Grant Govertsen

    Grant Govertsen is the managing director and head of asia equity research for Union Gaming. Grant Govertsen co-founded Union Gaming in 2009 after spending 12 years on Wall Street predominantly in equity research covering the gaming sector.Mr. Govertsen was responsible for establishing and developing the company’s presence in Asia in 2011, and today remains the only gaming analyst based in Macau.Prior to Union Gaming, Mr. Govertsen was based in Las Vegas with Deutsche Bank Securities covering global casino operators and gaming technology companies. Mr. Govertsen began his career in the financial services industry with Coopers & Lybrand, now PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC).

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    Goa to become $1 billion market

    Goa could become a US$1 billion market once it transitions to a land-based market, said analyst Grant Govertsen in a note on Friday. “We expect Goa to quickly become a US$1bn market as it transitions to land-based casinos (from $150 million today), which is still just a fraction of India’s total GGR potential of $10 […]

    No real product diversification on the horizon: analysts

    Meaningful diversification of gaming products will be a long time coming due to the slow turning wheels of regulation, said at panel of analysts at the Macao Gaming Show on Thursday. “Regulators generally are resistant to change. It’s just very hard to introduce new concepts in gaming anywhere in the world beyond what we’ve already […]

    Nagacorp 9-month VIP volume surges 67 percent

    Nagacorp, which runs Cambodia’s NagaWorld, reported VIP rollings in the nine months to the end of September surged 67 percent to $11 billion, as it continued to benefit from increased China visitation to the country. The company, which is scheduled to open it Naga2 complex in the next few weeks, said mass table buy ins […]

    Analyst highlights gloomy scenarios for Japan IRs

    Grant Govertsen, an analyst for Union Gaming, has produced a second report this month highlighting gloomy scenarios for the future of IRs in Japan. On July 5, Govertsen pointed to the decisive defeat of the ruling party in the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly elections as a factor that it made it less likely the IR Implementation […]

    Foreign ownership limits may hinder Japan returns

    Japan is unlikely to allow foreign investors to own 100 percent of an IR, which may hinder potential returns and Tokyo’s ability to achieve its tourism goals, analysts said. “We are pretty certain that anyone who is looking for 100 percent ownership will be disappointed,” said Morgan Stanley Asia managing director Praveen Choudhary at G2E […]

    Mass grows double digits in 16Q3: Union Gaming

    With Macau’s six operators having reported their third quarter results, Union Gaming says mass revenues showed solid growth in the quarter. “What we found was very encouraging and backs up various management commentary of notable mass market strength and our view that we’re seeing an inflection point,” said the brokerage in a note on Thursday. […]

    Trump victory won’t affect Macau near term, supplier upside

    Donald Trump’s election victory will not have an immediate impact on Macau SAR, says analysts, but it may be too early to tell. “I don’t think there will be any direct impact, positive or negative,” Union Gaming’s Grant Govertsen said to Macau Daily Times. “…because Macau has far more ties to the Chinese economy [than […]

    Cambodia gaming regulation a positive for Naga

    A recent public hearing in Cambodia has confirmed Naga Corp’s exclusivity in Phnom Penh through 2035, said Union Gaming in a note. “There was a public hearing today on the draft gaming bill that, at some point, will become law. Importantly, Naga’s existing rights are protected… Specifically, the bill sets in stone Naga’s exclusivity within […]

    Resorts World Sentosa lays off 30 staff over CNY

    At least 30 employees at Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) in Singapore have been let go over the Chinese New Year period, according to local media. Grant Govertsen of Union Gaming said given Genting Singapore is in a period of declining earnings, it would make sense for the casino operator to cut costs wherever possible. “It […]

    Mass growth catching VIP in 18Q1

    VIP revenue was again the fastest growing segment in Macau in the first quarter of 2018, though figures released by the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau show that the mass market is catching up. VIP GGR was up 21 percent compared with the same period a year earlier and up 5.7 percent from the prior […]

    Ownership structure may influence Japan bid outcome

    The level of foreign ownership allowed by the Japanese government in the country’s IRs may play a significant role in determining who gets the coveted licenses, experts told a panel session at G2E Asia.
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    Macau May GGR rose lower-than-expected 12.1 percent

    Macau’s gross gaming revenue rose 12.1 percent in May, below analysts’ forecasts, with June expected to record a further slowdown as players are distracted by the FIFA World Cup tournament in Russia.

