Gaming revenues expected to remain flat in 2017: Fitch

Gaming revenue in Singapore is expected to remain at around US$4 billion in 2017 as the VIP segment continues to wane, said Fitch Ratings in a note on Tuesday.

The rating firm noted that gaming revenues slumped slightly in 2016 despite a 12.5 percent gain in Chinese visitors in the first-half of the year.

Chinese visitors are the largest source of VIP revenue in Singapore, but it faces pressure from Macau and the Philippines, said Fitch.

The ratings agency also notes the popularity of state-owned Singapore Pools and Singapore Turf Club, amongst locals – who are not burdened with entry-fee stipulations and marketing restrictions.

“Most revenue comes from foreigners as local residents are required to pay a SG$100 entrance fee, while marketing to locals is heavily restricted. There are also gambling cruises and small-scale slot parlours,” it said.

Fitch also notes that increased regional competition for VIP players from the Philippines and Australia is a risk to the two gaming operators in Singapore, as well as a possibility of higher gaming taxes starting in 2022.

“We think the probability of the Singapore government awarding additional gaming licences will be low but acknowledge that it is a risk,” it added.

Some of the positives of the city-state include a “low” gaming tax rate, a “duopoly structure at least through 2017”, and a central location in South-east Asia.