CASINO

Fitch: Mass market will continue to fuel SEA gaming in 2018

TAGs: fitch ratings, Singapore, South East Asia

The gambling market in the Southeast Asian (SEA) region will remain robust next year with the mass market providing the needed fuel in the region, international credit-debt watcher Fitch Ratings said.

In its latest note, Fitch has made a forecast that the SEA mass market segment will continue its stellar performance on the back of strong Chinese tourism expenditure.

Chinese tourists with big pockets will remain the top international visitors in the region, according to Fitch.

“Fitch believes Chinese tourism expenditure is a key driver of gaming performance in Southeast Asia. Chinese visitors were the largest segment by nationality in Singapore in the first eight months of 2017, at 19 percent of total arrivals,” senior director Alex Bumazhny said.

Speaking of Singapore, Fitch said the Southeast island nation’s casino gross gaming revenue (GGR) will sustain its growth in 2018.

Singapore saw a 10 percent turnaround in its GGR in 2017 after falling by around 30 percent over 2015 to 2016, thanks to the 1.55 million tourists from mainland China during the first half of the year. The Singapore Tourism Board said that the number of Chinese tourists in the country rose by as much 5 percent on the prior-year period.

Fitch said that the combined 2017 VIP revenue for the Las Vegas Sands Corp-operated Marina Bay Sands and Genting Singapore-controlled Resorts World Sentosa will be nearly SGD2.35 billion (US$1.73 billion), compared to its previous estimate of just under SGD2.00 billion ($1.49 billion).

The international ratings agency also predicted that Malaysian gaming revenue will likely remain stable as it shifts its focus to the mass market. Fitch said that the redevelopment of Resorts World Genting will attract more tourists next year.

“We feel VIP tourism across the region will continue to recover, and ongoing growth in mass-market gaming tourism will support regional expansion and Australian [casino resort] construction. Overall, we view the Asia-Pacific market as underpenetrated, at least in the mass-market segment.”

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