 sports types. BetConstruct’s Sportsbook is enhanced with the addition of live eSports offerings in addition to eFootball and eBasketball competitions. Most importantly, the company writes its own algorithms in-house which means it has no reliance on a third party and the delays they can bring. Combined with the new Live Video Streaming Service, BetConstruct partners can now offer their players an unrivalled, engaging sports betting experience. BetConstruct’s Sportsbook also boasts expert risk management and odds compiling, content and account management features, enhanced
with industry-leading fraud and risk management, dedicated account management and 24/7 B2B and B2C support services. All partners benefit from the BetConstruct Spring platform which combines the vertical product suite, powerful back office tools and allinclusive services that help contain operator costs. At the heart of the Spring platform is the Gaming Management System (GMS). GMS from BetConstruct provides a single gaming environment that supports multiple products. It gives operators great flexibility in designing their gaming infrastructures and managing players individually. BetConstruct also offers White Label opportunities for partners wishing to operate with BetConstruct’s licensing assistance. Attendees can find BetConstruct at the show, stand 1808.
Managed trading services
s today’s bookmakers can offer thousands of live betting markets on sports events around the world – the operator who has a truly holistic, cost-effective solution is the one that will stay ahead of the pack. The evolution of the industry means we are all looking for faster and more efficient processes and running a 24/7 sports betting business adds further pressure, resulting in the need for experienced trading staff that are adaptable, but that also possess the knowledge needed to risk manage/trade up to 40 different sports. Betradar’s Managed Trading Service is the answer to these problems, allowing small
Asia Gaming Briefings | May 2016
operators to grow their market share and compete with more established operators, whilst offering larger bookmakers a qualified and stable product scaling opportunity. Providing the fixtures, compiling the odds, monitoring liabilities and finally the settlement of bets – Betradar completely manages all the clients betting operations. Implementing Betradar’s Managed Trading Service will directly help to reduce the size of the team needed by a sportsbook to offer over 320,000 events a year both pre-match and live. The service runs on a ticket-by-ticket basis meaning the liability control and awareness is
effectively at (anonymous) account level – this granular detail leads to a more custom, refined and efficient risk management process. Supporting a service that not only reduces the high-risk business but also caters for the high-staking quality customers, delivering a sensitive and prioritised consideration of the client’s business and their punters. Betradar can be found at stand 437.
ISLE OF MAN. WHERE YOU CAN FIND A WORLD CLASS BASE FOR YOUR E-GAMING BUSINESS 马恩岛是一个欧洲离岸管辖区，我们理解如何并已经成功地和众多亚洲游戏公司 模型合作。许多亚洲最大的游戏公司选择在马恩岛安家。来到马恩岛您会发现这 里有极佳的声誉，先进的基础设施技术，和受严格监管的合规规范，同时您有机 会加入许多亚洲领先的知名游戏品牌。我们诚挚邀请您来马恩岛并加入他们！
Kami ay isang isla sakop sa hurisdiksyon ng Europa, na nakakaunawa at matagumpay na nakapagtrabaho sa modelong pangangalakal ng sugalan ng Asya. Ang isla ay tinaguriang tahanan ng mga kilalang kompanya ng sugalan ng Asya at ipinagmamalaki ito bilang isang lugar na may pinakamahusay na reputasyon, infrastraktura at regulasyon. Halina sa Isle of Man upang kayo ay mapasama sa mga nangunguna at hinahangaang pasugalang kompanya ng Asya. Inaanyayahan namin kayong sumali sa kanila. Kami adalah negara pinter di Eropa yang sangat mengerti dan telah berhasil bekerja sangat sukses dengan model bisnis GAME Asia. Kami adalah rumah bagi perusahaan-perusahaan GAME terbesar di Asia. Kami telah memiliki reputasi, infrastuktur dan regulasi yang terbaik. Dengan mengunjungi Pulau manusia (Isle of Man), anda akan berada di dalam negara di mana banyak pemimpin GAME merk dari Asia berada. Kami mengundang anda untuk bergabung bersama mereka. 我々欧州のオフショア管轄区域は、アジア向けのゲーミングビジネスモデルについて熟 知しており、数々の成功をおさめてきました。 アジアの優れたゲーミング会社の多くがマン島でのライセンスを取得し、運営法人も設 立しています。管轄区域としての信頼性、インフラおよび規制に関しては他のどこより も評価が高く、自信をもってお勧めできます。アジア屈指のゲーミング会社を目指すの であれば、マン島を管轄区域として是非選んでください。決して後悔はさせません。
Mark Robson Head of e-Gaming, Isle of Man Tel: +44 (0) 1624 682 365 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
www.whereyoucan.com/egaming Asia Gaming Briefings | May 2016
SUPPLIER SPECIAL REPORT 50 BETSOFT GAMING
Newest Slots3 hits
Increasing presence in Asia
etsoft Gaming has planned a superb showing at G2E Asia, which will include their newest Slots3 hits, including Frankenslot’s Monster, Birds and the Rise of the Dragon, slated for release later in the year. Frankenslot’s Monster is a zany slots retelling of the classic horror story, featuring larger than life characters who interact with a player’s wins by cheering. In a second screen bonus round, the player can actually control the legendary monster by fiddling with Dr. Frankenslot’s electrical apparatus for up to 25x their line bet win. Birds! introduces innovative cascading reel mechanics, expressed as telephone wires between two poles, upon which eleven adorable avian friends roost. When a winning combo is achieved, those birds will flock up and fly away, making more room for additional birds to land on the ‘reels’ and allowing for more chances to win. With consecutive winning combinations comes the chance for potentially unlimited free spins. Rise of the Dragon tells the story of young ninja Hana, who must rescue her father after his enemy’s attack on the family dojo. This game boasts many different game worlds, supporting the story in vivid detail and lush graphics as the player plays through the game. “G2E Asia is an immensely important event in the gaming industry, focussing on the rapidly burgeoning Asian market,” said Mark McKeown, Betsoft’s VP of sales and marketing. “Betsoft has prepared a delicious sampler of our newest games, which are taking the industry by storm and breaking play session records, and we are certain that these playable demonstration versions are going to be very well received by the show’s attendees. Each game offers something different in terms of theme or mechanics, truly representative of the broad range of quality 3D entertainment we create at Betsoft.” Betsoft will be presenting their 3D games at stand 1602 in the iGaming Zone during the show.
aming testing laboratory and technical consultancy BMM Testlabs is pleased to announce it will be participating at G2E Asia this year. Kirk White, BMM’s executive vice president and general manager of international said: “G2E Asia provides BMM with the opportunity to showcase our world-leading compliance and testing services to our operators, gaming technology manufacturers and online and sports betting organizations in Asia. We consider this to be one of the most important gaming events in the global calendar.” “Over the last year BMM has seen an increasing number of our Asian customers using BMM exclusively. This is due to the high quality of our testing services, customer responsiveness and the support we offer. We expect even more customers to experience BMM’s services in 2016 as more Asian gaming companies enter the industry, looking to serve local markets as we expand globally.” White continued, “BMM understood very early on that setting up local test labs would be key to serving Asia as it continues to emerge as a major regulated gaming market. We currently operate a testing laboratory in Macau in partnership with the Macao Polytechnic Institute (MPI) and a testlab in Singapore. These two locations allow BMM to deliver compliance and testing services to our customers in their own language and time zone with greater expertise than any other test lab.” White concluded, “Both local and international BMM executives and engineers will be available at BMM’s booth this year, to provide advice and expertise to G2E Asia attendees. I would like to encourage all manufacturers, content providers and operators to come and meet with BMM’s experts to discuss their technical compliance and certification needs covering EGM products, igaming games and systems, sports betting products and game mathematical and RNG evaluation needs.” BMM Testlabs will be at stand 918.
