Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Asia gaming market booms

MACAU - ASIA'S gaming market will overtake the US in as little as three years as the region's rich flock to glittering gambling hubs such as Macau, a survey said on Tuesday.

While Macau has already leapfrogged Las Vegas in gaming revenue and posts record-breaking growth, Singapore and other Southeast Asian nations are now building up their gambling sectors to cash in on its exploding popularity.

The survey of industry experts was released in Macau where thousands of delegates are attending the three-day Global Gaming Expo Asia which started Tuesday in the former Portuguese colony. It concluded that US casino revenue - including the gambling paradise of Las Vegas as well as Atlantic City and Reno - would be eclipsed by Asia in three to five years.

'(The study results) foretell a remarkable future for Asian gaming markets - from continued revenue growth in Macau to the rise of newer jurisdictions such as Singapore,' Frank Fahrenkopf, head of the American Gaming Association, said in a statement ahead of a press briefing for the survey. 'The prospects for gaming in Asia are exciting, as there are many different roads growth and expansion could take.'

The experts also said Macau would remain the region's dominant market, while some expected Japan to steal the number two spot from Singapore. In 2009, Macau alone notched up about US$14.5 billion (S$20.5 billion) in gaming revenue while the entire US market saw revenues of $30.74 billion.

And despite dire predictions of a slowdown due to the global downturn gaming sales in May soared 95 per cent year-on-year to 17 billion patacas, according to Hong Kong brokerage CLSA. 'We've been saying for eight months that things would slow down, but they haven't,' said Aaron Fischer, a CLSA gaming analyst. 'Logic would say it's going to slow down.' -- AFP

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