    Are slots finally gaining a foothold in Macau?

    The latest financial results from Macau’s operators showed a healthy increase in slot machine revenue, indicating that a mix of product innovation, evolving customer preferences and new capacity are beginning to help them gain traction. According to figures from Macau’s Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DICJ), GGR from slot machines in the enclave was MOP […]

    China protests seen unlikely to dent Indochina prospects

    A backlash against a perceived influx of Chinese investment has sparked protests in both Vietnam and Cambodia this year, though experts say the outlook for two of the region’s most promising gaming markets remains positive. Most recently the protests have centered on plans for three economic zones in Vietnam, one in the center, one in […]

    Junkets eye Cambodia’s VIP potential

    Macau’s junket operators are increasingly focused on Cambodia, drawn in by growing business ties with China and its location between countries that don’t allow locals to gamble. SunCity Group, Macau’s largest junket, on March 1 launched its first VIP Club at NagaCorp’s NagaWorld property in Phnom Penh, encouraged by the rapid growth in Chinese tourists to the kingdom and others are also moving in. 

    Goa casinos await “transformational” policy changes

    Goa’s offshore casinos, which currently float in the Mandovi River, are waiting for the government to finalize legislation that will force them to shift onshore, which may prove a game changer for the industry in India. Industry experts say the move will allow the casinos to develop IRs for the first time, widening the appeal of gaming and raising the quality of the product offering. 

    Tax changes rock Russia’s gambling sector

    Russia has passed a bill that doubles tax rates for both land-based casinos and bookmakers, with even more hikes in the pipeline, raising concern the ever shifting sands of regulation are changing the outlook for the industry and threatening foreign investment. Steve Gallaway, managing partner at Global Market Advisors, says the “changes to the tax regime are devastating for the IEZ (Integrated Entertainment Zone) in Primorye,” referring to the most developed of Russia’s gaming zones.

    Japan the top prize, though Brazil seen a worthy contender

    Brazil and Japan are two of the most hotly anticipated casino markets, but how do they stack up against one another and which country is the most appealing for international casino operators and investors? The two nations have entwined cultural links, mainly due to mass migration throughout the 20th Century. In fact, Brazil is home to the world’s largest Japanese-descendant population outside Japan. One other thing Brazil and Japan have in common is that they both appear to be on the cusp of introducing legalized casino resorts after years of false starts and delays.

    Taking stock

    Asia’s gaming markets have seen a strong first half, with Macau, the Philippines and Cambodia leading the way, prompting some analysts to revise upwards their targets for the full year. But it hasn’t all been plain sailing; the fatal attack on Resorts World Manila lead to a suspension of its gambling operations in June, while South Korea continues to underperform after a diplomatic spat with China, which banned tour groups after Seoul agreed to deploy a U.S. missile shield.

    Looking for growth

    While the Macau market still has plenty more to give, operators are starting to look elsewhere for future growth potential 

    Macau stock rally seen losing steam

    Macau’s gaming stocks have rebounded to trade at two-year highs, tracking the recovery in gross gaming revenue, however analysts warn against over optimism, saying growth may be nearing its peak, at least in the short term.

    Cambodian doors to close as Vietnam opens to locals?