Aurora Halo wheel
oulette wheel and table game manufacturer Cammegh will be exhibiting at G2E Asia Macau for the 9th time this year. The show will see the brand new Mercury 360 Aurora Halo wheel make its first appearance in the region having had its debut at ICE in February. The Mercury 360 Aurora Halo wheel is the latest roulette innovation developed by Cammegh and features customizable LED lighting within the ball track which traces the ball and changes colour during various
Asia Gaming Briefings | May 2016
stages of the game, ramping up excitement at the gaming table. Cammegh’s Mercury 360 and custom design Slingshot2TT will be at the stand, joined by the latest 23” & 27” Billboard Display Systems showcasing the very finest Baccarat and roulette graphics, slim-line design, LED lighting strips and the brand new Multiboard, allowing players to see multiple tables on one screen. The popular roulette side bet, Spread Bet Roulette will make its second appearance at G2E Asia having been installed in locations
throughout the UK, Australia, South Africa and India. Cammegh can be found at stand 955 during the show.
SUPPLIER SPECIAL REPORT 51 COLUSSUS BETS
olossus Bets is a B2B provider of the world’s sports jackpots. Headlined by the weekly Pick7 $10,000,000 Colossus, the firm provides its partners access to shared liquidity pools with lottery-sized sports prizes across an increasing range of sports. All Colossus pools feature a leg-by-leg partial cash-out option which enables players to bank profits on their ‘live’ tickets as the matches in a pool are being resolved. Players can sell a part of their ticket back to Colossus and retain a part, thereby ensuring they are still playing for a corresponding share of the jackpot prize. Partial cash-out is becoming a sports betting juggernaut in Europe and Colossus is the only pools operator to provide the feature. Bets made into Colossus pools generate two revenue streams: first on the traditional takeout from bets; and second from the margin charged to players by Colossus on cash-out transactions. Colossus absorbs all of the risk in offering minimum guaranteed prizes, meaning its partners receive risk-free income despite offering their players the world’s most volatile and life-changing jackpots prizes. Whilst benefiting from centralized and global liquidity, Colossus pools offer a fully localized, multi-currency and multilingual solution. Colossus is rapidly expanding the distribution of its pools with a dozen live operator partners across Europe, Africa, Australia and Asia, including Betfair, Ladbrokes and Maxbet. Amongst the deals which Colossus has concluded is an agreement with ONEworks, the leading Asian sports betting software provider, which will provide ONEworks’ licensees with access to Colossus pools. With a new partner going live almost weekly, Colossus is on the way towards building a global sports lottery franchise with jackpot prizes previously unheard of in sports betting.
Continued Asia expansion
omtrade Gaming is an independent software provider to the industry, which, within its worldwide expansion strategy, is rapidly becoming one of Asia’s leading software providers. One of the most resounding recent Asian deals was iCore being selected by Dafabet as their end-to-end iGaming platform. In line with the deal, Comtrade will now be a core supplier to Dafabet’s igaming operations, providing a player management system, bonusing and loyalty, fraud and risk analysis, and game content management. It will also include a full suite of business intelligence and back-office capabilities.
Dafabet’s Group CTO Mark Biegel commented: “As a large operator, the demands and expectations placed on our technology are significantly higher than most other operators. Our partnership with Comtrade Gaming means we can focus our efforts on enhancing the customer experience, safe in the knowledge we have the right platform to support our business.” In order to support its expanding Asian operations, Comtrade Gaming has recently opened an office in Manila.
CRANE PAYMENT INNOVATIONS
Portfolio of automated payment systems
rane Payment Innovations (CPI), a Crane Co. Company, will be exhibiting at G2E Asia this year, bringing a comprehensive portfolio of automated payment systems for the gaming industry. Among the products on display will be the MEI SC Advance note acceptor, EASITRAX Web and PPM Advance support tool. When used together, these products create a powerful cash management solution that enables newfound efficiencies throughout operations. Also on the CPI booth will be the
CashCode MSM BackLoad note acceptor, designed to support door-mounted applications with small footprints such as bingo, roulette and tabletop sports betting terminals. To meet industry demands, it is available in up-stacking and down-stacking configurations. Finally, CPI will feature several coin acceptors and hoppers with varying footprints and capacities to meet individual application requirements. CPI will be found at stand 837 at the show.
Asia Gaming Briefings | May 2016
SUPPLIER SPECIAL REPORT 52 EVERYMATRIX
Fully managed sportsbook
veryMatrix is a software provider with products including a fully managed sportsbook with over 21,000 live events monthly, a world beating selection of more than 3000 games from top providers, a complete gaming and payment processing platform and a standalone affiliate/agent management system. Its s olutions work independently or in connection with each other. Asian operators can integrate our products in a flexible manner via Web API or choose a white label solution, where clients operate under
Gateway to Asia
irst Cagayan Leisure and Resort Corporation (First Cagayan) is the Master Licensor for iGaming in the Cagayan Freeport, Philippines. It is at the forefront of the development and innovation in the iGaming industry. The Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZ A), b eing the Regulator for iGaming in the Cagayan Freeport, holds the ideal regulatory framework, enabling operators to achieve balance of regulations and controls that protect both the players and the operators. The Cagayan Freeport has established itself in the iGaming industry as â€œThe Gateway to Asia.â€? First Cagayan can be found at stand 908.
Asia Gaming Briefings | May 2016
Reinventing virtual sports
olden Race, provider of cutting edge 3D virtual sports-betting, returns to G2E Asia in May this year. Real Fighting is a MMA-based, real video action fighting game, featuring 16 professional fighters in intense 5 round combats across 3 fantasy themed fighting stages - providing players Real Fighting, with real odds from expert bookmakers. Also on display at the Golden Race booth will be the newly released prerecorded Kart Racing and the unique new numbers game Perfect 6, as well as the upcoming 3D Virtual Tennis game. The Golden-Box, will also be on display. With this package, Golden Race provides everything: HDMI output, simultaneous game playback, brand customisation ready, multi-language, multi-currency, incredible small size, intuitive cashier interface, browser-based games access, web-based cashier access, automatic updates, full odds/margins configuration, and event scheduling with the powerful BackOffice management tool. The team at Golden Race looks forward to meeting with the industry in May. Golden Race can be found at stand 1906 during the show.
their own gaming licence or use one from us. Recently, EveryMatrix has enhanced its focus on the Asian market by offering its PartnerMatrix affiliate and agent system as a standalone white label product to operators targeting the region. PartnerMatrix allows affiliates to operate as agents, with the ability to transfer money to specific players, place a bet in the system or place a bet on behalf of a player, whilst at the same time operating as affiliates. EveryMatrix will be present at the show including CEO Ebbe Groes.
