The question of technology’s role on the casino floor has always been a divisive one.
The $1.2 billion Resorts World Catskills opened its doors on February 8, expanding the Genting brand in the U.S., even though the Malaysian company missed out on a license for its own property in New York State. The project, which is the biggest of four new resorts in the upstate area, will be the first IR in the U.S. to carry the Genting name. The company has been pushing hard to penetrate the North American market, though with mixed results.
Faced with increased competition and more demanding customers, Asia’s online operators are looking towards Europe for ways to drive revenue growth in a market that is beginning to mature.
It’s 15 years since Macau flung open its arms to international gaming companies and major US operators wasted little time heading to the Far East to plant their flags firmly in the ground. US and Australian interests have dominated casino investment across Asia, with the Europeans notably absent, however, with Japan planning to open the market, there are signs that may be about to change.
Since entering the US market in 2011 with the launch of Resorts World New York City, Genting Group has made a number of major investments in the country, indicative of an operator intent on becoming a major player in the market. These projects add up to a serious statement of intent in the U.S. from Genting Malaysia Berhad, the subsidiary which runs the Group’s U.S. casino business, even if a number of question marks remain over the particulars of its various interests.
Bingo is not a game we hear a lot about in Asia. Legal and regulatory restrictions, coupled with a lack of appetite for the game, mean it is near non-existent in the likes of Korea, Macau, Malaysia, and Singapore. However, bingo is becoming popular in some parts of China, particularly Taiwan where a speed variant is played through the state lottery and in the Philippines the game has been played in various forms since Spanish Colonialism back in 1521. So could it catch on?
Many of Europe’s biggest online operators have rolled out Asian-themed content into their domestic markets in recent months, as the Asian diaspora becomes an increasingly valuable demographic in regulated jurisdictions. However, their efforts may also enable them to steal a march on rivals should Asia regulate its online markets.
In a region traditionally dominated by table games there are signs that a new generation of slots can make an impact, as long as suppliers understand how to take a tailored approachThe emergence of skill-based slots and a better understanding of how to tailor machines to local markets is presenting manufacturers and operators with the opportunity to challenge the dominance of the table game in Asian casinos and attract a new type of player.
Europe could be the beneficiary of Macau’s ongoing struggles as casino and junket operators eye investment opportunities on the continent in a process which has already seen Australia, Cambodia and Vietnam dramatically grow their gaming sectors.“The opportunity and the timing is there for the adventurous Asian casino owner or Asian junket looking for new experiences,” said Steve Karoul, president and CEO of Euro-Asia Consulting.
The first full season of Premier League football since the United Kingdom’s point of consumption (PoC) taxation regime was introduced in November kicked off this month, and fears that PoC would drive many Asia-facing operators away from the British market appear to be unfounded.Asia-facing operators will adorn the shirts of a quarter of Premier League teams for this upcoming season. Mansion (Crystal Palace and Bournemouth), Dafabet (Sunderland), 138.com (Watford) and TLCBET (West Bromwich Albion) all have primary shirt sponsorship deals with clubs, while a further two operators, Bet365 (Stoke City) and Betway (West Ham), do business in several Asian countries. A number of other operators have secondary sponsorship deals with teams, such as Bodog’s official Asian betting partnership with Arsenal.