News / Asia

Asia Gambling Expansion Not Likely to Offset Macau

FILE - a croupier counts the chips at a baccarat gaming table inside a casino during the opening day of Sheraton Macao Hotel at the Sands Cotai Central in Macau.
FILE - a croupier counts the chips at a baccarat gaming table inside a casino during the opening day of Sheraton Macao Hotel at the Sands Cotai Central in Macau.
A number of countries in Asia are considering relaxing their gambling legislation to cash in on an expanding pool of wealthy gamers from the world's most populous and fastest growing nations. This may pose a possible threat to the world's biggest gambling center, Macau.

According to some, 2014 could be the year Japan legalizes gambling. The country's ruling party has submitted a bill to the parliament.  If it goes through, which many expect to happen, it could turn Japan into the world's second largest gambling market.

But the country is far from the only one in Asia with its eyes on gaming. Plans to liberalize or expand the gambling industry are ongoing throughout the region.

Gambling analyst David Green said the reason is that the Asian market is still largely untapped.

He said that in Asia, home to the world's most populous countries, people are getting old and wealthy at a record speed. “You've got a confluence of factors which are driving the capability of people to spend money, they all have the propensity to do it, they enjoy gambling, it is part of the culture. So there is almost an endless supply of potential gamblers,” Green stated.

South Korea currently allows gambling only in a few sanctioned casinos, of which only one is open to locals. But expansion is on the horizon.

Casino operator Genting Singapore is investing over $2 billion to develop a gambling resort. Legislation has been proposed to allow gaming on cruise ships docking on an island off the southern tip of the country.

In Taiwan gambling is legal only on offshore islands, and requires the consent via referendum of half the local population. So far, one island - Matsu - has approved a plan for gaming resorts, while another - Penghu - has rejected it.

Opponents of gambling highlight the adverse effects of a notoriously crime-ridden industry, and fear the development might pollute the environment and bring in an excessive amount of tourists.

But being just a few hours' flight from China is a significant economic incentive for many governments that look to replicate what happened in Macau.

The former Portuguese colony opened up gambling licensing in 2001 and has since recorded double-digit GDP growth. Last year, its annual gambling revenues were $45 billion, seven times that of Las Vegas.

Green, who heads the Macau-based New Page Consultancy, said despite being the world's gambling Mecca, the city state absorbs only a small fraction of gamblers from mainland China. “In terms of annual visitors it [Macau] is only getting around 30 million visitors, 30 millions is just less than ten percent of the population of the cities close by,” he added.

Macau covers less than 30 kilometers of land and borders with the rich Chinese Southern province of Guangdong. Over the years casino operators have built 35 gambling resorts, and more are under construction.

Authorities in Beijing, who control the island under the “one country, two systems” model, have signaled some uneasiness with Macau's reputation as a gambling only economy.

New regulations are compelling operators to diversify and offer more family-oriented entertainment.

Professor Cathy Hsu studies gaming development at the School of Hotel and Tourism Management at Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

She said that despite the money spent on public relations campaigns to promote the history and culture of Macau, the city's reputation is unlikely to change soon.

“The main profit will still come from the gaming sector. When you look at Las Vegas today, yes they generate a lot of family business. But still, when you look at the bottom line it [revenue] is contributed mainly by gaming, Macau is on the extreme side of that. Destination image is difficult to change,” said Hsu.

Analysts also say it is unlikely that gambling expansion in neighboring countries will have a significant impact on Macau's gaming business.

You May Like

Somalia: No Popular Elections in 2016

In interview Wednesday with VOA, President Mohamud says 'one person, one vote' elections will not be possible due to continuing insecurity More

Scientists Predict Climate Change Will Increase Child Malnutrition

Public health expert in Germany says that by 2050, 25 million more children's lives will be put at risk because of lack of nutrients tied to climate change More

Erdogan in China Amid Tensions on Uighurs, Missile System

Turkey's president has criticized China's heavy-handed policies toward Uighurs in violence-plagued Xinjiang region, where China says it is fighting foreign-backed separatists More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponentsi
X
Henry Ridgwell
July 28, 2015 9:53 PM
A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video Special Olympics Athletes Meet International Friends

The Special Olympics are underway in Los Angeles, California, with athletes from 165 countries participating in an event that gives people with intellectual disabilities the chance to take part in an international competition. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports that for athletes and their families, it's also an opportunity to make new friends in an international setting.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Iran Nuclear Pact Wins Few New US Congressional Backers

Later this week, President Barack Obama returns from a trip to Africa to confront a U.S. Congress roiled by the nuclear accord with Iran, an agreement that has received the blessing of the U.N. Security Council. Days of intensive lobbying and testimony by top administration officials have won few new congressional supporters of the pact. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Critics of Japan Defense Policy Focus on Okinawa

In Okinawa, many locals have long complained that Tokyo places an unfair burden on the tiny island by locating most of Japan's U.S. military bases there. As Japan's government moves toward strengthening and expanding the country's defense policies, opponents of those plans are joining local protesters in Okinawa, voicing concern about where the country is headed. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Okinawa.
Video

Video IS Uses Chemical Weapons in Syrian Attack

Islamic State militants have added a new weapon in their arsenal of fear: chemical weapons. VOA Kurdish service reporter Zana Omer was on the scene within hours of a recent attack in Hasakah, Syria, and has details of the subsequent investigation, in this report narrated by Miguel Amaya.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.

VOA Blogs