Asia Gaming Briefings | May 2016
SUPPLIER SPECIAL REPORT 54 GPI
Currency, table layout and RFID offerings
aming Partners International heads back to Macau for this year’s G2E Asia. GPI is a recognized table games industry leader with its extensive suite of table game products including casino currency, playing cards, layouts and dice. GPI will be showcasing these as well as its newest currency, table layout and RFID offerings to its Asian market customer base. GPI’s extensive suite of chips, plaques and jetons offer customers the latest innovations in design and gaming currency security features. The V-Series, is a Bourgogne et Grasset (BG) injection molded chip that was developed to provide customers an additional gaming currency option with advanced design flexibility. The V-Series chips are unique in that they allow customers to design their chips with a greater amount of versatility. Produced with a new, innovative and highly durable injection material formula, V-Series chips include ChipShield, an anti-fungal, helps keep the gaming chips cleaner, longer for a more sanitary chip surface. For customers who order the V-Series with four or more color shots, the chips come standard with an infra-red security feature exclusive to GPI. Alongside the V-Series, GPI will have on display its unmatched currency collection including its beautiful line of European-style plaques and full range of American-style chips. Customers can see demonstrations of some of the newer security features including 3-in-1 UV and SecuriFilm. GPI will also be demonstrating its SMART RFID which offers the latest advancement in casino currency RFID technology. When used with its Chip Inventory System (CIS) software, SMART delivers a complete currency tracking and authentication solution. SMART can be integrated with third party software for optimum efficiency. SMART is available on all of GPI’s currency brands. Customers will also see GPI’s table essentials including its Gemaco playing cards and full graphic EGC layouts. EGC layouts provide sharp, full color graphics that can duplicate almost any photo or sophisticated design with exacting precision. Ideal for all game types, EGC layouts give dealers and players an exceptional playing surface and are a durable and economical choice that provides extraordinary design flexibility. For more information, visit GPI gaming at stand 1433.
Asia Gaming Briefings | May 2016
First show in Asia
uality slots and table games provider Habanero will be showcasing their impressive games portfolio at G2E Asia 2016. Located at stand 1925, the company will be exhibiting at its first show in Asia, following a hugely successful debut at London’s ICE Totally Gaming earlier this year. Among the games include the highlyacclaimed Fa Cai Shen, Arcane Elements, Roman Empire, and 12 Zodiacs. The interface for each slot is very easy to use and the rotation from landscape to portrait works perfectly, even on the smallest device, always using the full real estate of the screen. As a result, they are perfect for the next generation of tech-savvy Asian players, brought up on console gaming. Head of sales Daniel Long will be on site
in Macau, alongside the rest of Habanero’s senior team, to talk to visitors about their innovative offerings. And, if you’ve not done so already, you can also try out Habanero’s games ahead of the show at their demo site: haba88.com Habenero can be found at stand 1925.
OnPremise mobile betting solution
nternational Game Technology PLC will present a broad portfolio of gaming innovations and market-leading systems solutions at G2E Asia. “IGT is constantly evaluating how we can leverage meaningful innovation in new and existing product segments to differentiate our customers’ casino floors and exceed players’ expectations. At G2E Asia, IGT will introduce the next generation of our OnPremise mobile betting solution with back betting and side betting features that can help our customers further capitalize on the immense regional popularity of baccarat, while meeting the increasing player demand for mobile gaming solutions,” said Walter Bugno,CEO International of IGT OnPremise’s new back betting feature utilizes embedded technology that enables casino patrons to play at multiple live tables simultaneously through their smartphone or tablet from any permitted area within a casino. IGT will also demonstrate the product’s back betting with side bets capabilities that can seamlessly integrate into existing Players’ Club programs and enables players to earn rewards for OnPremise play. IGT’s OnPremise solution is designed to open up the mobile world to land-based casinos and provide gaming opportunities that go beyond the limits of
physical expansion. Other key features of OnPremise for players and operators include: omni-channel games, one-touch access, player loyalty programs, convenience applications and more. IGT continues to expand its systems footprint throughout the APAC region, and can meet the unique systems needs of any size or type of gaming venue. IGT will present IGT Advantage, GALAXIS and SYSTEM2go casino management systems -- all tools designed to run efficient operations, attract and retain players, and drive revenue. Other products at the stand include a range of linked progressive titles, standalone themes on IGT’s CrystalDual cabinet, standalone themes on IGT’s G23 cabinet, TRUE 3D technology titles, spinning reel S3000 cabinet titles and Ascent platformcompatible titles. IGT can be found at stand 601 at the show.
SUPPLIER SPECIAL REPORT 55 INTEPLAY
Innovative lineup of titles
ishing Royal is a game with innovative gameplay mechanics. Catch as many fish as you can in Fishing Royale to receive huge bonuses and progress through different level setups. With many bonus stages and levels that change the gameplay immensely. Fishing Royale also has amazing tablet controls allowing it to be played cross platform so that everyone can join in the fun. Burst Block is a new impressive game in Inteplay’s lineup which provides endless entertainment. Burst Block is a unique take on a classic slot style game. Instead of watching the prizes spin by, the player smashes open blocks never knowing what may lie beneath. With each new set of blocks comes a completely randomized set of symbols giving the player a fair chance at winning big no matter how many rounds they play. Caribbean poker is a fresh take on the traditional game Poker. This new style of five card poker gives the player a unique advantage over the dealer allowing the player to see one of the dealer’s cards before deciding whether or not to stay or double their bet. Inteplay has also revealed the latest addition
to their collection of video slot games, Candy Club. The slot game features a fairytale candy theme with a mission-based game consisting of three levels. The main attraction however, is the bonus Eat Candy stage. After the player clears all 3 levels, Eat Candy stage is unlocked. During the bonus stage, the player receives a base credit of 1000 and final payout of the round is 30 percent of everything won in this bonus round plus 1000 credits. Should the player’s winnings in this round fall under 1000, the player still receives 1000 credit. Every bet made contributes to the Jackpot, it is won once the winning combination appears. As well as this, Inteplay will also present its new innovative online casino game, King of Fruits. The game is a traditional fruit machine game. Using the classical and famous symbols - apple, orange, grape, bell, watermelon, star, 7 and BAR, and 1 new special symbol Good Luck. The player can then decide how much they wish to bet on the individual symbol and then have the chance to win the big prizes which is different for each symbol. Attendees can find Inteplay at stand 1513.
Latest gaming arsenal on display
esktop and mobile game supplier iSoftBet will be returning to G2E Asia with a brand new arsenal of its latest gaming software. iSoftBet’s dedicated team of experienced designers and developers have created games ranging from traditional Vegas-style slots to video pokers and table games. The team from the UK and Manila offices will be travelling to Macau from May 17-19 to showcase the company’s latest slots including Astro Magic, Shaolin Spin along with some future ones lined up for 2016. iSoftBet is a global powerhouse in the online casino industry. Boasting a remarkable collection of fully licenced and certified Flash and HTML5 mobile games, the iSoftBet portfolio also includes exclusive branded content from some of the world’s largest TV and film studios. iSoftBet encourages everyone to come by and experience the technology advancement during the exhibition. iSoftBet will be at stand 1745.