    Cambodia’s gambling industry is eyeing moves to open up the market in neighbouring Vietnam with trepidation, though views are mixed on the potential impact. Casinos lining Cambodia’s border with Vietnam have long benefited from traffic from Vietnamese who have been banned from gambling at home. Vietnamese are estimated to spend about $800 million annually gambling overseas, with a large chunk of that funnelled into its neighbor’s casinos. 

    Macau 16Q2 earnings to dip to five-year low

    Macau’s six casino operators will begin reporting Q2 results later this month, with analysts expecting a mixed bag. Though operators say they are seeing signs of stabilization in the market, that is unlikely to be reflected in the bottom line, at least for now. The consensus is that revenues and EBITDA will fall from the prior quarter and will hit the lowest level in five years.  

    Politics hobble Vietnam’s gaming potential

    Vietnam’s slow-moving legislative process, combined with the burden of the existing regulations, means the country’s full potential as a gaming destination won’t be reached until the next decade at the earliest, industry experts say. Although there has been a lot of speculation that there will be some relaxation of these rules, it now doesn’t look likely to happen for some time to come. 

    For the thrill of it: Does Macau have a role in China’s theme-park craze?

    With the construction of a theme park on the cards for Galaxy Macau, could this form of family friendly entertainment prove crucial in enticing mass-market tourists in their droves? A natural byproduct of China’s burgeoning middle class has been more discretionary money to spend. Research from the Boston Consulting Group predicts that China’s consumer economy will expand by about half, to $6.5 trillion, by 2020 with services overtaking goods as the chief engine for spending. The booming theme-park market is likely to be a key beneficiary, but could it drive traffic to Macau?

    Cotai resorts seen viable, but returns to disappoint

    The multi-billion properties opening up on Macau’s Cotai strip are still likely to be viable, despite the slump in gaming revenue in the territory, though returns will fall far short of the levels expected when the resorts were first planned, analysts say. The six operators are set to almost double their room capacity over the next two years at a time of unprecedented uncertainty for the revenue outlook. 

    NagaCorp offers bright spot in Asia casino market, expansion to drive growth

    On an overcast morning in Cambodia's capital, Phnom Penh, the country's flagship casino looks less familiar than it did a year ago as construction obscures the entire front entrance. NagaWorld, which began as a boat moored on the Mekong River 20 years ago, is undergoing a major revamp, which is expected to help accelerate growth at one of the brightest spots in Asia’s casino industry. 

    Macau’s luxury malls look to High Street as clientele changes

    Macau’s retail malls, dominated by the luxury brands favored by high rolling mainland Chinese, are turning to more affordable High Street names as VIP revenue falls, but the shift is unlikely to have a major impact on operators’ profits, analysts say.Although retail revenues have moderated in Macau, the downturn has been less severe than the slump in overall gross gambling revenue, which dropped 36.2 percent in June, declining for the 13th consecutive month. Las Vegas Sands also reported strong growth in its retail operations in Q2, though future success may hinge on getting the brand mix right.  

    Macau not target of China policies, but recovery timing unclear

    China has no intention of killing the goose that lays the golden egg and the fallout from its anti-corruption campaign, which has sent GGR down for the past 11 months, is collateral damage rather than a deliberate attempt to harm business in Macau. This was the message from panelists at the G2E Asia show this week, although most agree prospects for a short-term rebound are slim. 

    Trade war creates headwinds for Macau gaming stocks

    Macau gaming stocks are feeling the heat from the trade war between the U.S. and China, falling to their lowest levels in a year, with some analysts cutting their growth forecasts on concern for a slowdown in China’s economy.

    Emerging Asian markets to lead sales growth

    Macau is likely to remain the largest market in Asia for electronic table games (ETGs) for the foreseeable future due to its sheer size, though growth is slowing and emerging markets such as Vietnam and the Philippines are likely lead further expansion.

    Macau’s VIPs spread their wings

    Macau’s reputation as the go-to destination for casino VIPs is under threat as facilities improve in other regional destinations that offer lower tax rates and better junket margins.
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