Singapore is considered a laggard to the casino industry in comparison to her neighbor, Malaysia. To make up for being half-a-century late Singapore decided to have two casinos. Other Asian countries - Vietnam, Korea, Sri Lanka, Cambodia and Japan - are joining the bandwagon to intensify the fight for gamblers patronage. Like good foodies, gamblers will also travel the extra mile for a wager.
Macquarie, a leading financial services provider in Australia, "think the Singapore gaming market cannot grow." They noted that the gross gaming revenue (GGR) for the nation had plateau around $6 billion a year since 2011. "After three big years, tourist arrivals in Singapore have started to decline (down 3 percent year-to-July) and most importantly, Chinese visitors who form more than 50 percent of Singapore VIP volume have fallen by 29 percent year-to-date," Macquarie said. VIP volumes make up around 80 percent of the city-state's total gaming volume, it said [CNBC 23 Sep 2014].
Carey Wong, an analyst at OCBC, is optimistic about the situation. He sees the drop in overseas visitors to be temporary as it is partly due to China's economic slowdown and corruption crackdown. He said, "Once things die down, we'll see the return of these high rollers," he said. "From an Asian perspective, Asians will gamble regardless of good times or bad. It's different from a Western perspective, where gaming is more for leisure." Wong does not seem to make much sense when he claimed that economic slowdown was the cause of decline in Chinese visitors yet advocating that bad times will not stop Asian gamblers. Singapore's strong currency and lack of tourist attraction in their tiny island is more likely the cause for their failure to attract foreigners.
In view of the recent media reports that the health ministry is pushing to ban Japanese nationals from the legalize casino in Japan due to fears about addiction, Toru Mihara said he wants local gamblers to be allowed. Mihara, a Professor at the Osaka University of Commerce and legal adviser to the Japanese lawmakers seeking to legalize casinos, was involved in drafting the casino bill. He told reporters the government should tackle the issue of problem gambling through counseling and other means, and not by imposing a ban.
Asked whether he thought casino gambling should be limited to foreigners, Mihara said: "It would be entirely out of the question. I would estimate that about 80 percent of all visitors will be Japanese. The remainder will be foreigners." Companies including Las Vegas Sands Corp and Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd are vying to win the first licences to operate casinos in Japan, a market that brokerage CLSA estimates could generate annual revenue of $40 billion. [Reuters, 28 Aug 2014].
Casino resorts were identified as the key feature under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's economic growth plan. Any delays in the process could dampen the hopes of global casino operators intention to capture the gaming market in time for tourism peak during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Gambling Tales claims that banning casinos would cause black market to flourish or drive gamblers to casinos in a neighboring country in the article "Nations Bows to Gambling". On Chinese soil, gambling is legal only legal in Macau but China would not tolerate their own citizen gambling on their soil. Corruption blitz had been carried out at Macau to rid the activity on their sovereignty.
SavySeph's blog on Tumblr covered the news on the Chinese anti-corruption crackdown of gambling in Macau and shopping outlets specialized in luxury good in Hong Kong to rid the stench of corruption from the land. Here is a reblog of SavySeph.