Diamond, MiniStar, and StarBar
uxury gaming manufacturer Interblock has announced that the company will exhibit its Diamond, MiniStar, and StarBar product lines at G2E Asia. Senior vice president of Asia Pacific, Cameron Louis said, “Our objective in exhibiting at G2E Asia is to show our continued dedication to this market and to our customers in delivering products that support their operations and their growth as we enter new Asian markets. We recently reentered Macau with our current generation of products, and are looking to expand further into new markets.” Interblock has steadily grown its footprint across the Asia Pacific region in recent years due to its keen focus on providing a traditional table experience through premium, fastpaced, secure gaming devices. The company’s Diamond product line, which was displayed at G2E Asia in 2015, is now placed in the Macau market with some of the largest operators in the world, exceeding expectations.
The company will be exhibiting a mix of its Diamond products with games such as Roulette, Sic-Bo, Blackjack, and Baccarat in addition to its MiniStar Roulette, which delivers all of the features its Diamond line offers but designed with a smaller footprint. StarBar is an impressive multi-play and multigame play station that is playable directly from the bar’s counter, and has been specifically designed to maximize casino space and fit stylishly into any bar area. StarBar offers the whole range of Interblock games as well as video poker games. Global CEO John Connelly said, “Asia continues to be one of the fastest growing electronic table game markets for our company. G2E Asia offers us a unique platform to demonstrate products developed specifically for this market and to gather insight about how we can better support our customers’ needs.” Interblock can be found at stand 1041 during the show. Asia Gaming Briefings | May 2016
SUPPLIER SPECIAL REPORT 56 JCM GLOBAL
Bill validation and printing solutions
CM Global’s portfolio of bill validation and printing products will be showcased at the upcoming G2E Asia. “We are honored to have achieved the high levels of success we have in Macao and across the Asia-Pacific region,” Ian Payne, general manager of JCM Global Australasia said. “As we come to G2E Asia, we are humbled to present a strong portfolio that is field-proven to help operators conduct business better, smarter, and faster while making better customer connections.” From its bill validation solution line, JCM will show the award-winning iVIZION, which combines a 99 percent + acceptance rate with the industry-leading Contact Image Sensor (CIS) technology that sees the entire front and back of a note or ticket, for the highest levels of security. TBV has the ability to accept single notes or bulk notes, up to 50 at a time, all with incredibly powerful sensing and anti-stringing technologies to defeat counterfeiters and other cheats. Lastly, DBV-500 has cash box capacity options of 500/1000/1500 notes and 8 wavelengths of high-precision optical sensors to provide the highest levels counterfeit protection. Working in concert with the bill validators is JCM’s Intelligent Cash Box ICB 3.0 system, which increases accuracy and eliminates human error, and its web reporting empowers users to view reports from the casino floor in real time. For printing solutions, JCM offers the award-winning GEN2 Universal, which features universal communication ports, a larger paper capacity, Intelligent Ticket Handling technology, jam-reducing IntelligentBezel system and available 2-color printing technology. JCM will also show the hand-held firmwareupload tool BlueWave Deluxe, which allows users to easily load and upgrade validator firmware right at the kiosk. JCM can be found on stand 537.
Asia Gaming Briefings | May 2016
Catering to the Asian market
lphabet offers a comprehensive product package including gaming machines, casino management system, and technical service support. Alphabet will launch a brand new slot machine game that merges the Chinese mythology hero, Monkey King (Sun Wu Kong), with modern cultural elements. Alphabet’s booth also combines cutting edge technology with the Monkey King’s hometown, Mountain of Flower and Fruit, as stated in the novel, “Journey to the West”. After years of research and development on the preferences of the Asian market, Alphabet will also present its upgraded award winning Long Dragon Baccarat this year. Long Dragon Baccarat offers a multi-terminal platform that can link a player to as many as eight active tables. One of the most vibrant features of Long Dragon Baccarat is Long Bonus. The Long Bonus is focusing on continued banker or player winning streak on the same table,
allowing players to place side bets on the winning streak. With each successful win, the payout increases. This feature can go up to a maximum 20 win, which has a payout of 1000x return. Alphabet’s sister company, GAMA System, offers a full suite of modules designed to manage, maintain and analyze your gaming operations. The system focuses on table and slot gaming, offering reports and functions that can be learned quickly and used easily on the casino floor. GAMA System not only offers an innovative manageable system, but also focuses on the post-sales support and future expansion upgrades. Alphabet can be found at stand 1307.
atsui has extended its portfolio of gaming currency through investment on new security and moulding technology. In addition to traditional security features such as Visible & Invisible UV, Matsui introduces their MG EYE security, new generation EAS gate check and latest Material Track security. As well as this, the PEARL decal chips will also be introduced at G2E Asia 2016. Shigeki Machida, managing director of Matsui Asia, commented: “We are very excited to introduce those new gaming chips as well as other core products of Matsui such as high durable heavy weight layouts to our customers at G2E Asia 2016. We are also very excited to announce at G2E Asia a licensing agreement for PJM RFID gaming chips. With high quality MATSUI Chips, PJM RFID is a perfect match. This will surely provide even more choice and performance for our customers.” In response to the demand for Matsui’s Table Layout, Matsui recently has expanded production capacity. New machineries and equipment have been installed to further
speed up and improve the quality of products. The facility has also strengthened manufacturing security for gaming chips with state of the art technology. “We have been re-investing a lot of our revenue to upgrade our production facility and improve the quality of our products. This is the reason Matsui Chips and Layouts are chosen by more and more operators. We are looking forward to meeting our friends and new customers at G2E Asia 2016 to share what we can offer,” said Machida. Visit Matsui at stand 949 at G2E.
