Macau’s casinos made over fifty percent of their revenue from VIP and high stake gamblers who came in from Mainland China. When Beijing decided to launch its anti-corruption campaign targeting Macau’s casino industry and in particular these VIP gamblers, they decided to stop travelling to Macau and instead move to neighbouring countries like the Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia and South Korea.
These neighbouring countries immediately opened their doors to VIP Mainland Chinese gamblers who are known for spending large sums of money within short periods of time. The casinos in South Korea and the Philippines have witnessed a spike in revenue as Mainland Chinese gamblers travel to these destinations to take advantage of the relaxed gambling laws.
Singapore which is a four hour flight away from China has not been successful in attracting high level gamblers from the Mainland. Singapore currently has two casinos but recent reports confirm that Singapore’s casinos are doing extremely well and do not need to depend on VIP gamblers from Mainland China to post profits. Singapore’s casinos confirm that revenue from Mainland Chinese gamblers account for a very small portion of their profits and hence the casinos are not going after these VIP gamblers.
During the recent Global Gaming Expo Asia conference in Macau, the managing partner of Union Gaming Research Macau Grant Govertsen said “The good news is, Singapore doesn’t necessarily depend on Chinese high rollers to survive. Even though VIP dollars in revenue terms are big, they are much smaller in terms of profit. So, the VIP segment could go away entirely, and the profit story, while lower, would still be among the most enviable in the world.”
Singapore is currently one of the costliest cities in the world to live and while the country has been doing well economically, gamblers in Singapore are a bit reluctant to spend large sums of money at the casinos because of the high taxes being imposed on the industry. Singapore recently approved the license for an off-shore casino to operate and Singapore’s gamblers have shown a huge interest to go onboard and play on a floating casino.
Singapore’s gambling commission is also researching the European gambling market and the regulations they use to monitor the industry. Singapore would like to expand its gambling industry in the near future but first wants to ensure that it has the right regulations in place before expanding.