Genting Malaysia Berhad’s President and Chief Operating Officer (COO), Tan Kong Han, has reassured shareholders that the company’s casinos will continue operating, attributing this to the robust performance of its Resorts World Genting (RWG) business.

In a statement made during the company’s annual general meeting (AGM) on Wednesday, quoted by Asia Gaming Brief, Tan expressed his confidence that the government would not consider closing the casinos. This assurance is based on the continued growth and success of Genting Highlands, also known as Resorts World Genting (RWG), which remains Malaysia’s sole gaming operator.

Tan emphasized the company’s commitment to maintaining high standards of governance and responsible gaming practices. “The company has consistently adhered to the highest governance standards and conducted its gaming business responsibly. Over the years, we have operated in full compliance with government regulations, with Resorts World Genting being a significant contributor to the country’s tax revenues,” Tan stated.

Discussing broader trends in the gaming industry, Tan highlighted how many countries have shifted their stance on gaming over the past decade. He pointed to examples such as Resorts World Sentosa in Singapore, the growth of the gaming industry in Macau and the Middle East, and new developments in Japan and Thailand. “These examples illustrate a growing governmental interest in using integrated resorts to boost economies, create jobs, and generate tax revenue,” Tan added.

Temporary Closures Amidst Strong Performance

Concerns about potential casino closures at RWG emerged when the company announced that parts of two of its three casinos would be closed starting February 28th for renovations. Despite initial media reports suggesting these closures might be permanent, Genting clarified that the closures were temporary and only affected sections of Genting Casino 1 (Circus Palace) and Genting Casino 2 (Hollywood). Meanwhile, SkyCasino would remain operational throughout the renovation period.

Genting attributed the temporary closures to reduced patronage, but this explanation came amidst a broader context of strong business performance. Genting Malaysia’s management has acknowledged the positive impact of the mutual visa exemption between Malaysia, India, and China on their business. According to the company’s financial update for the first quarter of 2024, revenue from local leisure and hotel operations increased by 25 percent year-on-year, with significant growth in business volume at Resorts World Genting driven by tourists from Singapore, Indonesia, China, and India.

For the first quarter of 2024, Genting Malaysia reported a net profit of RM36.7 million ($7.8 million), reversing a loss of RM45.4 million ($9.65 million) from the same quarter the previous year. Total gaming revenue reached RM1.99 billion ($423.1 million), with non-gaming revenue amounting to RM715.5 million ($152.1 million).

The mutual visa-free agreement between China and Malaysia, initiated in December of the previous year and extended through the end of 2025, has facilitated longer stays for tourists, further bolstering business.

Illegal Online Gambling Remains a Concern

Addressing concerns about illegal online gaming operations misusing the Genting brand, a company spokesperson noted that online gambling is illegal in Malaysia, although many unauthorized platforms exist. Genting Malaysia reiterated its commitment to reporting these issues to authorities and pursuing legal action against those misusing its brand without authorization.

The company has also taken steps to combat the unauthorized use of its brand, including issuing alerts on its websites and notifying the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC). Genting Malaysia emphasized its readiness to assist authorities and law enforcement agencies in addressing illegal online gambling in the country.