Asia Gaming Briefings | May 2016
SUPPLIER SPECIAL REPORT 58 MEDIATECH SOLUTIONS
Iris and Candy
ediatech Solutions is a product and services provider with a focus on the international gambling market. Mediatech’s main business is the provision of its omni-channel platform, IRIS, and its land-based extension, CANDY. IRIS is Mediatech’s next-generation, featurepacked, API-driven, omni-channel, real-time, operator-centric, massively-scalable, real-money gaming platform. Meanwhile, CANDY offers all the benefits of an online operation in a land-based format, offering a wide range of terminals from several manufacturers and the best game providers in the world via our platform. These operations are managed via a single-wallet and a customizable back-office for advanced player management, third-party data management, marketing tools, automated fraud management and workflow management. Mediatech’s platform is used by over 20
percent of the Spanish online market. Besides Europe, the firm has been expanding into other regions including Asia, LATAM, CIS and Africa. A strong leadership team with more than 20 years of gaming experience at both suppliers and tier-one operators ensures that we fundamentally understand how to implement and grow your gaming business. The firm was recently nominated in the “Multi-channel supplier” category at the 2016 EGR B2B awards. Mediatech Asia was established in 2013 with headquarters in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to service the Asia Pacific market with unique product lines, dedicated account management, support and sales. Wi t h a d i v e r s e a n d experienced team on the
Win Sum Dim Sum
icrogaming’s May game release is Win Sum Dim Sum is a 5x3 reel, a nine payline game packed with flavour. Set in a Chinese restaurant adorned with teapots and bamboo steamers, the reels are filled with appetising visuals, including various dim sum delicacies such as Ha Gow and Shu Mai. This easy-to-play game is packed with features, from free spins and expanding wilds, to in-game achievements. Free spins are activated when three or more teapot scatters land anywhere on the reels in the base game, awarding 15 retriggerable free spins. In addition, the bamboo steamer symbol is wild, and the game boasts the popular expanding wilds feature, which significantly increases the player’s chances of winning in both the base game and free spins. If the wild symbol lands on reel three in the base game, and either on reels two, three and four in free spins, wilds expand to contribute to a winning combination. With a minimum bet of just 0.10, Win Sum Dim Sum has wins of up to 75,000 credits. The slot was released crossplatform to Microgaming and Quickfire operators, available in 20 languages, on desktop, mobile and tablet on May 4, 2016. Neill Whyte, Head of Product Channels at Microgaming, comments: “May’s game release pairs trusted game features with a fun theme set for global appeal. This game adds to our growing cross-platform offering whilst expanding our popular Asian-themed catalogue.” Other Asian-inspired games from Microgaming include, Lucky Koi, Wild Orient, Dragon Dance and Serenity, which will all be showcased at G2E Asia on Microgaming’s stand, 1037.
Asia Gaming Briefings | May 2016
ground, the company has partnered with some of the best regional content providers and leading equipment suppliers. These partnerships, coupled with its highly flexible and scalable IRIS platform, allow Mediatech to offer a truly local product range for each market across Asia. Mediatech Asia is now expanding its products and services to iGaming operators as well as land-based operations in the Asia Pacific region.
ovomatic Gaming Industries will be represented on the stand of the company’s key Asian distributor, Jade Entertainment & Gaming Technologies at this year’s G2E Asia. At the heart of show floor, Jade will create a relaxed atmosphere offering visitors a selection of food and beverages while displaying a range of new products for the Asian market. Found at stand 1020, Jade will present a bank of Novostar II cabinets, unveiled for the first time in Asia. The Novostar II is the result of transforming the international hit Gaminator cabinet into a new terminal that combines proven and re-engineered components. A selection of games will be featured including the new game mix designed specifically for the cabinet, The One & Only mix. Also on show will be the Dominator and its sister cabinet the Dominator Curve, both hugely successful on casino floors worldwide. After making its international debut at ICE in February, the brand new Gaminator Scorpion looks to create an impact in the Asian market and will be displayed in a bank of four machines with industryleading content. The company will also display its V.I.P. cabinets at G2E Asia this year, including the Novostar V.I.P. II that is already proven as a global industry hit, as well as the brand new V.I.P. Lounge that offers the V.I.P. Experience in a space-optimized lounge format. Jade and Novomatic can be found at stand 1020.
SUPPLIER SPECIAL REPORT 59 PALTRONICS
Outstanding growth in Asia
Combining land-based, online and leisure
riental Holdings Ltd., the fast-growing gaming and leisure enterprise, will be among the new exhibitors that will grace this year’s G2E Asia. The company will showcase its portfolio of products and services which comprises of an amalgamation of land-based, online gaming, and resorts and leisure. All of Oriental Holding’s subsidiaries will be exhibiting at the event, including Eastern Hawaii Leisure Company Ltd, the premier hotel and resort destination in the northern part of the Philippines, Oriental Group, the leading gaming operator in the online and land-based gaming industry that is the first to offer telephone (proxy) betting in the Philippines to go along with its live gaming operations, Oriental Game, a live dealer solutions provider in the Asian market that takes pride in offering clients the best partnership methods available for them and will be out to highlight its new features and functions to potential customers and clients and OG VIP Club, a VIP gaming area that has unique contemporary design and amenities that brings its players closer to comfort and luxury in Bloomberry’s Solaire. The team can be found at stand 1933 to present and demo its gaming products.
his year, Paltronics Macau celebrates G2E Asia’s 10th anniversary. Kylie Rogers, vice president of operations Asia of Paltronics Macau has proudly been involved in all 10 shows and is confident this year’s show will be Paltronics Macau’s most successful. “The growth we have seen not only in Macau but across other regions of Asia has been outstanding with our One Link product. Designed to be a versatile and scalable solution it seamlessly blends integration across casinos with media, non gaming and gaming, but most impressive of all we can link a bank, an area, a floor, the entire casino and multiple casinos,” said Rogers. One Link is an effortless management of your media and jackpots with one system which can all be displayed using our range of customised LEDs. The LEDs offer sharp, clear and crisp meters and animations, our LEDs are all about the visibility, added Rogers. G2E Asia will also see Paltronics launch two new exciting additions to the table range of products -Infinity ADR and Clarity Roulette. Infinity ADR is a unique dice recognition system that integrates with the Infinity Dice shaker. The system uses imaging technology to quickly and accurately read dice results - an important security feature to counter against dealer malpractice and to allow automated results to be fed to e-tables
and online platforms. Clarity Roulette uses an ultra thin laminated underfelt lighting system to liven up and illuminate the Roulette playing surface. The under lighting substrate is only 18mm deep and can therefore be retrofitted within the Roulette table top without the need for any expensive table modifications. Clarity Roulette enhances the game and draws players to the table. A strong “No More Bets” signal helps game security and winning number results light up to aid the dealer and player alike. In addition to these exciting new products, Paltronics Macau will also be exhibiting its Spectra Winning Number Displays and the Clarity Sic Bo table. “These two additions to the table products lineup are just part of the development process we are undertaking to keep us at the forefront of technology,” said Rogers. Paltronics are also happy to have Gaming Entertainment Systems (GES) at the stand, exhibiting their dynamic real time Jackpot Poker System which has proven to reverse the demise of once flourishing Poker Room and significantly drive attendance back upward. Another exciting development for the Asian market is the unique Lucky Tie Baccarat Progressive, which features communal jackpot payouts. Paltronics Macau can be found at stand 937.
High quality casino games
layson Ltd, a European Content Developer is exhibiting for the first time at G2E Asia on stand 1845 to demonstrate their beautiful portfolio of RNG Casino Table and Slot machine games. Playson will launch their suite of 35+, high production quality, online casino games into the Asian market at the show. Already a leading brand in Europe with popular game titles such as Dracula’s Family, Alice in Wonderslots and Bumper Crop, Playson’s 250+ employees work to release
beautifully designed games, with unique math models designed to appeal to a wide cross section of players as well as high rollers. All Playson Games are released on both desktop and mobile versions simultaneously, allowing clients to market the game to their full player base from day one. The games are translated into multiple languages and support a wide number of currencies. Playson also offers “Gift Spin” functionality to allow operators to offer players free-spins for real money as a marketing incentive.
