In this new regular column from IAG to celebrate 16 years of coverage of the Asian gaming and entertainment industry, we look back at our coverage from exactly 10 years ago, âJoin the Clubâ, to rediscover what was in the news in October 2011!
Asia’s integrated resort landscape has grown exponentially over the past decade, with Macau firmly consolidating its status as the world’s gambling capital, with the Philippines clearly becoming the No.2 in Asia and countries like Vietnam, the South Korea and Cambodia pushing them on the regional radar.
But 10 years ago there weren’t many options, only Macau and Singapore – the latter having launched its two IRs just 12 months earlier – were causing a stir.
In the October 2011 issue of IAG, we looked at industry developments in Asia and the jurisdictions most likely to become serious gaming destinations in the future. Looking back, it’s certainly an interesting read.
A little over a year after the opening of its first IR – Resorts World Manila – the Philippines was then seen as an unknown. As IAG noted, analysts recognized significant opportunities in the market, but there were also concerns about attracting investment given the volatile political landscape and infrastructure issues. These concerns have turned out to be largely unfounded, the last 10 years having seen the emergence of the Entertainment City district with its three IRs, soon to be four, pushing the GGR industry to US $ 4.3 billion in 2019 (before COVID).
South Korea and Vietnam have been the other major drivers of IR development – each has opened three – but their impact has certainly not been on the same scale as the Philippines. In particular, the two markets are strictly reserved for foreigners when it comes to casino games, with one exception each (Kangwon Land in Korea and Corona Resort in Vietnam), and have therefore been strongly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Perhaps the most interesting of those we looked at in 2011 are Japan and Taiwan. (Yes, Taiwan!)
Speculation at the time was that Japan was set to push through a new casino bill as a way to fund the recovery from the recent tsunami and nuclear disasters. In fact, it took six years for the first of two bills to finally pass, and after much excitement over the past few years, the future of Japanese IRs looks more fragile than ever with serious doubts about whether the government will issue three licenses next year as planned. .
As for Taiwan, we noted estimates of an industry worth around US $ 2 billion per year, likely comprising two integrated complexes located on outlying islands and targeting the mainland Chinese market. But we also noted the many political hurdles this would have to overcome if it became a reality. Since then, there have been occasional murmurs of interest: A tourist casino administration law was enacted in 2013 (although a second law has yet to follow), while two counties, Penghu and Kinmen, voted no in the referendums on casinos.