Asia round-up: Macau forecast falters; PAGCOR’s “duty” & New South Wales
Macau to reduce GGR forecasts for 2022
The Macau Government is set to reduce its gross gaming revenue (GGR) forecasts for the region's casinos in 2022.
Speaking to the press, Macau’s Chief Executive Ho lat Seng announced the region’s reduced forecasts will be announced as part of a fiscal budget amendment in the second half of 2022.
Macau’s current GGR forecast for the full year, MOP130bn ($16bn), is already below half the MOP292.5bn Macau’s casino industry achieved in 2019 prior to the emergence of Covid-19.
Ho claims the continued impact of Covid on Macau’s casino industry is the key reason for the Government’s reassessed GGR forecast.
Travel restrictions persist in Macau and the surrounding Guangdong province, and the casino industry recorded just MOP23.79bn for the first five months of 2022, down 44% year-on-year.
Despite the ever-present gloom circling over Macau, Ho believes strict issuance terms for travel visas will ease once Covid cases subside in key mainland areas such as Shanghai, Beijing and Hong Kong.
Ho believes Macau’s Covid restrictions could let up in the summer, provided the local infection rate remains “moderate.” A pilot scheme used in mainland China is also being considered by Macau officials.
The pilot allows certain foreign nationals to enter major cities after undergoing 10 days of quarantine in Covid secure facilities, followed by seven days at home.
While a 10-day quarantine may not seem ideal for many tourists, Ho has not ruled out reducing the quarantine period to seven days in designated facilities, and seven days at home.
Ho has also alluded to a potential lifeline for Macau’s satellite casinos, suggesting it would be possible for most satellites to stay in business.
PAGCOR “duty-bound” to remain neutral in Okada Manila dispute
The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp (PAGCOR) has said it is “duty-bound to observe [legal] processes and comply” with the Supreme Court’s decision over the intra-corporate dispute at Okada Manila.
Its statement comes following a letter received from Herrera Teehanhkee & Cabrera Law offices, which contained details of a Status Quo Ante Order (SQAO), commanding Tiger Resort Leisure and Entertainment (TRLEI) to be reinstated to former director and CEO, Kazuo Okada.
The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp (PAGCOR) has said it is 'duty-bound to observe [legal] processes and comply' with the Supreme Court’s decision over the intra-corporate dispute at Okada Manila
Despite formerly condemning what had been described as a forceful retaking of the TRLEI casino by a group associated with Okada, PAGCOR now notes the skirmishes that occurred at Okada Manila were a direct “consequence of the implementation of the SQAO.”
A document issued by the Supreme Court, PAGCOR notes it is bound to the issuances and directives laid out within it.
Furthermore, a PAGCOR Monitoring Team has remained at Okada Manila, overseeing operations for the safety of the casino’s players and ensuring operations remain fully functional.
The team was on site the night of 31 May 2022, when the TRLEI casino was overthrown. The team noted that then-acting CEO Hajima Tokuda was escorted outside the casino by associates of Okada, Antonio Cojuangco and Dindo Espeleta.
Australia: New versions of NSW gambling regulations to be considered
New versions of The Betting and Racing Regulation and Totalizator Regulation, which aim to minimise gambling harm in New South Wales (NSW), are being put to the industry and community for comment.
The current regulations provide anti-gambling services such as counselling, penalty notice prescriptions, allowable TAB shareholdings and special exemptions. They are due to expire in September 2022 and are now up for statutory review.
CEO of Hospitality and Racing, Anthony Keon, said: “A large proportion of the community derives great pleasure from wagering and enjoy placing a bet without it becoming a problem.”
“The protections in the regulations not only create sustainability for the industry, but certainty for the community that licensees are fit to conduct gambling, that penalties are fair and proportionate; and that there is communication and engagement with people who do experience gambling harms.”