Customers of Microgaming Quickfire and IsoftBet can also come to the Playson stand to discuss obtaining Playson games via those two platforms. Additionally Playson will perform direct integrations with operators who wish to work directly with their game providers. Attendees looking for unique, quality content for your RNG Casino offering, content that will be new for players are encouraged to come to the Playson stand at 1845 for a demonstration of games with the Playson Sales staff.
Asia Gaming Briefings | May 2016
SUPPLIER SPECIAL REPORT 60 SCIENTIFIC GAMES
Bringing top brands
cientific Games’ unmatched diversity of products and system solutions from the company’s array of top brands will be on display at G2E Asia 2016, held at The Venetian Macao Convention & Exhibition Center. Demonstrating its unique position as a global supplier of choice for casino operators, the lineup includes exciting new releases from it’s expanding slot library, a baccarat progressive jackpot and a breakthrough in roulette technology that brings players closer to the game than ever before. Senior Vice President Ken Jolly commented: “Every year we step it up and 2016 is no exception. We’ve got our Dualos that brings together technology to create a best of breed slot cabinet and our Systems
are taking player information and translating into competitive advantage for our customers as two great examples on how we’re realising
Exciting Baccarat makes debut
ega Sammy Creation will exhibit their second product “Exciting Baccarat” at the upcoming G2E Asia show. Featuring special side games “Exciting Reward” and “Progressive Jackpot”, players will be given the chance to obtain even higher payouts. The player can also pick their preferred dealer from five beautiful and alluring girls. Also on display will be Sega Sammy’s first product “Sicbo Bonus Jackpot” which can already be found at various casino floors in Macau. The product has became popular among casino fans
our goals to bring entertainment, security, creative content and innovative technology to the market.” Products on display this year include new slots titles such as Da Fu Da Gui, proprietary table games, new utilities, which include U-Spin and i-Score Roulette and the ultimate security, Safe-Bacc system. Along with the above, SG Interactive will also present the SG Universe product suite featuring multiple platforms that empower land-based casinos to increase engagement with their players at home, on-the-go, and during each visit to the casino floor. Scientific Games can be found at stand 1005 during the show.
SILVER GOOSE 8
because of its exciting features – a dice floating system with massive scale and a special side game, “Cai Shen Progressive Jackpot” which allows every player a chance to win the jackpot without any side bets. Sega Sammy Creation was first established in June 2013 as a gaming machine manufacturer that provides the sensation of fun and excitement to casino fans around the world with the “More Fun! More Excitement!” spirit. The company can be found at stand 441 at the show.
ilver Goose 8 International Inc. (SG8), an integrated, all-inclusive online gaming platform provider, will be exhibiting at the Global Gaming Expo Asia. SG8 offers a wide spectrum of gaming products including online casino, live dealer, sports, Keno, 5050 and multi-player poker, which will be on display over the course of the exhibition. As a technology and gaming platform provider for PAGCOR regulated electronic gaming outlets in the Philippines and international gaming operators, SG8 prides itself on being an allinclusive solution provider for the industry. SG8 can be found at stand 310 at the show.
Asia Gaming Briefings | May 2016
SUPPLIER SPECIAL REPORT
Electronic table game solutions
pintec will present new solutions for Automated Sic Bo, Virtual Baccarat and Virtual Sic Bo, alongside its flagship product Automated Karma Roulette in luxurious gold edition at the upcoming G2E Asia show. Igor Lombar, CEO of Spintec said: “Asia is a very important market for us. Our Automated Karma Roulette is present in every casino in Macau. Players like them because of their ergonomics and simplicity of the interface, operators like them because of their above average gaming performance and technical stability. We applied all these winning characteristics to new products.” “We got great feedback from their first introduction at ICE and we are eager to get feedback from the Asian market, given that Automated Sic Bo and Virtual Baccarat were developed primarily for Asia.” added Lombar. Other distinctive features of the Karma product line are: comfort
designed for and around the player, intuitive interface for ease of play, extreme modularity and custommade designs. Modularity allows operators the freedom to adapt and optimize the floor portfolio with gaming solutions, whenever the need for additional terminals or additional games is required. Custom-made design offers the possibility of choosing unique colors and materials to match interior of every casino. Karma line consists of fully automated games, virtual solutions, live solutions and connection to live games for Roulette, Sic Bo and Baccarat. Spintec can be found at stand 1359.
Cash handling solutions
UZOHAPP, the leading supplier of cash handling solutions, spares and components for the global gaming industry, will be presenting a mix of well-known products and solutions alongside a range of new innovations that will be shown for the first time in Asia. The Interactive Pro Table has greatly updated content and can already be found at major casinos, particularly in Las Vegas. This is complemented by a new version of addon TV and display options. Naturally SUZOHAPP will be showing a wide range of components, such as the LCD button display panel (where all buttons are integrated into one solution) and the ‘Charge N Play’ USB charger (allowing players to recharge their smartphones whilst enjoying their gaming entertainment). As the exclusive global distributor for TRANSACT, SUZOHAPP will be placing these award-winning printers in a prominent position on its stand, including the EPIC 950 and the EPIC 880 printers. The latest editions of the SUZOHAPP family will have the opportunity to show their solutions for the first time at a G2E Asia show. The COMESTERO RM5 HD is the reference for electronic coin validation with well over one million and half units already in the field. SCAN COIN provides a wealth of coin and note sorting/ counting solutions. SUZOHAPP will be showing five different solutions on its stand - SC313 and SC360 coin counters, DTC6 coin sorter, SC8100 note counter and VC100D Mini. Geoff McDowell, SUZOHAPP APAC managing director said: “Never before have we had so many components and solutions to proudly display. Operators cannot afford to miss coming to see us and discover our best-in-class products able to add real value to their business. We invite our customers to join us to find out more.” SUZOHAPP is looking forward to welcome customers and attendees at stand 941.
TCS JOHN HUXLEY
Gaming Floor Live platform
CSJOHNHUXLEY will be showcasing its Gaming Floor Live platform with a focus on efficiency and optimisation at G2E Asia. With casino budgets tightening, operators require solutions that enhance their bottom line and streamline operations. These key elements will be demonstrated through the GFL system’s modules and technologyenabled products. Rebecca Kingswell, TCSJOHNHUXLEY managing director APAC said: “The current market conditions highlight the need for operators to optimize their gaming floors and improve efficiencies. Instead of relying
solely on experience and guesswork to make operational changes, casinos can now work smarter and more efficiently, using data to drive decisions. The powerful range of GFL modules puts information and solutions at the operator’s fingertips, so they can make the best possible use of resources and minimise costs.” The company will showcase Gaming Floor Live’s key modules at the show – Optimisation, Bonusing, Gaming and Media. These modules will help casinos save time and money by indicating where attention is needed the most. Gaming Floor Live provides
operators with the ability to react quickly to changing levels and requirements of player activity and allows them to make full use of the optimisation potential of system. Another important product being showcased is Blaze. Available for Sicbo, Roulette and Money Wheel, Blaze LED surface technology is a sophisticated illumination system that adds excitement and entertainment for customers and increases security on the casino floor. To experience the power of the Gaming Floor Platform modules and products, visit TCSJOHNHUXLEY’s Asia team at stand 1445. Asia Gaming Briefings | May 2016
SUPPLIER SPECIAL REPORT 62 WEIKE GAMING
eike Gaming Technology will feature an outstanding lineup of new developments in Slots, Jackpot Links and Asian themed standalone games at G2E Asia in Macau. Also on showcase will be an array of products in Weike’s electronic table game portfolio. The region will be the first to look at Weike’s new multi-player electronic table game series, the METG Gen 3. The METG series currently has strong popularity with players in Vietnam, and the Gen 3 offers operators to choose to configure the product either as Fully Automated or Partially Automated (Dealer Assisted) Table Game. Also on display, in conjunction with partner Casino Game Maker is Weike’s multi-game ETG offering, allowing the player to play up to eight games on Baccarat or three games of Roulette at the same time. One of the highlights at G2E will be a number of Ultiways and Line games, and Weike’s first “Multi-game Classic” in the Infinity-X Slot cabinet. “We are investing for the future and we always have the customers in focus,” said Dato Poh Po Lian, executive chairman of Weike Gaming Technology. “It is important to have a long term perspective and always make sure we give the best combination of product requirements and value for money in every market.” Weike can be found at stand 1327.
