Industry experts look beyond the horizon at Macao Gaming Show

Macao – 19 November 2014: The future of gaming in Asia is being debated at this week’s Macao Gaming Show, which is taking place at The Venetian (18-20 November). A total of 34 gaming industry experts have been providing insight to many of the industry’s most important trends to an international audience of delegates.

Speaking at the co-located Macao Gaming Summit, Bloomberg Intelligence’s Margaret Huang opened the Summit with a keynote speech that laid out the company’s detailed analysis of Macau’s gaming market. Her presentation revealed the figures behind the recent changes in revenue figures, highlighting a changing landscape with a bright future. Her presentation confirmed that the shift away from VIP revenue remains the primary reason for adjusting growth in Macau, but highlighted deeper analysis which reveals that the current movement was caused in part by a big push for mass market visitors on the part of most of the major casinos.

Huang projects that although this new strategic direction may result in continued cooling through early 2016, the future remains positive for Macau. An uptake in available rooms by around 40 percent, along with an increasing amount of casino floor space dedicated to popular mass market games, leads Bloomberg to project strong growth to return before the end of 2018.

Later in the Summit, Dr Kazuaki Sasiki, Dr Day-Yang Lui and Eugene Christiansen spoke on a panel moderated by Asian market expert, Mikio Tanjo of Gaming Capital Management, to give their insight into the future of large-scale casinos in Japan and Taiwan, and how the opening of these markets would impact Macau.

Nihon University Professor Sasaki discussed the gambling landscape in Japan, currently dominated by pachinko, and how this would evolve with addition of casinos. Lamenting the slow progress towards casino laws on the part of the Japanese government, he characterised the process as, “three steps forward and two steps back,” but was buoyant on the future of integrated resorts in Japan.

Meanwhile, Dr Liu, director at the Center for the Study of Lottery and Commercial Gaming at the National Taiwan University of Science and Technology, revealed that progress towards casinos in Taiwan’s outer islands was altogether more concrete, with an optimistic assessment that a casino law will be passed in the first half of 2015. He also confirmed suspicions that Taiwan would be competing for visitors with existing markets in Singapore, the Philippines, Malaysia and Macau.

Taking up this theme, Christiansen, founder and chairman of Christian Capital Advisors, looked at how the emergence of casinos in Taiwan and Japan would impact Macau. He suggested that the era of companies with large debts and low equity was over, with new financial models required for operators to prosper. He also touched on the difference in gaming predilections among the region’s visitors – noting that while baccarat is king in Macau, roulette is the game of choice for Japanese players.

The Macao Gaming Show continues into Thursday (20 November).