Malaysian conglomerate Genting Berhad, which operates casinos and resorts as well as power and plantation divisions, saw net profits drop by more than half to RM279.4m (US $91.8m) in Q3. The profit plunge – the third consecutive quarter that number has fallen – was due in part to lower palm oil prices but also the recent poor performance by Genting Singapore’s Resorts World Sentosa. Despite doing an overall higher volume of business, a lower hold percentage at Genting’s UK gaming operations resulted in a loss of RM13.8m ($4.5m). US gaming profit before tax increased to RM61.5m ($20.2m). Resorts World Genting in Malaysia also suffered from a lower VIP hold, but managed to eke out a 2% gain in pre-tax profits. Overall group revenue was down 13.9% to RM4.2b ($1.38b).
Despite Resorts World Genting continuing to attract plenty of tourists to Malaysia’s Pahang state, the chief minister of Penang says he’s not interested in bringing a casino into his back yard. Lim Guan Eng told reporters at the Asia Pacific Ecotourism Conference 2012 that he was “not supportive” of suggestions that a casino would boost Penang’s status as #3 on the list of Malaysian tourist destinations (behind Pahang and Kuala Lumpur). Lim said he only had to look at neighboring Singapore to see the negative “social impact of a casino.” (Perhaps Lim was referring to that new Gallup poll that showed Singaporeans to be the ‘most emotionless’ society on the planet. Just over a third of the city-state’s residents reported feeling positive or negative emotions on a daily basis. Singaporeans also work the longest hours in the world. Small wonder the poor bastards are numb. If anyone deserves casinos, its them.)
Lim likely won’t be pleased at the news that Malaysia is now being targeted by two more online casino portals. This week brought press releases pimping two sites – Betmy.net and 9Crown.com – that were allegedly turning their focus on Malaysian punters. The releases are keen to stress both sites’ affiliations with other Asian-facing sites. 9Crown says it’s “backed up” by 855Bet, Af888 and WinningFT, while Betmy is “backed up” by SBOBet, 1S Casino, Sun City Casino, Lai Fa Cai “and many more.” Betmy also claims to be “in collaboration with” brands like IBCBET and WinningFT. 9Crown is not really new, having been in operation since early 2011, but we suggest the Betmy boys may wish to contact the Manchester firm handling both sites’ PR, as Betmy’s release went out under the title and URL of “9Crown launches their online casino hub.” D’oh?