Monkey King launches
IN Gaming, supplier of slots and table games for the expanding Asian online gaming market has launched the new flagship video slot ‘Monkey King’. Inspired by a famous mythological character from classical Chinese novel ‘Journey to the West’, a story known by millions across the country, Monkey King is a 5-reel, 3-row, 25-line video slot that offers a host of special features. Players will be able to boost their winnings with wild substitutions, four exciting mini features and progressive bonus spins. The latter of these features is set out similarly to classic video game ‘Street Fighter’, with players having to battle it out with four big enemies to earn victory bonuses. For each level a player progresses, their multiplier, along with the size of the prize they can win, will significantly increase. Mathias Larsson, chief executive of XIN Gaming, said: “Having already launched a selection of exciting titles in the Asian market this year, Monkey King once again highlights our position as the leading supplier of games in the region. “Journey to the West is a very famous story known to many throughout China and Monkey King is one of the most well-known characters from the novel. We expect to have plenty of interest from Chinese players, who can win big by battling bosses in our special progressive bonus spins feature.” XIN Gaming will showcase its portfolio of Asian-focused games at stand 1137.
Live gaming turnkey solution
PG’s latest live casino and poker broadcasts real time casino and poker games from the studio onto players’ desktops. Easily integrated with virtually any existing gaming platform on the market, the system can be fully customized to suite any branding needs. XPG live gaming turnkey solution is a fast method for casino operators to provide real casino and poker games in a user-friendly, graphically rich, true-to-life casino environment. Broadcasting live from their European studio, which is managed and operated by seasoned pit bosses and casino managers, XPG can offer a complete solution which includes web design, game customization, translation services and a comprehensive, easy- to-use, casino management system. The range of European and Asian casino games includes several types of Roulette, Blackjack and Baccarat; Asian games Dragon Tiger, Sic Bo, Dragon Roulette and Wheel of Fortune. For poker lovers there are Casino Hold’em, Caribbean poker and Multi Player Texas Hold’em. Unique side-bets Baccarat Super 6, Dragon Tiger and Bet Behind are available in the system. New features Multi Games and Squeeze It will also create a thrilling game experience. Having teamed up with such leaders in gambling industry as Betsoft, Betradar, Pragmatic Play and Concept Gaming, XPG provides the full range of virtual games (slots, table games, sports betting and more) from its partners within the same integration. XPG can be found at stand 1337 at the show.
Next generation of integrated resorts
om Wucherer, CEO & Founder of YWS will speak on May 18th at the Venetian in Macau during the G2E Asia conference on the panel entitled - “Transformation in Changing Conditions: What Do the New Integrated Resorts Look Like?”. Moderated by Andrew S. Zarnett, managing director of Deutsche Bank, with his fellow panelist Steve Rittvo, chairman & CEO of the Innovation Group, the panel will explore the changing conditions affecting the new integrated resorts
Asia Gaming Briefings | May 2016
and the evolution of the IR gaming experience. They will discuss the importance of market driven offerings as well as consumer trends and leisure/ entertainment preferences. They will also explore how governments can plan phased development of IRs, and what infrastructure and regulations outside the facility can bring the highest return to the jurisdiction. YWS, global leader in leisure design is an expert in the psychology of leisure experience. Specializing in hospitality, gaming, retail, dining
and entertainment environments, YWS leverages its internal market research & consumer insights department to inform its designs. Trusted by some of the biggest names in the industry including MGM Resorts International, Crown Resorts Limited, Wynn Resorts, Resorts World and more, YWS provides market led solutions coupled with world class design. For more information about YWS or to receive a copy of our latest whitepapers, visit us at G2E Asia in booth 913.
Asia Gaming Briefings | May 2016
A DECADE SUCCESS SUPPLIER SPECIAL REPORT
G2E Asia Sustains Strong Local Support for Landmark 10th Edition G2E Asia has become a significant platform for gaming development in Macau and Asia, and this will be clearly illustrated on the show floor, thanks in large part to tremendous support from industry authorities, trade associations, government and international consulates.
Asia Gaming Briefings | May 2016
E OF The Right Place for an All-Inclusive Overview of Asian Gaming Since 2007, G2E Asia has established itself in Macau as a unique event in Asia. From the beginning, it has become a gaming and entertainment industry platform, where professionals gather to network, source new products, discover fresh solutions and keep up with the latest industry trends. Having proven over 10 years its commitment to serving industry needs and propelling forward the development of Macau SAR, G2E Asia has grown into an invaluable platform that convenes industry authorities, trade associations, government and international consulates to exchange ideas, have new experiences and learn about the latest advances in gaming and entertainment. To help the event remain relevant to the industry and to support Macauâ€™s growth, G2E Asia pointedly engages local authorities to understand Macau's development direction and initiatives. By talking to representatives at consulates and at trade offices, the show team promotes cross-border trade, helping overseas exporters and local companies to explore partnership and business opportunities both in Macau and across Asia.
G2E Asia won the Branded Exhibition Award at the 2015 Macao Convention and Exhibition Commendation Awards
Industry Honors and Learning Opportunities Boost Value of G2E Asia
Local Industry Support Enhances G2E Asia Effectiveness By engaging trade associations, the G2E Asia show team is able to gather insights and industry expertise to enrich the content of the event. Academicians, too, play a key role in developing local talent to better feed industry needs and support trade development. A third element that the G2E Asia show team integrates into every installment is to bring valuable insights from respected scholars of esteemed research institutes, for the benefit of the visitors. Through well-developed workshop topics, influenced by prevailing industry needs, what G2E Asia provides to the Asia market gaming education that is second to none. Each year, gaming regulators from across Asia gather on the trusted G2E Asia platform to learn from one another. This is a significant part of why, within trade circles, the show has been recognized as the leading one of its kind in Asia, since its inception in 2007.
