Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Will The Philippines Become Asia’s Next Gaming Tiger?

The Philippines could soon be adding “world class casinos” to its roster of tourist hotspots. 

After decades of economy riddled with internal conflicts and political instability, the Philippines is bouncing back to the global market and ready to emerge as Asia’s newest market player. With the economy showing promising results comes a lot of opportunities that can catapult the country into a giant. Aside from proving itself as an economic and trade export powerhouse, the country is also starting to gain momentum as the newest gaming capital in the region. Although the country still has a long way to go to go up against Macau, the future is bright in the archipelagic country.

According to an article published by the Wall Street Journal, the country’s gaming industry recorded a new high of $1.3 billion in gross revenues from 17 major casinos. While the majority of casinos in the country are owned by local moguls such as port and casino magnate Enrique Razon, Asian powerhouses such as the Genting Group have also set up shop in the Philippines. The entry of world renowned brands made the competition stiffer and decentralized the construction of gaming areas outside the country’s capital, giving provinces hundreds of miles away from the metro the chance to enter the Philippines’ saturated gaming arena.

Aside from the growing number of casinos in the country, affiliate companies such as hardware manufacturers have also opened up shop in the Philippines, which bolsters the stance of the country as a formidable force in the Asian gaming scene. Reno-based International Game Technology, which provides hardware and software support to casinos, opened its office in the National Capital Region to easily keep in touch with the local clientele. Oddly enough, online gaming pioneer Intercasino is yet to enter the country’s growing casino market, which some experts see as a sign that the industry is but a fledgling, and investing in it now could be a risky move.

While there are high hopes for the country to become a successful gaming mecca like Macau, experts agree that the Philippines has a long way to go before it becomes a force to reckon with in the global gaming industry. CIMB Group analyst Teng Yee Tan said that it’s still early to tell if the Southeast Asian country can already trade elbows waltzing with the big guns in the industry, but the potential is there. "The Philippines gambling market is still in the early stages of development,” Tan said, but he cautioned that the casinos should be able to “provide better quality service than rivals in jurisdictions like Macau and Singapore, and they should be able to compete for high rollers in the region.” 


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