PH the next gaming hub

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  • The Philippines is one the regional gaming markets to watch out for in Asia amid the positive growth of gross revenues in the country’s gaming sector, industry analysts said.

    “The Philippines is probably one that comes to mind, first, simply because we are seeing decent amount of growth in inbound Chinese volumes,” said Grant Govertsen, managing director of Union Gaming.

    Govertsen, however, said the real exciting part for the Philippines is the story of the local economy.

    “It’s going to so well, so you’re seeing the GGR (gross gaming revenues) in the Philippines get better and better and better, and it’s not dependent on (inbound) Chinese (volumes) entirely, so that’s interesting,”  said Govertsen at the Asian Markets Forum held at the Global Gaming Expo Asia (G2E) yesterday.

    The Philippine gaming industry posted a total of P149.12 billion in GGR in 2016, a 19 percent increase from the P125.36 billion recorded in 2015.

    The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) sees revenues to grow even further this year to  between P155 billion and P160 billion.

    Praveen Choudhary, managing director of Morgan Stanley, agreed with Govertsen’s observation about the Philippine gaming industry.

    “I do agree that the Philippines looks like the market to look (out) for,” Choudhary said.

    “The gambling appetite in Asia is still humongous, as long as you can build casinos, IRs (integrated resorts), entertainment around that, good food…  that’s an easy bargain… you can keep getting more and more out of it. I will not be surprised if I hear more success in the future,” he added.

    Two of the country’s integrated casino resorts at the Entertainment City have reported good numbers especially for VIP volumes or the so-called high-rollers.

    Bloomberry Resorts Corp., operator of  Solaire,  reported VIP volume grew 35 percent in the first quarter of 2017 to post a new all-time high. VIP GGR grew 60 percent to its second-highest level since 2016.

    Travellers International’s Resorts World  meanwhile  posted GGR  revenues of P5.26 billion for the quarter.

    Restrictions in China have prompted the influx of tourists to other markets like the Philippines.

    Gaming  boosted Pagcor’s income in 2016.

    The state-run gaming firm  last year  saw an increase of 18.05 percent in net income  due to the double-digit year-on-year hike in its income from gaming contributions.

    The state-run gaming firm’s net income last year amounted to P4.46 billion, an increase from its year ago level of P3.78 billion.

    Pagcor  posted P55.06 billion in gross income, a 16.62 percent increase from its P47.21 billion revenues in 2015.

    The agency attributed this  to the surge in income from gaming, which includes table games, electronic games and bingo operations, as well as fees from licensed casinos and offshore gaming.

    G2E Asia is the international gaming trade show and conference for the Asian gaming industry.

    The conference for this year will be held May 16 to 18 at the Venetian Macao in conjunction with the trade exhibition.

    The expo, organized by the American Gaming Association and Reed Exhibition, intends to foster learning, present emerging opportunities, and highlight the latest global industry trends. (A. Celis, Malaya)

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