Together with strong industry-wide support, G2E Asia has distinguished itself with a number of honors, including the Branded Exhibition Award at the inaugural 2015 Macao Convention and Exhibition Commendation Awards. Another unique advantage of the show is the fact that G2E Asia is the gaming industry's only UFI-Approved event in Asia. Across its shows, Reed invests deeply in the communities in which it works. For G2E Asia, the exhibition organizer has done so by investing in local talent through the Gaming Management Certification Program (GMCP) since 2007. Conducted in partnership with gaming professors at the University of Macau, the program has trained more than 750 participants over the years. The GMCP includes special interactive educational workshops designed to help new casino managers in Asia further their knowledge of current gaming trends in Macau. There is also the All-Asia Dealers Championship, in partnership with Asia Gaming Brief to develop an international platform for croupiers to further hone their skills and showcase their talents over three popular games: baccarat; roulette and black jack. Looking ahead to the next decade, G2E Asia looks to continue its strategy of integrating innovative new launches into the show and working closely withlocal industry authorities, trade associations, government and international consulates for its continued success.
Asia Gaming Briefings | May 2016
Conference Keynote Speech at G2E Asia 2007
CALENDAR OF EVENTS 66
G2E ASIA 17-19 May 2016 The Venetian Macao www.g2easia.com ASIA GAMING AWARDS 17 May 2016 The Venetian Macao www.asiagamingawards.com IAGA INTERNATIONAL GAMING SUMMIT 31 May - 2 June 2016 Westin Dragonara, Malta www.theiaga.org www.gigse.com
RUSSIAN GAMING WEEK 2-3 June 2016 Sokolniki, Moscow www.rgweek.ru/en iGAMING SUPER SHOW 7-10 June 2016 Amsterdam RAI, Netherlands www.igamingsupershow.com
JULY WORLD GAMING EXECUTIVE SUMMIT 4-6 July 2016 W Hotel, Barcelona, Spain www.terrapinn.com/conference/world-gaming-executivesummit/index.stm
EUROPEAN iGAMING EXPO (EIG) 18-20 October 2016 Arena Berlin, Germany www.eigexpo.com EAST MEETS WEST REGULATORS SUMMIT 26-28 October 2016 El Nido Pangulasian Island, Philippines Email: email@example.com
AUGUST AUSTRALASIAN GAMING EXPO (AGE) 9-11 August 2016 Sydney Exhibition Centre @Glebe Island, Australia www.austgamingexpo.com GAMING, RACING & WAGERING AUSTRALIA 8-10 August 2016 Novotel Darling Harbour, Sydney, Australia www.gamingdownunder.com
MACAO GAMING SHOW (MGS) 15-17 November 2016 The Venetian, Macau www.macaogamingshow.com ASIAN GAMING SOCIAL 15 November 2016 The Venetian Macao www.facebook.com/AsianGamingNetworking
SEPTEMBER ASIAN GAMING SOCIAL 9 September 2016 Manila, Philippines www.facebook.com/AsianGamingNetworking GLOBAL GAMING EXPO (G2E) 27-29 September 2016 Sands Expo Center, Las Vegas, USA www.globalgamingexpo.com
MALTA iGAMING SEMINAR (MiGS) 15-18 November 2016 Corinthia Hotel St Georgeâ€™s Bay, Malta www.maltaigamingseminar.com SUMMIT OF iGAMING MALTA (SiGMA) 16-19 November 2016 Intercontinental Arena, Malta www.maltaigamingsummit.com
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Asia Gaming Briefings | May 2016
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The subject of regulation in Asia’s markets has been front and foremost recently, with the $81 million in proceeds from a heist of Bangladesh’s central bank being laundered through casinos in the Philippines.
T Sharon Singleton
Managing Editor, AGB
he audacity of the case and the fact that the casinos appear to fall outside the scope of Manila’s anti-money laundering regulations have highlighted serious flaws. However, what is also striking is how much money the region’s governments are leaving on the table through stalled, or abandoned efforts to either overhaul or introduce gambling legislation. While investors see considerable potential, the rules that would give them the ability to commit funds are often inadequate, ambiguous or non-existent. From Japan, through to Vietnam, Cambodia and Taiwan, efforts at putting in place a regulatory framework for the casino industry are seemingly at a standstill. While any effort to regulate the booming online sector, where the figures are truly mind boggling, is practically non-existent. Then there are the grey areas, illustrated by booming proxy betting, with billions changing hands despite very shaky regulation. In all of these places, there are potential investors hovering who are prepared to invest billions in new resorts that would channel funds into the local tourism industry. After a surge of excitement in 2014, followed by a year of will it or won’t it, Japan’s Diet has now put its casino enabling legislation on a permanent back burner. Allowing integrated resorts had been seen as a cornerstone of helping the government achieve its target of 20 million visitors by 2020. Tokyo is considering raising that target after tourist numbers hit 19.73 million in 2015, even without casinos. The possibility of legal casinos in Japan caught the attention of the majority of the world’s operators. Both Las Vegas Sands and MGM Resorts said they may be prepared to invest as much as $10 billion if the conditions were right. LVS appears now to be looking for other opportunities, but again the lack of legislation or rules preventing locals from gambling are presenting barriers. George Tanasijevich, the president and CEO of Marina Bay Sands said recently that the company would be interested in investing a similar amount in South Korea. However, the lack of local access is an issue for investors, which was illustrated by the lacklustre results from the recent bidding for an IR license there. Figures from the country’s current foreigner-only resorts compared with those for Kangwon Land, the only company permitted to allow locals through its
Asia Gaming Briefings | May 2016
doors, highlight the difference in potential. Taiwan, while a much smaller market, is still seen as promising with the right conditions. Though again, the legislation that would kickstart the process is bogged down in the political system. In Vietnam, the waiting game also continues. The new rules, which are expected to allow locals to gamble on a trial basis in certain resorts and cut the minimum investment from $4 billion to $2 billion had still not been published at the time of going to press. The industry had hoped for clarity in the first half of this year. Cambodia is hoping to boost its international tourist levels to 7.5 million a year, with 2 million eyed from China and the nation’s casino industry is expected to play a major role helping achieve the target. While existing casinos are reporting booming business, the government admits that its foot dragging when it comes to a new casino bill is deterring larger Macau and Nevada investors. The government has said the bill is close to being ready, but has not yet set a final timeline. In the online sphere, there are growing calls for regulation to harness the illegal billions that are being wagered each year and also to help stamp out the scourge of corruption in sports. There are also increasing signs of interest among European companies in the Asian market, if regulations were to be introduced. Hong Kong Jockey Club CEO Winfried EngelbrechtBresges recently told a conference that the illegal online gambling market is worth $500 billion annually, with $350 billion of that coming from Asia. He went on to say that $12.8 billion is bet on Hong Kong racing alone, about the same level as is bet legally. However, so far governments have shown little inclination to try to regulate the sector. A review from Singapore resulted in a draconian ban, while Malaysia is also said to be looking at tightening its legislation, rather than regulating a possible income source. Australia’s federal government has also finally published its response to a review of online betting by former New South Wales premier Barry O’Farrell. The report says Australia will introduce rules to specifically ban the click-to-call services that many operators had hoped would be legalized. Experts called the outcome a missed opportunity to reform the sector. With no signs that the level of gambling interest across Asia is set to decrease any time soon, are governments missing a huge opportunity?
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