Suppliers have made significant strides in developing slot products for the Asian market in recent years, though so far there has been no real attempt to produce content themed for the rapidly growing Philippine market, an executive from a leading operator in the country said.
Much of the focus has been on incorporating Chinese themes and designs to gain a foothold in Macau, where the play is dominated by table games. Despite the efforts, slot machine revenue still only makes up about 5 percent of gross gambling revenue, compared with 30 percent in the Philippines.
“We have a lot of popular games all over the Philippines, variations on card games, we want to see some of these things in our culture recognised,” Sandy Amida, senior director – casino operations at Resorts World Manila said at the ASEAN Gaming Summit in Manila. “The industry is expanding and it won’t be confined to the four IRs. It’s going to expand so I think the potential is there and we need some games and themes that Filipinos can easily relate to.”
Gross gambling revenue generated by casinos rose almost 23 percent in 2018 to PHP187.5 billion ($3.5 billion).
At present, the government has placed a moratorium on new casino licenses, though Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp Chair Andrea Domingo has previously said she sees potential for casino hubs in regional areas across the country. These would likely have a strong reliance on the local market for growth.
Suppliers on the panel acknowledged that it was an area that had been largely overlooked.
“In the Philippines, we have dabbled, but we haven’t really hit the accelerator,” said Lloyd Robson, director of sales at Aristocrat.