BUSINESS

Stakeholders seek to bring Asian casino business back in the game

By Korea Herald
  • Published : May 19, 2015 - 19:04
  • Updated : May 19, 2015 - 19:04
MACAU ― Macau’s casino industry, which had enjoyed high growth in past years, is now seeing its revenues drop for the first time, which is reason enough for concern to all stakeholders in the Asian region.

Alarmed by the slowdown and seeking new momentum, industry officials and investment experts gathered in Macau to participate in a leading tradeshow.

The ninth annual edition of G2E Asia, a premier gaming exhibition and conference dedicated to the Asian casino market, kicked off at the Venetian Macau on Tuesday and will run through Thursday.

Executive officials cut the tape at the opening ceremony of G2E Asia 2015, an annual conference dedicated to the Asian casino business, held at the Venetian Macau on Tuesday. (G2E Asia)

“2015 is a year of two halves for the Asian gaming market, with possibilities of rebound lying in store for the next two quarters,” said Tim Craighead, director of Asian research and senior gaming analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence.

Macau, which acts as an indicator in the Asian gaming industry in general, reported its first annual revenue decline last year.

Key players such as Galaxy Entertainment, Wynn and MGM are currently working on launching new integrated resorts and expanding non-gaming contents in the casino-packed Cotai area.

Also, large-scale infrastructure projects, such as the Guangzhou-Zhuhai Gongbei railway and the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge, are on the way to further integrate the casino island with mainland China.

But the question for stakeholders is whether these efforts are sufficient to reaccelerate the market.

Praveen Choudhary, managing director at Morgan Stanley, stressed that the most imminent task for Macau is to look beyond the Chinese factor and diversity.

“As much as China is contributing to Macau’s revenues, the excessive dependence on Chinese visitors should be restrained,” he said, advocating the Macanese government’s recent proposal to cap Chinese visitors.

Last year, some 21 million visitors came from mainland China to the city of casinos, which was 14.1 percent of the total.

Organized by the American Gaming Association and Reed Exhibitions, G2E Asia has defined itself as the leading event in the gaming industry since 2007.

This year, seeking to make a breakthrough amid slowing growth, G2E added a number of new features, ranging from a new product gallery for buyers to a dealers’ championship.

By Bae Hyun-jung Korea Herald correspondent (tellme@heraldcorp.com)